10 years. 1 Decade. It used to feel like such a long time.
On March 28th, 2001, I was lucky enough to get married to the World’s Most Perfect Woman.
The ceremony took place in Virginia Beach, at the Miyazaki Japanese Garden, located in Red Wing Park. It was a small, civil ceremony…just me, her, a State of Virginia Licensed Marriage Commissioner, and two guys from the class I was in Virginia attending. We stood in the middle of the little red bridge, and it was as sweet and ideal as any wedding has ever been.
I’m not going to pretend that every minute of the last 10 years has been perfect…it can’t be. It’s the lows that allow us to appreciate the highs. If Doc Brown showed up with his Delorean, and offered to let me fix everyone of my mistakes that had ever led to a bad spot…I would have to decline. I’ve read too much time travel sc-fi to risk it. There is no way to guarantee I would still end up going home to the same amazing wife and kids after work tonight.
There will be no fancy dinner tonight. We have a family tradition we started the first night of having pizza on our anniversary.
After the wedding ceremony, I had planned that we would go from Virginia Beach to Baltimore, a good stopping point on the way back to Connecticut. Wanting to be romantic(and not finding the I-95 Corridor very romantic), I planned a route that would take us over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, and then up the length of the scenic Delmarva Peninsula. This would be the first one of my mistakes that I would not fix…instead of slightly over 4 hours to get from Virginia Beach to Baltimore, it took almost 7 hours. And yes..it was a pretty drive, but when we finally rolled in to our hotel, it was too late, and we were too fried to think about heading out for dinner…and so we order in pizza.
The next day we enjoyed the Inner Harbor Area of Baltimore, and visited my Aunt and Uncle that live in Glen Burnie. We headed out from their place after dark, heading into the teeth of a late season Nor’Easter that proved I know NOTHING about installing a tarp over a load in a pickup truck. We had barely made it 40 miles when we decided enough was enough, and we ended up spending the 2nd night of our Marriage at a truck-stop motel, outside of Aberdeen, Md.
That night was a rough one for me…pizza one night, and a truck-stop the next was not how I had planned on my married life starting. I was fairly certain it wasn’t how SWMBO wanted hers to start either…but…she held me, and gave me strength, as she has been doing all along when I needed it.
Like-wise, I have given her the strength she has occasionally needed. Less than a year after we were married, we lost a pregnancy at 20 weeks. It was rough…you are past the normal ‘miscarriage’ time frame, and starting to think happy thoughts. She actually had to deliver our daughter, and then watch as doctors did nothing, because it was ‘too soon’. I don’t blame the doctors…there was no chance to save Virginia…she was beyond even the micro premie stage. It was still a dark time for us…a lot of couples at that point might have just said this isn’t going to work…but we did…and we did it for each other.
Ten years is a long time…especially in our modern day and age…I can’t picture my life without her and the kids, but then I worry, because doesn’t every married person feel that way, until they do decide they can live without each other? I know my wife had her doubts…but it was really early on…and totally forgivable.
During our drive cross-country from Connecticut to Bremerton, I allowed the first two days to be nice, slow and romantic. We stayed at a bed and breakfast in New Hampshire, and then a nice hotel in Niagara Falls the next night. My opinion was that after that, it was time to put some miles behind us. I probably should have shared that opinion more clearly with my new bride.
As we sped across the country, several times she expressed interest in pulling off the freeway to look at touristy-type attractions, and several times I said ‘no’. Somewhere in South Dakota, I decided to humor her. We stopped at The Corn Palace…and we stopped at Wall Drug. Both were lame, and lacking the tact, good sense, and desire for self-preservation I would develop late in our marriage, I let her know that they were lame, and that’s why we didn’t stop at other places. It was a done issue as far as I was concerned.
Fast forward a few years…probably to our 5th Anniversary. I made some comment about how I had never had any regrets/ 2nd guesses about us being together. She blows my mind by telling me that she did. She admitted that the night after we stopped at Wall Drug, and I went out to pick up dinner, she called her mom and said maybe she had made a mistake, and that she wanted to come home.
Her mom(bless her heart) told her to suck it, and give it a chance. She did…and here we are 10 years later, still going strong.
There is no guarantee I we will still be married in another 10 years. There is no guarantee I will make it home safely at the end of each day..it’s one reason I make sure before leaving my room in the morning, I give my wife a kiss on the cheek, or forehead.
She might not always be awake enough to feel it…but I am.