Snapshots from a life together:
I’m walking down the aisle, nervously holding my father’s arm. The music surrounds me, like waves in water. I’m aware of people as I pass them, but their faces are blurry, the individual details lost. My focus shifts, and I see you, standing there, waiting. My heart leaps, my steps quicken. I smile. Yes. I do, I will, always.
Our firstborn is crying. It’s hard, being new to the world, adjusting to the lights and sounds, the temperatures and textures. I can’t calm him. You take him into your arms and quietly dance with him, gently back and forth, swaying to a silent beat that only the two of you can hear. He sleeps contentedly, safely within your love.
We are living outside of the city, in our house hidden within the trees, far back from the road, far into the peaceful quiet. I watch as you head toward the creek, our dog at your heels, our sons at your side. You will be gone a while, I know, and when you return you will tell me of your adventures. This land is ours; this land speaks to us, carries our dreams, shelters our souls.
We are traveling with our sons, driving in a rented car through unfamiliar territory. They are happy boys, they are good boys, but they are also young boys, and they do not appreciate the adventure in the same way that we do. For them, the experience is tiring, the road never-ending, the destination light years away. We entertain them with an episode of one of their favorite shows, but the player won’t advance to the next episode. It is stuck; it can’t be fixed. And so, they watch the same episode again. And again. And again and again. They are delighted. The voices, the music, the action and sound from the show echo within the car, bounce across the seats and off the windows, filling the space over and over. Despite our weariness from the repetition, despite our unwelcome, newfound ability to recite the episode verbatim, we are grateful for their happiness. Their laughter is musical. We revel in it. We soak it in. We hold it in our hearts.
Another trip, years later. We take our sons back to the mountains. We hike together, as a family, on paths, across fields, into the forest. Sometimes, we walk as a group, sharing jokes, telling stories. Sometimes, we separate, walking at our own pace, thinking our thoughts, enjoying the whisper of the wind in the branches, the sound of our shoes on the gravel and the grass. Our connection is built from love and trust, an invisible bond that holds us together as we walk. We have a destination and will get there eventually, but the journey is where the memories live.
Happy anniversary to my beloved husband. Let’s keep going.