Jared surprised me with a drive up the canyon over the weekend. It's a drive we haven't made alone together in ten years, the last time being our wedding night. The snowy landscape hasn't changed in ten years. But we sure have.
What does ten years of marriage bring? There are big things--seven pregnancies, almost five children, three job losses and eight moves. There are more small things--a million tiny moments of happiness glowing like snowflakes in sunlight.
Jared asked me on the drive up if we were where I imagined we'd be, when I thought of the future as a bride. I thought back to my young self and knew I hadn't the maturity or experience to grasp what was coming for us. I do know my idea of marriage wasn't of a man sweeping me off my feet. It was of finding a man with whom I could roll up my sleeves and get to work. I wanted to build something beautiful. And that's what we've been trying to do. So, no, I'm not surprised we're pretty tired. But I could have never guessed the specifics of our story.
I'm not the type that demands pampering. Jared and I just aren't showy people. Not material people. We often skip giving gifts to each other all together. So I was really surprised at the sweetness of Jared's surprise.
He took me to the bed and breakfast where we spent our wedding night. It's a lovely place with rooms themed for famous writers. There's Shakespeare and Dickens and Austen and Chaucer. We stayed in the Barrett and Browning suite. As a literary junkie, this delights me to no end. A whole room themed after two marvelous writers who also happened to be lovers--sigh. Jared brought our old wedding album to look through. We laughed and cried over the roller coaster of our lives together. We enjoyed a break from the kids and also missed them terribly. We read the poetry of Barrett and Browning together.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace. I love thee to the level of every day's Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for right. I love thee purely, as they turn from praise. I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.
--Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Where did I think I would be in ten years? Still in love with you, Jared. And that's exactly where I am.