Twelve years ago today I was looking good. Great dress, great hair, makeup, shoes, jewelry – the whole shebang. Twelve years ago at this moment (as I’m writing this, not as I’m posting it) I was standing on two tall heels, holding onto the arm of a handsome man twenty-four years my senior, getting ready to walk down the aisle towards another handsome man (a bit closer to my own age). There was a third handsome man in this scene – in his seventies then, and still handsome today in his eighties. Everyone was smiling, but especially me. I was exactly where I wanted to be, surrounded by the best men ever. This is not to dismiss the lovely ladies in my life, but I’m a sucker for a sharp tuxedo, and always have been.
A dozen years. They stack up so quickly now, little compartments of a life lived so far. Twelve is such a nice number – it looks good on eggs, and donuts and muffin pans. We see wear and tear on some of those things we received as wedding gifts – aged and well used, well worn. I broke my french press a few weeks ago, and we think it was the same one we received as a wedding gift from a dear friend. It’s hard to remember the little breaks and mistakes over all these years, but we shrug at the glass shards and say “We got a good run out of it – a dozen years. I suppose we were due for a new one.” We mark the things in our house this way as well, some of the early parts we tackled in the renovation are twelve years old as well.
We have a weekend full of plans and more than a little shuttling. There are apples to pick and blues to listen to. There is a soccer game, a slumber party, homework, church, an oil change, laundry. We’ll each carve out a tiny slice of exercise on our own (beyond the exercise of just getting through the weekend). It is Saturday night and we just have one child, take out Vietnamese and a chocolate cake. The light outside is waning, but we run to the park for a few moments, chasing a three year old through tunnels and down slides and spotting her as she climbs to the top, unaware of our help. In the past we’ve gone on grand adventures for our anniversary, but this year we haven’t planned anything. In the beginning, September was a great time to escape for one last late, late summer hurrah. Now it is the month of great weather and great responsibility. There is no easing into it. It slaps you right in the face and you are neck deep in soccer games and school meetings and homework and projects and the last thing you want to do is miss any of it. We drive a few miles away from the park to pick up another stool for our back room. We joke at how we’ve evolved over this time from one couch to two chairs and now two footstools. In another dozen years, he jokes, we’ll hang out in separate rooms. The house is quiet, we curl up in our chairs with chocolate cake and a little Mad Men, and there is nowhere that I’d rather be than just there, and with him.