Friday, January 4, 2013

The Year Before 10

Well you leave me hanging
by the skin of my teeth
I've only got one leg to stand
you can send me to hell
but I'll never let go of your hand
- Tom Waits

Nine years ago today I was sitting at my parent's dining room table leisurely drinking a cup of coffee and writing my wedding vows in a notebook with a quote from Anais Nin on the cover. I was getting married.

It wasn't that I hadn't thought about getting married. But at 23 I already had one ex-fiancĂ© and didn't really feel any rush to go down that road again. My application for the Peace Corp was almost completed and I already imagined myself doing ethnographies in Papua New Guinea. I wasn't really worried about a long term life plan or finding my purpose. I just wanted to graduate and move on to what was next.

Then I met a boy.

A boy who knew exactly what he wanted and exactly how to get there. His Mom told me later on that Grant came out of the womb knowing that he would one day get a PhD and so she wasn't surprised at all when he told her that he had met the girl he was going to marry. The day after he met me. He spent 6 months wooing me away from my boyfriend with camping trips to Utah, cigarettes on the back steps of dive bars and pictures of him working with orphans in China.

That all was 10 years ago. And 9 years ago today that determined boy and this free spirited girl got hitched.

The last 9 years have been better then any Hemmingway novel. There has been heartbreak, natural disasters, terrible fights with doors slamming and cars driving off, freezing apartments in Colorado and steamy shotgun rowhouses in New Orleans, dinner parties with colorful characters laughing with their heads thrown back, four cross-country road trips with keys to new places in our hands, walks around university campuses in Virginia and Pennsylvania while one of us finished yet another degree, books devoured in separate corners and the best parts shouted across the room, two delicious children, camping trips and fancy hotels. We have laughed when we should have cried and cried when we should have laughed.

Nine years later and the smartest thing I've done in my life is come to the conclusion that there was nothing in life I wanted to do that I didn't want to do with him. I wasn't sure I could get married, but I knew that I could marry him.

I must make my best of the only way home
Marley deals only in stones
I'm lost on the midway
I'm reckless in your eyes
just give me a couple more throws
I'll dare you to dine with
the cross-legged knights
dare me to jump and I will
I'll fall from your grace
but I'll never let go of your hand
I'll never let go of your hand
-Tom Waits



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