At our engagement party nine years ago, Mr. Magpie’s lovely mother stood in the center of a rooftop deck across from the National Cathedral on a crisp September evening and said, in a strained voice and with a clipped sentence that made clear how difficult it was for her to speak, only this:
“Jen, you’re perfect for Landon, and you’re perfect for us.”
Then she raised a glass, dabbed her eye, and the festivities resumed.
I have carried this brief but brawny toast with me for the better part of the last decade. I was (am) moved by her sentiment. I was (and remain) ecstatic at her explicit stamp of approval. I was (and to this day feel) touched by her elegant way of letting me know that I was not just marrying Landon; I was marrying into his family, and we were altogether a seamless match.
But something else has lingered these many years later: the underlying concept that people are not perfect on their own, intrinsically, in a vacuum. Instead, they become perfect in the embrace of someone else. Even characteristics typically viewed as flaws or shortcomings can be perfect for the right somebody — and not just in a schmaltzy way, either. They can challenge a loved one, promoting balance or growth or the adoption of a new or widened perspective. And so two people can perfect one another, too, in a sense. Or so I tell myself when Mr. Magpie heaves a sigh at the front-loaded dishwasher (guilty as charged), the toothpaste squeezed from the wrong end of the tube (but who cares?), the habitually missed text or phone call (oops). All just part and parcel of the mutual perfection process, right?
What I mean to say is this:
There isn’t much I can say about Mr. Magpie that I haven’t already written. (Let’s not forget the M Series, too.) But today, we celebrate eight years of marriage, and I am thinking to myself: how radical, how astoundingly improbable, how wildly fortunate it is that I managed to find someone who is perfect for me. Me! Idiosyncratic me! Who has rules for herself and sometimes (always) dwells too much on lessons learned the hard way and can get all worked up over a punctuation mark. Who expects a lot of people, cries at the drop of a hat, and worries about everything on God’s green earth. And him, who is somehow the most passionate and dispassionate person I know: he is convicted in what he believes with an intensity I’ve rarely seen elsewhere (“I’d rather kill myself than get a tattoo,” he once stated flatly, pissing off the mixed crowd of tattooed and non-tattooed friends we were with — GULP) but he is also calm, even-keeled, analytical in the face of decisions, whereas I am prone towards fretful emotionality. Yes, idiosyncratic us. And yet we are absurdly well-suited to one another, miraculously adjacent puzzle pieces. We share the same values, ambitions, sensitivities. Our personalities play together easily. We have opposite but complementary skillsets in all facets of business and personal life. And where we don’t see eye to eye, we mind the gap. In our eight years of marriage and fourteen years of coupledom (fourteen!!!), we have evolved together and independently in a way that empowers me to be the fullest version of myself.
And so eight years in, I think back to that night on the rooftop in Northwest D.C., and I think: “Yes. He was perfect for me then. But he is more perfect for me now.”
P.S. What I would change about my wedding day. (Hint: not a lot.)
P.P.P.S. We decided to forgo anniversary gifts this year, but on the short list of over the top gifts I would love to receive: this timeless ultra-covetable BV, diamond Tiffany bow earrings, a Burberry trench, and a Cartier love bracelet. On the shortlist of more realistic gifts I would love to receive: a pair of Stubbs and Wootton slippers, a vintage Hermes Kelly watch in a cool color, a massage, and new bedding.