My Mr. Magpie —
Today, we celebrate nine years of marriage. In many ways, I can’t believe it’s only been nine years, and I mean that in the kindest way possible, in that it feels like we’ve endured countless metamorphoses and lived countless lives in that time. I barely know the Jen I was when tears streamed down my face as we exchanged our vows in that stone Church my parents had been married in thirty years prior. I feel the same heartswell when I think back on that humid and hazy D.C. afternoon now, nearly a decade later, but — is it unkind to visit it with an air of smugness, thinking of my twenty-five-year-old self as one might a much-younger sibling, seeing my former stresses and concerns as the tiniest tremblings of turbulence rather than the towering monstrosities they appeared to be at the time?
This year, I want to thank you for the many lives you have given me the space to create. In our time together, you have helped me carve my way into the most beautiful, exhilarating niches: motherhood, entrepreneurship, writing. You have held my hand when I needed the support and given me a wide berth when I needed space. You have empowered me to put myself first, to negotiate for higher salaries, to see myself as an equal to you (and your undeniably superior analytical abilities), to forgive myself for my failings and missteps as a mother and wife, to recognize my strengths, to pursue a passion as a career.
The other day, you chastised me for buying too many treats and — you were right: I have been overbuying in the dessert category. But I reminded you, archly, that whenever the cabinets run barren, you complain.
“It’s OK to want things, Jennie, and to have to wait for them,” you replied with a smirk.
You meant it as an airy retort, and possibly as a veiled criticism of my shopping addiction, but I tucked it away and have been lingering over it since.
There was a kernel of wisdom in there that explained a lot about…a lot.
It seems to me that we have always had to work a long time for the things we want together. Our marriage, for one (ha – – maybe that felt longer to me than it did to you). And the long, stressful periods of professional duress — endless job searches, extended seasons of life with jobs that we did not find fulfilling or in which we struggled with incompetent bosses and colleagues, a business we launched and ultimately shuttered. We waited, agonizingly, for a long while for mini to come along. We waited and worked for our first home, waited and worked for our move back to the East Coast. If that hockey stick graph exists (and it could well be a figment of the entrepreneurial imagination), it’s never found its way into the arithmetic of our lives or ambitions together. We’ve gone through things the long way. I wouldn’t say we’ve had a tough life by any stretch of the imagination, but we’ve been known to elbow along here and there, and often as a result of the outsized aspirations we have for ourselves and our lives together.
You’ve never been big on shortcuts anyhow. You’ve always done things the straight-and-narrow way. You have the patience and grit to grind away, keeping the endgame in focus.
It occurs to me today, on our nine year anniversary together, that this stick-to-it-iveness of yours bodes well for our union as two highly motivated, extremely passionate people. I feel a tingly sense of anticipation when I reflect on this, knowing that big things are coming our way thanks to the seeds we have planted and nurtured over the course of our marriage together, mainly by virtue of your determination and resolve, even if I am unsure of what those sprouts will one day transform into. I’m deeply satisfied to be where we are now, but the prospect of our future selves and their shimmering victories together leaves me hungry for our future in nine or twenty-nine or forty-nine years from now, God willing.
I one time told you, after too many glasses of champagne, that one life with you is not enough. You scolded me for saying that, but in a way that suggested I’d pierced your heart. And though I meant it in the sense that if we only have twenty-nine years together left, I am already devastated by their brevity — I also now see those words in a new light, in the sense that I am grateful for the many lives we have already lived together and excited for the many lives ahead of us.
Cheers to you. My beloved.
+This is gorgeous (and under $100).