I was 27 years old when I got married 10 years ago. My husband and I lived in the city of Chicago... and then the suburbs.. and then back to the city... and then to Arizona... We were always on to a new adventure searching for fun and excitement. We were still figuring out who we were and what our life together would look like. We were both working very hard at corporate jobs trying to prove ourselves in hopes of getting the next promotion. We loved meeting for happy hours after work, going out on weekend nights and sleeping in late every Sat and Sun. We moved a lot. We went on trips. We made decisions on a whim. We basically did whatever we wanted. Our biggest responsibility was our pets. The plan for our 10 year anniversary was always to go on an African Safari. It would be the trip of a lifetime full of thrill and adventure. It would be extraordinary. And I think at that time in our life we wanted nothing less than extraordinary.
Fast forward and here we are about to celebrate our 10 year anniversary this week. We have a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 10-month-old. We wake up early every morning and we are tired by 9pm. We enjoy watching movies together in bed after our kids are sound asleep. We spend our weekends at t-ball games, parks and birthday parties. I drive a mini-van because it's practical with three littles. My husband drives an electric car so he can commute in the HOV lane and get home to us faster. Our house is a typical two story family home full of toys and baby gates and furniture covered in scratches and dents from our littles. Our back yard currently has a sprinkler set up on the grass and toy trucks on the pavers. And we are now joking about that big African Safari 10-year celebration we once dreamed of as we make plans with our sitter for a simple date night to celebrate this weekend.
As I sit here looking around at where our life is after 10 years of marriage I see ordinary. I see simple. I see less impressive than we once dreamed of.
I've been very slowly (because my kids interrupt me quite frequently) reading Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist. In this book, Shauna says:
"my life has become decidedly less impressive. It has, though, become so much more joyful."This struck a cord with me because while our life may be ordinary, simple, and less impressive than we once had in mind, this is the life we are choosing for ourselves, the life we now dream of. Some of the things that once seemed important no longer seem to matter. Over the last 10 years it's become more and more clear that the life we want together is focused on family, on working to live and not living to work, on making choices that bring us true happiness rather than to impress others. It's "decidedly less impressive." We love our weekends full of family time. I love my very typical family minivan. The sliding doors are rather awesome and I appreciate that my husband has a car that gets him home to us quickly each day. I absolutely adore our home. It's perfect for us in this stage of life and I feel a warm fuzzy feeling every time I walk through that front door. This life we've built together is beautiful. It's crazy. It's full of ups and downs, a lot of laughter and unconditional love. It's, without a doubt, "so much more joyful" than I could have ever dreamed of.
The thrill for this anniversary is not going to be seeing a lion during my safari in Africa. The thrill right now is getting a hand written card from our 5-year-old because he's working so hard at learning to write and spell.
It's seeing our 3-year-old walk around with his shirt on backwards because he is learning to pick out his own clothes and put them on himself.
It's seeing our baby girl stand up in the middle of the room and knowing she is going to take her first steps any day now.
It's that incredible feeling I get when I watch my husband with our kids because I'm even more in love with him now than I was when I said "I do" 10 years ago.
I think back to that 27-year-old bride. She had no idea that 10 years later her most thrilling adventure would be right here at home. Don't get me wrong, Africa is still on the bucket list. But for this anniversary, I've never been more happy to celebrate our ordinary, beautiful life together.
To my husband,
Our adventure continues...