Ten year anniversary letter

November 27, 2014


Paul, we’re not the typically romantic type.  I even couldn’t decide on what salutation to begin this letter- dear, dearest, darling?  None of them are quite right, tho all do apply.

Or perhaps it’s not that we aren’t romantic, just our brand of romance doesn’t come with a Hallmark TM.  You didn’t get down on one knee to propose to me, because there wasn’t enough room in the hot air balloon basket.  You didn’t get me an engagement ring, because you knew me better; a Faberge egg is so much more my style.  You married me in a library, under the immortal words of Thomas Carlyle;

In books lies the soul of the whole past time the articulate audible voice of the past when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream.’

I hope when our material substance has altogether vanished like a dream, we will have written a good book.  A good book written together.  I think for the past ten years, and for some years before that ten too, our book has been written well.  It tells a tale of two independent people intertwining, linking families and branching to become four.

You didn’t take me on a three week honeymoon to some oft-repeated island paradise, but instead to Egypt and the Middle East, to clamber around the Rose-Red City of the Nabataeans and climb amongst the tombs of the ancient dead, and even to nearly die yourself!  Don’t we laugh about that now?

We didn’t settle in a nice house and buy a Subaru minivan and raise our 2.4 kids amongst the mild bickering of cookie-cutter suburbia.  We bought a 4WD and bumped over real and metaphorical dirt tracks as us two, and later as us four.  The house isn’t great and perhaps we haven’t a lot of things to show for our sixteen years together, we have something more and better; huge personal growth, commitment, determination, understanding, affection, unwavering support and best of all love and great stories.

We’ve travelled to so many places, gaining and losing things along the way- the front of your knee in Phuket; amazed silence in Wadi Rum; Nile belly in Luxor; testing the waters in the Black Sea, the Red Sea, the North Sea, the Dead Sea, the Tasman Sea, and Crow Lake; our appetite lost in Kiev and found again in Den Bosch and Brussels; the skin off our cheeks in Toronto and Calgary; appreciation of the hugeness of the forest in the Rockies; wonder for artistic creation in the Louvre and Versailles, the Tate and MOMA; rapt attention looking out from the Eiffel Tower, the CN Tower, Centrepoint Tower, The Tower, the Empire State Building, Edinburgh Castle, Urquhart Castle, the Lavra, Diamond Head; and hundreds of other places and moments where we’ve explored hand-in-hand, shared meals and stolen kisses.  (That’s where all the money has gone, and I wouldn’t change it for a second.)

We were also standing, when we said our vows to each other, on a marble copy of an early, unfinished map of Australia.  If our marriage is a map, I think we’ve etched in some boundaries, found our north point, settled on a scale but have yet to explore all the details and the edge of the map is still over the horizon.  The next ten years I hope will fill in more amazing and challenging details, and when we are really old, grey and decrepit, watching the last episode of ‘Black Books’ we should sail over the horizon together.  I’d like to still be holding your hand when we do.  Deal?