On our Seventh Anniversary
This weekend seven years ago Tami and I were married on the beach in Westhampton under a white tent wrapped in a warm summer mist, soothed by the pounding surf and surrounded by our stunned families. We were barefoot and dressed in summer whites. She was nine months pregnant. We ate lobster and steamed corn on long farm tables lit by tiki torches; we danced in the dark by a bonfire to the raw rhythms of Brazilian drummers; we crawled into our rented bed, in our rented house, with our four children sound asleep and the fifth, yet to come, still dancing, pounding his little feet against Tami’s belly, while we surrendered to a deep slumber.
Around our house there are reminders of that day. In the foyer, there is a sealed glass frame with a starfish from the farm tables, sand from the beach, and the ocean blue invitation to our celebration. In the pool house there’s a storm lamp filled with shells and sand. In a hallway off our bedroom there are four photographs taken of us after the ceremony and before the party. We are sitting on the walkway over the dune to the beach. We are wearing sunglasses. The photo makes everything else look far away. We look completely relaxed. One photo shows the picture I drew on Tami’s belly with a marker — the outline of the baby, curled up and content. We wanted him to be there too.
A couple of weeks ago my stepson Ryan asked me, How did you know? He is 14 and is looking for order in the unknowables of life. He’s sorted out the overlap in timing: our anniversary and Luke’s birthday are 17 days apart and they happened in the same year? How does that work? Why did you go so fast, he asked?
The easy answer, I tell him, is look at where we are now, the world that we all share seven years later. It is good and natural. It is loving and strong. We went fast because we knew that this is where we were going, and when you have found the path to the right place, you should never waver.
But, I say, if I had told you that seven years ago, it might have sounded like wishful thinking, a story that I was working up to justify a risky choice.
So how did you know, he asks again.
I knew that it was different than anything I had ever felt and that nothing was going to keep me away from it, I told him. Your mom felt the same way.
Here we are seven years later and every single day proves us right. There is nothing in the world that soothes me like the touch of her hand. My heart stills when I breath in her scent. When she smiles I feel like I’ve been charged with electricity. Her eyes are soft and sparkling, lights that make dangerous shoals vanish in the distance. Her heart is fierce and strong. She is vulnerable, utterly human, elevated by joy and hope into that thing that makes being human the greatest gift we have. She is stunningly beautiful. She never stops living.
The morning that we were married I stood in the tent. A bag piper began to play. Tami walked across the sand. I watched her. I could watch her forever. She smiled. There was no one else. There never has been and there never will be.
Happy Anniversary, baby. I love you.