"Twenty years is not long enough."
My Man and I had just finished watching Young Victoria when I said this, misty-eyed. Albert and Victoria - it's one of those high-profile romances of history. Queen Victoria lost Albert after 20 years of marriage, and they say she still laid out his clothes every day til she died. Unfortunately, I have not read enough about the history of British monarchs to know if the tale I'm presented with is true, but it still makes a great story on film.
As the credits rolled at the end of Young Victoria, I added, "And ten years....that seems like so little time. Maybe when you're first married, it might seem like a good chunk if you thought of it, but looking back - it's no time at all."
My Man nodded as we gazed at each other. We were sopping up our love for each other, and we were plotting what we would do with the rest of our evening.
We've just celebrated our 10th anniversary, you know. I look back on that young woman who married a man from Albuquerque, and honestly, I don't know what she did with herself. She certainly had far too much time on her hands.Yes, she wrote each day on a couple books she hoped to have published; she sent out manuscripts which got rejected (does anyone even flog around a manuscript anymore?), but she slept in to ungodly hours and actually went out alone with her husband without a gaggle of children in her wake as if that were the most natural thing in the world. The woman who grew out of that new bride is a human being so much more well-rounded and interesting. Also, thanks to her four children, she is daily reminded of her faults and strengths and never has to go anywhere alone for the next sixteen years at least.
The most enchanting thing is this: she is still madly in love with her Man. That is why ten years...well, it's a paltry amount. Yes, we've achieved so much in that time - mainly the introduction to the world of four children whom we guard as they grow, discipline, play with and talk to about life's challenges and adventures. They're a little army of goodwill set to improve the world, because we damn well care about how they turn out. My Man and I love each other, and from that sprang our fierce love for all of them.
There wasn't much of a to-do on our anniversary milestone. We had a doctor's appointment for our youngest, and swim lessons for the older kids. Then we took our kids to Wal-mart and on a whim bought them each a new bike (except the baby). I giggled for the rest of the day about that - what an appropriate way to celebrate your 10th: take your young uns and treat them to spankin new bikes, let them test them out in the store aisles until an irascible old lady scolds you, the parents, for letting your offspring run amuck. Then haul the bikes out to your van and try to solve the greatest problem you're ever attempted to use your little gray cells on. Namely, just how on earth can you fit six people and three bikes into a minivan?
Well, the easy answer is, you can't and it's foolish to even attempt. But we were determined to turn our minivan into a clown van, despite the fact that I think I saw it trembling from fright. After some tears and some near-hysterical laughter, we had one bike in the back under the hatch, one bike wedged in front of the two youngest's car seats, and one bike looked like a contortionist's mechanical apprentice in the front passenger side. This bike I examined with some chagrin, because I was told by My Man that it was possible to sit between it and the chair back, which I had grave doubts about. I began to bob and weave, duck my head to and fro, fold up my arms in bizarre formations, but I could find no way to squeeze myself in.
After watching this fool's spectacle for many moments, My gallant Man pulled me out of the way and said, "You drive."
"Just drive. I'll fit!"
I'm sure the fact that he has considerably less curves than I explained his ability to glide easily into position, though his head was bent at a decidedly alarming angle. I drove home like a slug, because I had no desire to invite a collision of any sort with that much loose metal surrounding my family.
Safely home I took a picture of our children by their gleaming new bikes, so I could remember just what My Man and I did to celebrate our 10th and just where we were in our lives on that significant day.