21 years ago today, Eric and I got married. We sort of eloped, although our parents knew it was happening. We’d called to tell them, and since we were already engaged, they weren’t surprised. In fact, when I called to tell my parents, I said to my dad, “I have something to tell you,” and he immediately said, “you got married!” I said, “no, not yet — this weekend,” and he answered, “I knew you wouldn’t wait.” We dressed in green and expected to be there alone, but our roommate Randy showed up at the last minute with a disposable camera, the only reason we have any pictures of the event at all.
Eric lived in Colorado when we first started dating and I was in Oregon. He was getting his graduate degree in Philosophy, and had left with no plans to come back. However, during his first summer break, he came back to Oregon to stay with his parents so we could date for real, after months of letters and phone calls and one week long visit when I flew out to Colorado to see him, to figure out what this “thing” between us was, if it might have legs — (he told his dad later that as soon as he saw me get off the plane, he knew he wanted to marry me).
We were engaged by the end of the summer and I moved to Colorado. Our original plan was to return to Oregon the next summer, after Eric finished his graduate degree, and have an actual wedding with guests and a cake. But it became clear right away that it was going to be too hard to wait, that we didn’t want to wait — we wanted to be married, now, so we found a place and a person who could do it and we did it.
21 years. I’m not even sure how that happened, how living our life together day by day has already added up, amounted to that. In some ways, it feels like this last one was the hardest won. We’ve lived through some really difficult things in the past few years, some I’ve told you about and some I haven’t. We’ve had long talks about what we want the next 20 years to look like and have had to negotiate differences of opinion. One thing we always have to mediate is the nature of two introverts in partnership, how isolating it can be if we aren’t careful, how content we are to be alone, both together and apart. He makes me laugh, he’s my comfort, my soft place to land. He’s my favorite, my family, my best friend, the problem I chose to have, the choice I make over and over, day after day.