Thirteen years


Today we’ve been married thirteen years.  Thirteen feels both not at all new and not yet very old.  In the middle.  Just like everything else right now, it seems: we are in life’s rich, heavy, wonderful middle, which can be dark and disorienting but which is also shot through with dazzling, startling joys.

This photograph was taken in 1998, during the first summer that Matt and I knew each other.  I was 23 and he was 28.  It seems a lifetime ago.   We are standing in the same place that we celebrated our wedding two years later.  There are storm clouds on the horizon, but we’re laughing.  This feels like a harbinger both of our wedding and of life in general.  Our wedding day dawned beautifully clear and sunny, but by the mid-afternoon clouds had begun to gather.  By the time my bridesmaids, mother, and I walked from our house to the church we were hurrying to get there before it rained.  By the time we were standing at the altar it was thundering so loudly that at one point we had to stop and wait for the noise to stop.  Matt and I walked to the yacht club under a bright red umbrella, and most of our guests rode the one-block distance on school buses.  And then, later, it cleared into a glorious night, full of the crystalline, beautiful skies and dry, tinged-with-cool air that always seem to follow a storm.

I couldn’t have scripted better weather for that day.  I know now, fifteen years after this picture was taken, thirteen years into marriage.  Storms roll in, boats heave in the waves, sometimes you have to pause to let the thunder and lightning take center stage.  And then beautiful weather washes in, and an abiding calm.

We were married by a minister who was very familiar to me and beloved of my maternal grandparents.  It was an honor to have someone who knew both the two of us and my family perform such an essential and important act.  In his sermon, he honored my grandmother who had recently died (I think the thunder may have been her telling us she was there, though she was not a thunderous person) and celebrated the spirit of adventure that had marked our early days together.  But, he exhorted of marriage, “Kilimanjaro is nothing compared to this.”  And how right he was.  It’s been steeper and more difficult than I imagined, the landscape more variable and sometimes treacherous, the nights shorter and the hours longer.  But I wouldn’t want anyone else climbing next to me.  And the views are far more breathtaking.

Happy thirteen years, Matt.  I’m still amazed.

22 thoughts on “Thirteen years”

  1. Happy 13 years! It’s almost impossible for me to comprehend that is has been 13 years. I remember that night vividly — thunder, the buses, your beautiful first dance together. And I remember standing in O’Hare airport on a payphone (do they still make those???) when I learned you were engaged. Cheers to you and Matt for many happy more years to come. xoxoxo

  2. Lovely post! The image of the bride and groom under a bright red umbrella is so vivid, so cinematic.

    We just marked 17 years on Saturday. Our wedding was unseasonably hot and sunny. Not sure where that would fall in the weather analogy, but it did mean the cake almost melted.

  3. Keep rowing over those waves and through the storms to find those clear sunsets. Dan and I will celebrate our 32nd next week and every moment of turbulence is worth the calm on the other side. Blessings to you both.

  4. Lovely tribute, Lindsey. And a perfect analogy. From now on, I’ll love thinking about the thunder as something you sometimes have to pause for, and let take center stage. Storms do make for a fuller and richer marriage, I think.

  5. I just love this! Happy anniversary! And you’re so right: “sometimes you have to pause to let the thunder and lightning take center stage!” And then the sky clears. Beautiful!

  6. Lindsey – You don’t write about your marriage often, but I love it when you do. I envy what you describe and applaud you both on 13 years together. And, of course, I love the Kili reference!

  7. Congratulations! 13 years so far and many more to go… from one whose been married to the same wonderful man for 38 years… it only gets better!

  8. This picture is gorgeous, Lindsey. You both look happy and young. We got married at Upstairs on the Square in Harvard Square by a Unitarian minister who told a similar story about marriage. At the time, part of me was thinking, “Yes, I know. Marriage can be hard. I get it.” We had been living together for two years at this point so I figured I understood what I needed to know. Not quite. Moving, new parenthood, family illness… Life throws curve balls, and it’s important to know in your heart that you’ll be through them as a family and as a couple.

  9. Dear Lindsey, many on life’s journey do not gift their loved ones or themselves with a moment of elegant and deeply felt reflection as your words convey – a “life poem” on gratitude – for love, in love, blessed by love. To many more years together for you and Matt!

  10. Actual tears reading this. I LOVE it. I feel that photo so captures the carefree spirit of being 23. You were the first to walk down the aisle, to have children, to weather the years in a marriage that inevitably come and have ups and downs – all before me. And I am so grateful for your wisdom on all of it.

  11. This made me cry. You describe marriage so well. Stormy and clear skies. Rain and then sun. I can see from this that you two have grown together over the past 15 years and that is a beautiful thing!!!

  12. Gorgeous. Nothing is ever as you can imagine it, is it? Not your wedding day, not marriage, not motherhood, not growing older. Nothing. It’s all different, harder. But if you pay attention… really make an effort to not just live through it, but live UP to it… the views are much more breathtaking than you could have imagined too.

    Happy Anniversary. We’re on eight years and still, I am amazed.

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