Today marks 10 years since the first day that I was married to the lovely 18 year old Barbara Mae Gitzel.
It's pretty funny to think that we got married so early on in life. I guess it's true that it could have been a disaster, just like a lot of other marriages that start out so young in life. In my mind, the way things have gone, it could not have worked out better.
I am very thankful that we celebrate 10 years this year and not, lets say, 4 or 5 years. Something happened 11 years ago when I met Barbara. We had a lot of time to spend together that summer; learning about each other and trying to figure out what we were going to do with our lives. The more we learned about each other, the more we realized that it would be a pretty good idea to figure it all out together.
Out of our 15 months of dating, 9 were spent apart. It was a weird thing to do. We wrote letters to each other and mailed videos to each other documenting our lives apart; the sorrow of distance and all of the drama of a couple of kids in love. We'd used phone cards to talk to each other, often 4 timezones apart. In the dark, cold lonely Montreal nights I would talk to Barbara on the phone. The sound of the birds and sunshine in the background would bleed through the phone from Honolulu. I could actually hear the sunshine. It was like Barbara was calling from Heaven.
We grew close during that time. We wrote our feelings down and we talked about them as well. It's hard to make-out over the phone, so we were left with simple conversation.
Then, when we finally got back together and Ron gave me the thumbs up, I proposed and we were married 4 months later. It takes a lot of trust to give away your 18 year old daughter to a 20 year old guy. I am very thankful for that trust and that it grew into a wonderful relationship that I now share with Barbara's family. I could not have asked for my in-laws to be kinder and more loving than they are to us.
We've been to a lot of places together and we've been in China for a long time now. All the while still uncertain about those dreams and plans we had originally agreed to figure out together.
We've got 2 kids. We took our time. All of the planning and deciding of our boy Miles seemed to be a carefully thought out process. It seemed to be the smart way to do things, to plan ahead. Well, Jonas was an accident. We were not planning to have another one. A happy accident, indeed! I only have the one instance as an example, but I would say that I could not imagine a situation where I would not be ecstatic about having a "surprise" baby. After Jonas I realized that all of the planning ahead and carefully thought out ideas didn't really matter. Kids are truly a gift that cannot be measured, no matter where or how or why they show up.
It's been a fun decade. We survived listening to ska and punk music. We evolved through all of the weird fashions and phases of youth. Now we are both quickly settling into the idea of being in our 30's. I know that I would not have been to the places I've been and I would not have known all of the beautiful people that I know if it wasn't for joining my life together with hers.
And now, here we are, seemingly on the brink of something that might fit into the plans that we dreamed of in 2000. I am sure that no matter what happens here in China and no matter what sort of security and certainties we arrive at in the future, we will always have mystery and wonder to walk through together. I am very thankful that Barbara understands me and knows me. In life, you don't get a lot of opportunities for people to know you, I mean really know you. I am thankful.