This summer Jeff and I celebrated our tenth anniversary. Ten years. Ten years that have gone slow and then fast and then slow again until finally here we are welded together with all the adventures and fights and resolutions and progress and digression and 4 little lives that ten years has showered down on us. I love what we’ve been given and what we’ve created. I even love what we’ve trudged through.
There is no way ten years ago I would have guessed we’d be where and who and what we are today. I had no clue who Jeff was, he didn’t really know me. We were walking out into the dark together, committed to weather all storms and rejoice in the sun despite what we’d discover about each other along the way. I’ve been surprised and delighted and surprised and disappointed and mostly amazed at the miracle of commitment and determination and working together towards a common goal. And I’ve felt incredibly blessed by love that has deepened with age and experience and adventure and trials and miracles. There’s still a shred of who we each were individually ten years ago, but mostly those shreds have melted into us. And us is the backbone of our family. And I like that.
Since our anniversary really marked the founding of team Shumway we decided to take the day off to celebrate together and walk down memory lane with the kids. Great idea, right? It was a great idea, but there were a lot of little people trying to ruin the vision I had as we went through the day. Sadly I found myself fighting off being pretty annoyed at each of my kids at different times during the day…..but hey, I think they had a good time and because I insisted on taking a bunch of iPhone pictures I’m hoping I’ll remember the good stuff instead of how annoyed I was at times during the day!
Our little family's history is really rooted in New England so it’s so great that we still live here.
The kids and I picked up Jeff from work around lunch time and we cruised Newbury street. Our first stop was the Jewelry Store “Small Pleasures” where Jeff bought me my antique (aka used) engagement ring. We drove by Kashmir, an Indian place on Newbury street where we’ve had so many great family memories….going into meet daddy with various ages and numbers of kids. Next we went to Harvard Square and showed the kids our first apartment building where we lived after we got home from our big adventure in the Phiippines. We showed them Jeff’s old stomping grounds at the Kennedy School. We ate at Charlie’s Kitchen. We took them to the Church building where we attended while we were dating (which has burned down and been rebuilt pretty much exactly as it was)We talked about the Birth Center, where they were all born (but didn’t drive by it, they’ve been there loads of times and Jeff was worried I’d insist on having another baby if we got too close to that place….I love that place). Then we drove by our second apartment on Brookline Street where we brought Hazel home as a baby. (here jeff is with Baby Hazel, my how things have changed!):We drove by Trader Joes where baby Hazel and I used to walk almost daily to buy daily groceries (we felt very European).
We drove by my old house in Somerville where I lived with room mates while Jeff and I were still dating. We were going to make the long drive over to the dumps of Alston where Jeff lived, but we couldn’t find a Mercury Cougar to do the drive in to make it authentic. Oh, those were the days. I spent so many hours in that house wondering and worrying about what I should say to this boy Jeff who wanted me to marry him. We had lots and lots of late night talks about what kind of life we would build together. It seems so absurd now that I was so worried and anxious and worried, Jeff is so clearly the perfect match for me. We finally drove out west and cruised past Jeff’s aunts old house in Weston where we lived as Newlyweds before taking off on our exotic service 6 month adventure to the Philippines. Those were such different days. No kids and the newness of marriage. We didn’t know what we had!
Last we ended up at Wellesley College where Jeff proposed to me. We showed the kids the very spot where he proposed and I accepted (key distinction there, this was not the place where he proposed 9 months earlier and I said I didn’t know). After Jeff proposed we had a picnic on the shores of Lake Waban. The kids and I had packed up a picnic with lots of the same food and they sent me and Jeff for a little romantic walk (with Peter along) while they set it all up. Wow, it looks so perfect in the pictures….but let me assure you, this was a real moment…..Peter was spilling all the sparkling lemonade, Emmeline was screeching about something, Hazel was upset because we didn’t give her enough time to set it up the way she had planned, Charlie was worried about how much cheese he was getting.
As I sat there, vying for the days gone by, wishing to be back in that romantic day when it was quiet and there was no one yelling at us and Jeff and I sat and soaked in the thrill of being engaged, I realized that I actually love where we are. I love what we’ve built. I love all it’s imperfection and chaos and madness because that’s what makes it real. It’s no longer a dream pent up in my head. We are building something real, made vivid by all the chaos, deep by all the dilemmas, sweet by all the struggles.
(Hazel directed this photo, even made me stick my leg up.)
It’s a good life.