The year 2003 was an eventful one. The Columbia Space Shuttle disintegrated upon reentering the Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven members of it's crew. A relentless bush fire in Australia destroyed over 500 homes. A fire in a North Korean subway killed 200 people. The SARS virus emptied Chinese classrooms and saw thousands of civilians donning surgical masks during their daily transit. Back on the home front, war loomed. Millions protested. Their protests proved vain as the United States invaded Iraq on March 19th. The Human Genome Project was completed. Elizabeth Smart was found. So was Sadaam Hussein. 2003 was also the rise of The Govenator in California. In lesser news; on May 2, 2003, a bright-eyed 18 year old girl and a baby faced twenty two year old returned missionary were married. It was a warm, miraculously windless Spring day as they walked out of the Idaho Falls LDS temple as man and wife. The next weeks and months passed by in a blissful blur. Time stood still as the young star crossed newlyweds feasted on Ramen Noodles and Pasta Roni in their wood paneled, avocado green apartment. Over the next few years, reality hit hard and fast. Their were slam the door, five block cool off fights. Babies came. Money was tight, sometimes nearly non-existent. There were sleepless nights, tear soaked pillows and colic jags. There was plenty of worry about the future and a healthy dose of growing up. Those years were also filled with Yahtzee tournaments that went into the wee hours of the morning, star gazing, side splitting laughter over cheap burgers, dancing barefoot in the kitchen, baby belly laughs, deep conversations about the meaning of life, hopes, dreams, and a number of miracles.
A few years later, the couple bought their first home in a quaint, sleepy town. They continued to settle into life through years of potty training, first days of school and swimming lessons. There were less Ramen Noodles and more fresh produce. Some of the financial worry had abated. There was a feeling of contentment. They were living the American Dream. Then there was the heartache of a miscarriage and subsequent struggles of trying to add onto their family. They bought a dog (who turned out to be a mischievous imp in K9 form). A year later, they welcomed a perfect baby boy into their home with open arms. There were more sleepless nights and less evenings out. Dinners out on the town were replaced by movies on the couch with buckets of popcorn. Laundry multiplied and quiet moments became extinct. The devil dog ran into the road and ended up under a stump in the backyard. A tree house also found a spot on an old stump there. There were less slam the door, block walking fights and more subdued and brow furrowing discussions about every day adult details of life. There were failed cooking experiments (though they were probably still better than the Ramen Noodle feasts of past years.) There were heartaches and major life decisions. There was still barefoot dancing in the kitchen, but a few sets of tiny feet now pounded out their own rhythm. There was less star gazing and more falling exhausted into bed after the last little cheek was kissed good night.
Of course, during all of this time, the outside world continued to grow and change at a relentless pace. The war which began in 2003 raged on, claiming thousands of lives. Natural disasters took countless lives and displaced thousands more, and evil acts of hatred shook people to their core and reminded all of the fragile state of humanity. Movie stores, VCR's, CD's, fax machines and phone books became obsolete. There were also soul affirming acts of heroism and heartwarming stories of love and self sacrifice. As all of this raged on outside, the star-crossed young couple of not so long ago waged their own battles in their happily situated little brick house, all the while realizing that, no matter how much the world around them changed, some things would never become obsolete, and the love and commitment that held their world together was one of them.
A decade later, our couple is not quite so fresh faced. There are more wrinkles. The sometimes harsh realities of life have left them a little wiser, and a little tired. There are days so full of car pools and business meetings and school projects that sometimes the two, who were nearly inseparable ten years ago, hardly cross paths. But there are more moments of sincere gratitude for unloaded dishwashers and baskets of folded laundry and changed diapers. There are moments of near perfection when three little belly laughs simultaneously fill the room and echo from the walls. There are family walks on lazy summer evenings and epic Candy Land tournaments. And then there are those rare nights, when the house is quiet. Three little chests rise and fall rhythmically. And the once young and naive, star crossed lovers look at one another from slightly more wizened faces, and all they have been through, all the mountains and valleys, the heartaches and triumphs of the last decade pass between them in a glance. They smile, embrace and realize that they have come closer to the meaning of true and lasting love than the fresh faced youths of a decade ago could have fathomed.
Happy ten years to the man who is my rock and safe haven in an ever changing world.