A Photographic History of Us

Last week Clark and I celebrated the big 1-0.  Really?  Ten years of marriage… that’s it?!  What a ripoff!  When you date and live with someone for eight years before heading down the aisle, the wedding anniversaries just don’t paint a true picture of your history together.

Our history.  Hmmmm.  Let’s reflect.  I’d love to spout out a line or two about pre-kid days, but I can’t really remember them.  What did we do every night?  I vaguely remember playing Scrabble and Monopoly (the grown-up versions), hiking with our dogs, and taking lots of road trips.  But the thought of just two of us in a car… without goldfish crackers and booster seats… I’ve lost the specifics on that.

Enter children.  Some nights are almost utopian.  We light a fire and all sit on the living room floor, playing board games.  Or we have family dinners where we all share our “best and worst.”  We read Harry Potter with them (and by “we” I mean me) or conduct a homemade science experiment with a real live porcupine (and by “we” I definitely mean Clark).

Other nights are a cartoonish cluster of chaos… dinner, homework, chores, fighting, baths.  By bedtime our patience is nearly gone, and after the fourth time of telling the gremlins to brush their teeth (yes NOW!) we just hope they don’t severely injure each other (or the wall) in their mock Olympic sprint up the steps.  Otherwise they will ruin our chance to collapse on the couch with a tape delayed version of Law & Order.

There are highlights.  Last night I had the entire bed to myself (talk about wedded bliss) because Clark was camped out in Sam’s lower bunk, protecting our family from an impending alien attack.  Sam had been reading some weird book about U.S. states that showed pictures of extraterrestrials in Nevada, and he was genuinely terrified.  Luckily he has a heroic dad, and we all survived.

Okay, okay… there are better highlights than that.  In honor of our anniversary I present a little tour down memory lane.  A photographic history of us.

First, we must travel back to April 30, 1994… the first time we walked down the aisle together.  We had never met, but had common friends who asked us to be in their wedding.  I was a bridesmaid, and Clark was a groomsman.  Here we are after the wedding reception, ready to change out of these clothes and hit the bars.  (Except I had no clothes to change into… in a few minutes I would hit the clubs wearing Clark’s stonewashed denim… )  I’m not sure why we look so 1980’s when it was well into the 1990’s here…

The hookup

Fast forward through a few college graduations, several overseas excursions for Clark, and two years of teaching for me.  After living in separate cities for three years, we decided to quit our jobs and move to Alaska.  Who needs health insurance?  Who needs a stable income?  We sold most everything we owned and stuffed what little we kept into a GMC Jimmy and headed north.

June 1997 - Alaska or bust!

Alaska was good for us.  We bought a few homes, adopted a few dogs, and landed great jobs.  It took a while, but we finally made the next step!  Marriage!  The proposal on the banks of the Gulkana River was a complete shock to me.  I mean, who expects to get engaged when they’re wearing hip waders?  My parents were up visiting, and since Dad knew in advance (Clark sought his permission, after all) he snapped a few photos.

June 2001 - the proposal
Looks like the answer is yes!

If we look happy there, you should have seen us on June 5, 2004, when little Sam entered our world.  Talk about building history with someone… over 24 hours of labor will do it!

Pure joy!
Not just a husband anymore!

A few blurry years later little Maggie arrived, and the family unit was complete.

Welcome, baby girl!

And that brings us to today (or close enough).  I like this picture.  The new house signifies the decision – finally – that we are going to stay in Alaska.  But Sam is wearing a Nebraska shirt, and we still have those ties.  Then there’s Maggie.  Her shirt is bejeweled with a big old smiley face.  She picked it out.  We all wear it.

March 2011 - we've landed

So these are the photos, but the heart of our story seems to be missing.  A picture might be worth a thousand words, but the true glue moments of our relationship weren’t captured with a Canon.  Someday I’ll write about them, but for now this will have to do.  I’ve been so dang busy living life that it’s hard to carve out time to write about it.  This post, for example.  I’ve wanted to get it written for almost a week now, but Clark just taught me to play rummy.  Each night my choice has been to go a-bloggin’ or a-rummy’n.  One gives me some solo time doing something I love, and the other gives me some social time with the one I love.

Cheers to the next 10 years of marriage, rummy, and writing!

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