One of my favorite friends from college (who is still one of my favorite friends) is commemorating his tenth anniversary with his husband. They’re celebrating horizontally: room service, white sand, good books, and delicious-looking cocktails.
He posted on Facebook: “Ten. Years. The places we've been, things we've survived, all the beauty and the ache of the last 3,650 days: I'd take nothing in return.”
My baby brother is getting married next weekend. So Nathan’s at 10, and Andrew is about to be at 0… and I have a toast to prepare.
10 years ago, there hadn't been a Katrina yet. We weren't text messaging in the United States. I had only loved one man enough to want to marry him, I had only been a bridesmaid twice, and none of my friends were divorced.
10 years, though. I've watched nearly everyone I know build or unbuild or rebuild families. I've moved to a different time zone, lived with two men I've loved enough to marry, and learned how to say no.
I don't know what I'm going to say in my toast. My rehearsal dinner speeches have always been toasts to “faith, hope, and love,” using clever quips like “hope that one of you learns to cook” and “faith that one day, all of your combined student loans are paid off.”
The amazing woman my brother is marrying is close to what my age was 10 years ago, and I can’t wait to see how their life unfolds. It's going to be full of laughter (her quips are far more clever than mine, probably because she's a redhead) and delicious-looking cocktails. I’m sure there will be grief and struggles: you can’t be happy with yourself 100% of the time, so you can’t expect to be happy with someone else 100% of the time.
I’m sure there will be adventure (and the inevitable woes my brother’s travel luck brings) and disagreements over whose turn it is to take out the yet-unacquired-but-also-inevitable pet dog. I’m sure there will be disappointment and setbacks… the kids call them “opportunities” these days, but that’s a more difficult brand of optimism than you’ll want when you’d rather feel numb. Sometimes, this means having a partner who understands you need quiet, alone, distance; sometimes, it means having a partner who will hold you.
If you chose well, these attributes exist in the same partner.
To faith: may you find it in yourself so that you can have faith in others.
To hope: may it always shine brightly in your heart.
To love: may you always be good at it.
Congratulations to everyone who is on the journey, whether it’s 0 or 10 or 37 (my parents) or 66 (my grandparents) years. May you wish to take nothing in return.