One of the side-effects of unpacking (and of packing) is that you’ll inevitably come across all sorts of crap you didn’t even remember you had. I’m infamous for purging possessions whenever we move, but there are some things I just can’t force myself to get rid of. I have boxes of notes, keep-sakes, tapes, mini-discs, floppy discs, and trinkets from high school. Nicole’s not so much on the notes, but she has tons of photographs, and she can tell you when and where each of them was taken.
One of the side-effects of old photographs is that they make you feel old! Something about how a picture that’s barely 5 years old has already started to fade and discolor a bit, making it look like something you dug up in your grandma’s attic — even though its a picture of you, and you remember it being taken, and it wasn’t that long ago!!
The thing is, Nicole and I have been together a long time. This year’s anniversary, like most of the previous ones, kinda flew by without much pause for recollection. As is the norm for us, we were too deep in the middle of some massive life change to really stop and celebrate how far we’ve come. But as I was digging through boxes at lunch time today, looking for something or other I’d lost, I stumbled across piles of photo albums, with pictures taken what seems like a life time ago. And I had to stop and marvel at this journey.
While we’ve been married 7 years, Nicole and I have been together over 10. We met in high school, married before we were done college, and haven’t really slowed down since. Click on for a few discolored, somewhat faded pictures, that make us look like the couple of old married people we really are…
1998: This was our second prom — both of which were at Nicole’s high school, since I didn’t much care for my school. I graduated grade 12, while Nic did OAC, or grade 13 — which, at the time, in Ontario, was something pursued only by those smart enough to start University courses early. I was never that smart, but I was smart enough to hold on to my high school sweetheart, and even though I moved an hour away to school, we figured out how to make things work.
2001: This was us at our wedding, at the ripe old age of 21. There are still wedding pictures up in the Photos section, so I won’t dwell on the event here. Suffice it to say, it was one of the happiest days of our life together. It was another 2 years before any of our friends started getting hitched, which was a little hard on us at times, but it was totally worth it.
2001: This was us on our honeymoon. We went on a Caribbean cruise, on a big boat full of screaming kids and fat people. Our island stops were generally hurried and expensive, but we met some fun people, and enjoyed getting away. This was our first real vacation together, and it would be our last for another 6 years… We had better things to do.
2002: This is our first apartment. Nicole is busy doing homework. Our first year married was a relatively easy one. Our second year was the toughest. While I was still in college, my employer gave me a lot of leeway to work from home, or do the one-hour commute only when I needed to. When I finished school, we moved halfway between the college and my job, meaning we needed two cars, and we each spent an hour a day minimum on the highway. Our place was more money than we probably could have afforded, the cars (and my insurance) weren’t cheap, and it seemed like our whole pay checks went into the gas tanks. We ate a lot of pasta, fought a lot, and at one point, even agreed to rent out our basement for the extra money. We survived it though, and once Nicole finished college, things got a lot easier!
2003: I have no idea what year this picture was actually taken — it might have been 2004. I’m sure Nicole will be able to correct me. I know it was at a family Christmas, and I know we were genuinely happy. With a few years of marriage under our belt, and our mostly self-centered college life behind us, it wouldn’t be long before we finally were able to turn our attention outward more.
Ministry, Asia, New York and two kids followed, and now it seems, for the first time in 10 years, that we’re going to be able to slow down for awhile. The change of pace is disconcertingly different from what we’re used to, but we’ve adapted to a lot tougher things than a comfy home in a quiet neighbourhood, with a sound financial outlook, and friends and family close by, so I think we’ll survive…