Ten years have passed since the last time I dressed up in a tuxedo.
A lot can happen over ten years. It's amazing when you look back at a span of years and realize what path your life has taken and where you have evolved to as a person, couple and family. Things like moving six times, cycling through 7 different jobs, buying two houses, the birth of two children, losing people that you loved, making new friends, and the fading of others. Holding conversations with youths that you can recall in diapers, and wondering what became of people that you used to know so well.
The last time I wore a tuxedo was on my wedding day. Over ten years ago. Ten years. Wow.
Life is hard. Marriage is work. You don't know that when you're standing there, at the base of the aisle, as your bride-to-be, decked out in all her beauty and glory, comes marching down to be with you forever after. All you are thinking, is "I love her. That will be enough." And it is for a time. But life isn't all about tuxedos, gowns and white packages that say "many happy returns". Those many happy returns are yours to work out. A note can't do much on it's own. Love is not the flutter in your chest. Love runs much deeper, so deep that some days it's hard to find. Marriage isn't always easy. Sometimes it sucks.
In ten short years I have generated a thousand tearful encounters from my thoughtless words and deeds. I have yelled when I should have been understanding, and silent when I should have consoled. I've seen days pass in conflict while solutions are avoided and disregard due to my anger and self pity. I find that 'Why can't you just be this' or 'Why did you do it like this?' are frequent used arrows in my quiver of domestic vocabulary, and that the salve of 'I appreciate everything you do' is, at many times, so very hard to find. In ten years I have created dozens of catastrophes, agonies and broken my share of dishes and hearts.
In ten short years I've uttered ten thousand 'I sorry's, I've begged for forgiveness when it had been handed out so freely only moments before. I've purchased more flowers and boxes of tissue than I can even recall. At times I've felt like a villain and days I was sure I was a saint. Arguments, fights and defeats are a normal part of life. They cannot altogether be avoided, but if you believe you will never see them, then you are assured to find yourself mired in them.
In ten short years, I have been blessed with countess 'I love you's and buried under welcome piles 'thank you's and hugs. I've smiled, sung, danced, and lived happier than any other period in my life. I've laughed with my bride about things, just to laugh and walked hand in hand down the dirtiest street with a smile on my face. I've basked in the glow of her smile and been ignited over her joy of things that had faded to mere embers in my soul. Disneyland, tacos, Christmas, and piles of sharp cheddar cheese to name but a few.
Today you have a chance to recall your ups and downs. Embrace the ups. Recall the love and hope and joy but don't forget the downs. Not so you can dwell on them, but rather as a marker to remind you where you've come from. If you don't remember where you've been, you might find yourself driving back that way someday.
Decades pass and life goes on. Today I've remember that flutter in my heart, standing at the base of church waiting for my life to start and I can't wait to start a fresh again.