Eight is my favorite number. Mostly for selfish reasons. I was born on the eighth day of October, the month that means eight. I remember the year I turned eight, I looked out the bus window on my way to school, and pondered my existence. I’m eight, on October 8, 1988. It was a big year. I learned cursive that year, it was the only year that I played on an organized sport’s team, I was coming into my own as a self proclaimed puffy paint artist, and it was also the year that I would find any excuse to wear my gaudy 3-tiered pink dress. To me eight was magic.
Today marks our eighth year of being married.
When we first met I thought you were interesting with your pointy hair and your desire to be unique.
You just got back from spending a summer in New York City, studying design at Parsons. You were cultured, and you had insight. “I don’t like Death Cab for Cutie,” you told me. “Because they sold out. And I’ll only listen to Jimmy Eat World, pre Bleed American.”
I nodded in agreement. To me it made sense.
You took me to interesting places. Our dating life was art shows, and picnics in the grass with cheese and hunks of bread. We watched foreign films together and we’d let the eerie tone wash over our bodies before we made out on the couch.
We dreamed of living in a French flat on the Left Bank, riding bikes and shopping at sidewalk produce stands. In our minds, we’d park our bikes, and talk in broken French to each other as our fingers glided over the waxy fruit.
We were babes, chasing after something that was small. Living somewhere foreign would never had made sense. Instead, we honeymooned in Paris, trying to act natural and ordering off the menu with our best Gerard Depardieu accents.
Confit de Canard, s’il vous plaît.
We never lived on the Left Bank, or in a metropolitan city bustling with people that run into the sidewalks and city streets like a cut that starts to bleed.
Instead we had babies. Children have come into our lives and have caused our relationship to bend into a new path. Our kids have become our adventure. Six piercing blue eyes guide us through our marriage, challenging us, growing us, and watching us.
Our marriage is not a wobbling toddler anymore. We don’t drink watered down grape juice out of leaky sippy cups. We are established, we are solid. We are a tree with roots and thick branches. Our branches aren’t quite sturdy enough to hang a rope swing from, but maybe strong enough to climb up at night and count stars from a bough or hang upside down from.
And that’s fine.
Because it’s gives us something to look forward to.
So happy eight years, Patrick. This year let’s celebrate by counting the stars and hanging upside down.