Years of marriage.

And as the cries arise—“So young!” “Spring chickens!”—let me just say that yes, we are fairly new travellers on the highway of love, but we’ve navigated our share of forks in the road, blind corners, and breakdowns (usually managing to get to the side of the road but sometimes stalling unsurprisingly at conspicuous intersections).

Driving through rush hour Akron traffic to make our six o’clock dinner reservation in Cleveland,


John asked if I felt nine years older. I wonder, do marriage years work like childhood years? My answer to the question spoke of stages: clueless newness, colic survival (for want, or sheer laziness, of a better term), massive transition (new job, new baby, big move, autism diagnosis), heartbreaking honesty accompanied by painful recognitions and uncertainties, renegotiation, and finally, a kind of interpersonal exploration nouveau.

Granted, if we were still in the “heartbreaking honesty accompanied by painful recognitions and uncertainties” stage, I certainly wouldn’t be writing about it now; and I’m not going into specifics on any of these fronts. But in summation, I’ll offer up a generally accurate characterization of our nine nuptial years:    

“To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.”  —Emily Dickinson

But it’s also familiar. We rented a tent for our mostly outdoor reception in the July heat of Kansas to protect our guests from the sun. The day ended up grey and one of the coldest on record: maybe 65 degrees. People were asking for coffee and huddling in a very crowded downstairs living room to warm up from a chilly north wind. Of course 65 sounds ideal, but considering Kansas summer highs hardly ever dip down to even the mid-80s (and have been known to remain in the 100s for weeks at a time), it was downright frigid.

The weather today in Canton is remarkably similar, only sunnier. The boys and I wore sweaters while waiting for the trash truck on the front stoop this morning. Not as rare in Ohio, but still to be relished, and remarkable in its way.

john-jennifer-2004-bw [Photo credit: Dwayne Adamson]



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