Today, October 21st, is the one year anniversary of my marriage to Jessica Munch Kessler, the most miraculous human I know.
Leading up to such an august occasion I’ve had a great many thoughts, often some variant of “Um, what day is it again?” Because I can’t for the life of me believe it’s already been a year when it seems like yesterday we were taking smoochy wedding photos with glorious New York fall colors behind us, laughing uproariously with our family and closest friends, and maybe almost crying a little bit because holy F we just pulled off a wedding in a town across the country where literally none of us live and can we just have a break now please?
Of course, thinking about the first anniversary also means thinking about gifts: a tradition with a lovingly competitive undercurrent at which she will inevitably top me. I know this not only because she has marvelous taste and a sixth sense for infusing even the most mundane moments with delight. But also because of the marvelous gift she gave me not even a month into our relationship.
Three weeks after we met, we were still living across the country from each other - me in Seattle, her in New York. On my first trip out to see her in New York, I decided to extend my stay by a couple days ‘cuz we were having a real good time. But, I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of calling the airlines to change my tickets and tried put it off until the last minute.
“Yeah, I’ll call ‘em in a while” I said. To which she replied “Do you really want to put it off? Why not just do it now?”
Simple, I know. But, honest and right. Putting it off would’ve been dumb - who knows what flights or seats would’ve been available, even later that day? But moreover, without realizing it I had exposed a vulnerability (procrastination, likely ‘cuz I knew the financial consequence of changing my plans would be painful) and she had been straightforward and respectful about how silly delaying the call would’ve been.
And what a gift! What a wonderful thing, to understand in an instant that I could be vulnerable, could potentially do a silly thing, and I know that I’d still be safe with her. It made me feel like I could be honest with her in return. For the first time in ages at that point, I felt the overwhelming relief of not posturing, not trying so damn hard, and truly being myself in a partner’s company.
Three and a half years later, one magical year of it married, 21 weeks of it expecting a baby, her gift keeps on giving. I remain awed, in love, and grateful in its receipt.