“You willa willa dirty…Mommy not dirty. Mommy sweaty. You (Daddy) dirty…You needa take a shower! You willa sweaty! You (Mommy) not dirty. Daddy dirty.”
“Where’s my frozer? That’s where mango go!” (holding up a felt pineapple)
After playing catch with Daddy for about 10 or 15 minutes,“I need to sit down and relax.”
“I be right back Mommy. I’m get buh (her lovey).”
Leila: “I need red paint.” Papa: “You need red paint.” Leila: “Yes. Rojo.”
Referring to the green smoothie I just made. “Remember last time you spilt it? Over the…over the…over the…”
“I like to feel cozy in the bath!”
“I love babies. I love Target babies!”
“I love Daddy playing with me.”
As Daddy buckles Leila in, while Mommy gets into the front seat, “I don’t want to crash into Baba Joon’s car.”
“I want to go back to Daddy, I’m so excited to see Daddy!”
“Simon calls me La La. My name Ayah.”
“My bottom is dirty, and I got to clean it, sometimes.”
“That’s not a park one (outfit). This my swimsuit.”
“I a big girl. I like this candy!” (Referring to the hard candies we foolishly chose to eat in front of Leila.) “I like this chocolate. I not choke!” (Post-consumption of aforementioned candy.)
This past July marked the 10th anniversary of when we first met. We both tossed around the idea of doing something epic, but it passed with the simple gift of a world map to commemorate our travels.
This past Thursday marked the 10th anniversary of our first kiss and the beginning of our now decade-long romance. This past Thursday, I was in Bastrop, and Ben was in Houston. In spite of our schedules and ourselves we managed to bookend our anniversary with weekend celebrations. The Saturday before was a sushi dinner and Ira Glass at the Wortham Center thanks to a Mother’s Day gift from the grandparents. Then this past Saturday we managed to rope Leila into a last minute sleepover with the grandparents so Mama and Papa could celebrate 10 years with drinks and appetizers at Benjy’s, followed by the Manhattan Short Film Festival at the MFAH. We planned for more but by the beginning of the last film, whatever confluence of cold/sinus/allergies that had been plaguing me all week finally caught up with me, and I ended the evening over the toilet and spent the night on the couch with Harry and Sally.
Ten years. I feel like it deserves more, but I suppose there is nothing more authentic than an anniversary celebration that recognizes the “in sickness” side of the vows. A decade ago I think the thought of 10 years down the road was beyond my comprehension, but now it feels so small and normal and like we’re still very much at the beginning. On the drive to the restaurant, I asked Ben why he thought some relationships lasted and some didn’t. I told him the idea that a relationship was never right to begin with bothers me. Maybe it is the part of me that grieves the idea that anyone would live with a bad decision daily for such a prolonged amount of time. Or maybe I simply shirk at the possibility we can only have clarity in hindsight. Whatever the case, I wondered with Ben whether he thought that we knew that we would grow together, or if it was just plain luck. Then Ben said this. He said he thinks it comes down to decisions.
And I thought of Rwanda, and how this one choice he made to follow my heart brought us closer. And Ben said either changed him or made him more aware of who he really was. Decisions – these everyday and life decisions that honor your loved one without compromising yourself. And it made sense.