Felt like sitting down and writing a postcard from 21 years down the road to the two 20-somethings in the enclosed pic, on the anniversary of their exchanging I Dos inside beautiful Trinity Church on a sweltering hot August Saturday afternoon ….
I don’t want to freak you out, but you’re betting yourselves against a big world, and, at the risk of stating the obvious, you don’t have many chips in your pocket.
I also don’t want to spoil it for you, but it will only get better.
Not easier. Just better.
Pete … Karry will do everything in her power to make sure you don’t get lost. She’ll even ride with you to make sure of it. I’m speaking literally and metaphorically, here. She’ll make sure you survive grad school. She will give you confidence when your supplies run dry. And, she’ll make a mean fish stick and mac-and-cheese dinner, and sit with you on the floor of the world’s tiniest apartment and watch the Six Million Dollar Man with you. Trust me, it will be awesome.
Karry … marrying a guy without a full-time job is a big leap of faith … but your patience will pay off in ways you could never predict. In the meantime, you’ll be great at what you do, and you’ll do just fine for the both of you.
Pete … don’t worry that you don’t quite know what you want to be when you grow up. Don’t worry that you may never know that answer. You’ll do OK in the searching.
Though you may think that right now, in each other, you have everything you will ever need in the world, you are totally wrong.
Kids will change everything.
Moments after a screaming baby boy enters the picture, you will realize that you haven’t a clue, have no idea what you’re doing, and could not be more unprepared for what’s about to come.
But you won’t be alone. Your parents have been waiting for this moment all their lives. Karry, your Mom will reveal her true superhero identity. She will blow your mind. She will paint your living room when you are not home. You’ll grow more close than you ever thought possible. You’ll survive the sleepless nights. You’ll survive going back to work.
And your son will bring you so much joy you won’t be able to resist giving him a sibling, though it will take him a good 16 years (minimum) to warm up to that idea.
You will learn early and often that your hearts have the capacity and resiliency to both explode and break with love.
You’ll have front row seats to the two most beautiful babies you have ever seen. Then you’ll blink and they’ll be young adults.
You’ll read them The Kissing Hand on the first day of elementary school. And every first day of school after that. You’ll make them pose against their will in the driveway, then you will cry when the yellow bus takes them away to kill summer after summer.
You’ll get to be Santa Claus. Then you won’t.
Karry, Pete will consistently drive you speechless by doing the same damn things over and over. He will also pioneer new and surprising ways. On the other hand, he’ll occasionally make you laugh until tears stream down your face. And, Pete, you will never grow tired of being responsible for making Karry smile.
You’ll get on each other’s nerves like you can’t imagine. Then you’ll wake to a new day and realize that, whatever it was, it wasn’t such a big deal.
Karry, you will learn that there are far more important things in life than work. And that it will still be there whenever you decide to return. Pete, you’ll have a chance to reward Karry’s patience and sacrifices.
Your parents will stay with you only for as long as you need them, though you will wish it was so much longer.
You’ll see the years start to take their toll.
You’ll give thanks every day, and curse time with the same breath.
You will remain each other’s biggest fans.
And when everything else fails, you’ll bang on God’s door in the middle of the night demanding him to open up, that you know he’s in there.
Twenty one years later, you’ll find yourselves still betting against a big world without many chips in your pocket.
And you will realize that you still haven’t a clue, have no idea what you’re doing, and could not be more unprepared for what’s to come.
And though you’ll long for the days when you didn’t know what you didn’t know, if you knew all of the above while you were standing at the altar of Trinity Church on a sweltering summer Saturday afternoon ….
You’d do it all again.