Eleven isn’t really anything. It’s the breath after ten, the stumbling block between kid and tween. It’s odd, not even, and so by it’s very nature I dislike it.
I like even, I like pairs that divide easily by two, I even just like the number two, (so much so that I even chose our wedding date solely by looking at the calendar and seeking out the first Saturday that year with the date “22.”) Eleven doesn’t do it for me, never has.
But now, sitting here reflecting on the years we have spent together as a story, eleven, the number that’s not young as a child, but not yet full grown, the odd, not divisible by two but rather made what it is by two single digits standing side by side – it’s growing on me.
At eleven, You and I are past the set up and character introductions (helloooo, four children each with interesting personalities and quirks) and moving forward into the thick of the plot. Exhilarating and a little terrifying at the same time, it’s not unlike that Saturday the 22nd eleven years ago, as I walked down the aisle to meet you.
Every wedding that I photograph, I remember you and I. Every reading of 1st Corinthians 13. Every special music. Every unity candle lit or pastoral prayer with hands held over the heads of a young couple. I see us. I remember us, young, silly, living on a shoestring and not caring one bit because we were together.
Every newborn that I photograph, I remember you and I, fumbling through those first few weeks with Alex. I remember your hand on mine during labor, I remember your eyes, rimmed with tears, holding our first son. I remember us, stumbling head first into parenthood and not caring one bit if we were ready or not, we were together.
And every elderly couple I see dancing on the parquet flooring at a reception, or sitting side by side, hands folded over one another’s, I am hopeful for us. I think of how blessed the years we have shared have been. This novel in progress, the journey we’re taking, the race we’re running, pick your metaphor and go with it, it’s amazing to me the life that we’re building, together.
Here, at the eleven year mark, I see more clearly than I did at the five or seven or even ten, just how beautiful this all is turning out.
So here’s to eleven years, side by side. (And many, many more.)