10 year ago, Erin and I spent our wedding night on the Country Club Plaza. We had a comped dinner at the Plaza III Steakhouse and spent our wedding night in an apartment-sized room, gifted to us by Erin's dad in the hotel now known as the Intercontinental - probably the most expensive hotel in KC (that single night cost almost as much as our entire honeymoon). One of the best pictures from our entire 10 years of marriage was snapped that night, a picture of me helping my new bride into a carriage for a ride through the Plaza, as both of us were still in our wedding clothes. While we stayed, thanks to Priceline.com in the Plaza Marriott rather than the Intercontinental, we did take a ride up the same glass elevator we rode nervously rode in 10 years earlier. In our north-facing room on the 17th floor of the Marriott, we were able to watch a total of 9 different fireworks displays on Sunday evening.
On Sunday afternoon, we walked around Loose Park, near the spots where I first told Erin I loved her in July of 98 and where we had our engagement pictures taken in October of 99. We also spent Sunday afternoon reminiscing over highlights of each of our 10 years of marriage.
As an example of some highlights, we reminisced about all the different places from which we've watched fireworks. In 2000, we were on our honeymoon in Eureka Springs, Arkansas and had driven to the lake at which the fireworks were going to be shown, I remember driving through a ditch of some sort in order to get to the lake. Erin, having grown up in Johnson County and not yet having spent extended periods of time at my parents' place in Southeast Iowa, was a little unnerved by the mullets, rusty pickups, sawed-off shotguns and toothless and beer-soaked grins of the locals, so we ended up watching whatever fireworks we could see through the openings in the Ozark mountains as we drove back to the safety of our honeymoon cabin. The next summer, we had people over to our new place in Park North (Nazarene ghetto housing in West Olathe) only to have the Olathe fireworks display go terribly wrong. From our perch on a hill near the Great Mall, we were able to see the displays from Corporate Woods and Lenexa.
In 2004, we watched fireworks with some friends in the small town of Chariton, IA. In 2007, we dodged tornadoes just before watching fireworks on the lawn of the Mall in Washington, DC. In 2008, we watched the City of Lenexa's fireworks from the Theatre in the Park lawn, during intermission of Beauty and the Beast. In 2009, we had friends over and watched the fireworks shot off from GEHS while sitting on lawn chairs in our backyard. For the first time, we worried that the fireworks would wake our son.
This July, we got to add another cool place to our list of fireworks viewing.
In our north-facing room on the 17th floor of the Marriott, we were able to watch a total of 9 different fireworks displays in addition to the lightening streaking across the sky.
10 years creates a lot of memories.
And yet we're likely just getting started in this life-long journey of marriage.
We spent the weekend sharing how grateful we are to have each other in our lives and remembering the things that first caused us to fall in love and later to commit the rest of our lives to each other. The things I loved about Erin; her compassion, sensitivity, servant-heart, concern for others, empathy, angelic singing voice and dazzling beauty - they're even more apparent and appreciated now than they were ten years ago.
We also talked a bit about a speaker we heard at a MNU chapel when we'd just started dating. The speaker challenged these young college kids to only commit to marraige if they believed they could serve God better with that other person as their spouse than without. While admittedly, we were young and overly idealistic, Erin and I believed that to be the case in our new relationships. 10 years later, with most of the idealism gone and a few scars and a lot of changed lives, I believe even more strongly that we're better serving together than seperately.
I can't imagine a better person with whom to walk through life than my beautiful wife of ten years.