So today makes 10 years since Dunreith and I eloped with Aidan and the three of us became a family.
It was a heady time.
On Friday, September 1, 2000 I worked my last day at Facing History and Ourselves, leaving a 13-year career as an educator, packed up my white Honda Civic and drove out to Western Massachusetts.
On Monday, September 4, we told Aidan about our plans, drove to Look Park in Northampton, and met the Justice of the Peace who was conducting the ceremony we had written ourselves.
Aidan picked the spot where we would wed: it was right near a tree with three branches that came together at the base.
The three of us held hands in a circle.
The ceremony began.
I don’t remember everything we said and did, and we somehow did not think to bring a camera.
But I do remember that we combined formal readings with time for Dunreith and me to talk to Aidan and each other from the heart about what we meant to each other.
I do remember the three of us cheering, “Dunreith/Aidan/Jeff/Together/Forever/Cha cha cha” at the end.
I do remember Aidan going frog hunting.
I do remember the gold ring we had bought from Costco fitting too loosely on my ring finger.
And I do remember a delicious and exhilarating feeling washing over me, feeling unsure about what was ahead, but settled about my choice to become Dunreith’s husband and Aidan’s father.
Ten years later, I feel even more so that way, my knowledge leavened by a decade of lived experience.
Don’t get me wrong.
We all have struggles-with ourselves, with each other and with the family-from time to time. We have periods of tension.
That’s real and normal, and I would even venture, healthy.
But we also have the knowledge that we are there for each other.
We also have the history of having shown up, tried hard and loved each other for the past 10 years.
We have thousands of wonderful memories of moments big and small.
In short, we have each other.
So, even though it was quite a jolt to the system to move, give up my career, and become a husband and father in the space of three days-I guess it’s fitting that it was over Labor Day since each of these decisions has subsequently entailed an awful lot of work-I am grateful and humbled for the decision we made to become a family that day, and the thousands of decisions we have made since them.