“Enjoy the little things in life… one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” –Kurt Vonnegut
Alexis and I have shared several “big moments” together over the last two decades.
Whether that day twenty years ago when we officially became Mr. and Mrs. Anderson; signing the lease together on our very first, very tiny apartment in Torrance; the August afternoon seventeen years ago when, after years of dreaming and sacrifice on both our parts, Hawthorne High School called to offer me a teaching position; celebrating the birth of our five children; or that early October morning six years ago as we quietly held and said goodbye to our daughter, Eden Rebekah— our lives over the past two decades have been full of profound, defining moments.
Still, as we celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, it isn’t those moments I have been thinking of most. As memorable and life-changing as all of them most certainly were, it’s the moments in between that I have reflected on most in the days and weeks leading up to July 17, 2013.
Because, in the end, it wasn’t the day of our wedding or moving into our apartment that was the most meaningful—it was what happened after July 17, 1993 and day-in and day-out in that little one bedroom on Amie Avenue in the months following as we sat together on the couch with our cats, talking late into the night, doing dishes together and getting up early for work and college classes that made the greatest difference. Because the Summer evenings we spent sitting together outside with our feet in the pool after the kids had gone to bed had, in many ways, more of an impact on our lives than even many of the “big moments” that happened in between. Because it wasn’t being with our daughter as she passed away, but rather being with one another in the dark and difficult months and years that followed that left the most indelible impression on our life together.
No matter how profound the “big moments” of our lives over the past two decades, it’s the little things that I remember and appreciate the most twenty years later. Every early evening walk. Every trip for ice cream. Every discussion over a table (and chips and salsa!) at La Capilla. Every otherwise ordinary bedtime where we undertake the sometimes seemingly gargantuan task of putting four kids to bed the way we have done everything these past twenty years—together. It’s the conversations and laughter and all the moments in between the “big moments” that have made two decades of a beautiful marriage.
That’s what Alexis and I are celebrating today. And that’s what we asked Stacee to capture for us for our 20th anniversary—the little things that have defined our marriage over the last twenty years which, in the end, ended up themselves being the “big moments” after all.
Over the next two, three, or—God willing, four or five—decades to come, Alexis and I will most certainly have many more “big moments” to look forward to. In just three short years, our oldest will both turn eighteen and graduate from high school on the same day. There are hopes and dreams discussed in the quiet moments of the last twenty years still waiting to be fulfilled. One day we will purchase our own home with a lemon tree in the backyard and I will pretend I am young again and carry my bride across its threshold. In fifteen years that will come even more quickly than the last twenty have passed, Zoe Gabriele will graduate from DaVinci Science and I will close my classroom door for the very last time. And someday, perhaps even sooner, Alexis and I will be doting, spoiling grandparents and begin yet another chapter in the adventures which began in the Summer of 1992 and with the family we created on July 17, 1993. And, as much as I look forward to all of those “big moments”, I look forward more to the little ones in between and sharing them together with my very best friend and wife of 20 years.
When Steven first approached Stacee about a for reals, official, photoshoot I was so excited and so touched. Mostly because he wanted to revisit all these places that meant so much to us so many years ago. The places that formed the backdrop for 20 years of living this life we’ve had.It was only natural to start at the beginning. The place where we first met. To call Kafeneo a Coffee House doesn’t do it justice. It was a little social microcosm. We spent many afternoons and evenings sipping some of the yummiest coffee and talking to people for hours. It was at Kafeneo, during Open Mic Night, that Steven proposed. The only problem is Kafeneo closed about 17 years ago and now it’s just a few parking spaces at a Macaroni Grill. That didn’t stop us.Next we were off to La Capilla, not just our favorite restaurant ever, with the yummiest salsa you’ve ever had, but a place that’s become almost an extension of our home. It’s one of our favorite places to share a meal with friends, and it’s even the place where, too anxious to wait for lunch to finish and get home to test, we found out we were expecting our first child.Walking the halls of our first apartment building was kind of surreal. Apartment buildings don’t change much in 20 years. A new coat of paint and a pretty patio table…but it’s still the same. It even smells the same.When we were first dating and first married we would spend a lot of time at my Father In Law’s house…often after a dinner invite that started with calls as early as noon wondering why we weren’t there yet, and dinner on the table around 9pm. Steven’s dad has been gone 15 years, but the house was still so important. The current owner, who bought the house just after Steven’s dad passed, gave us a quick tour of the house and the changes he’s made. The kitchen hasn’t changed at all which was neat and he also told us that the big front tree was dying and the city was removing it so we decided to grab a shot there as well.Finally we made a quick stop at the site of our first date. We had gotten pumpkin shakes and taken one to Steven’s dad that night. We also visited that same 31 Flavors on our wedding day on our way to *our home*.