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June 19, 2011

Our work in progress

I do have a feeling that happiness is as much about being content with what you’ve got as ensuring that what you’ve got is of extraordinary quality, workmanship, durability– even if it’s not all that much to look at it. Or at least that’s how it’s worked out for us over the last six years, since our beautiful wedding beside the sea and later that night when we danced to Flowers in the Window (which was always about possibility, and it still is, and the song’s still true).

For me, another key to our happiness has been this: we spent April and May ready to spend the summer living on absolutely nothing, and so we instituted severe austerity measures, squirreled our money away, and made the best of things. And then things worked out better than we hoped, and now our usual meagre income feels like extraordinary wealth– we can buy books, and ice cream cones, and I can get my hair cut. This kind of relative thinking does wonders for the perspective. The year we moved back to Canada, I was in grad. school, Stuart was in immigration limbo, and we budgeted for $50 a week for groceries from No Frills, and after that year, I promise you, I have never, ever complained about money (or lack of it). Because from these experiences, we learned what enough is, and we’ve been able to tailor our lives accordingly. Mostly because I would hate to think of a life in which books and ice cream were no longer extravagances.

Yesterday, we had the most wonderful day. We had lunch at Dessert Trends, which was amazing because Harriet decided to behave like an adorable toddler instead of a feral creature (or rather she behaved as a creature who eats her lunch instead of one who spits it all over the floor). It was also a good day because I bought the game Bananagrams, a toy accordion, and Olive Kitteridge at a yard sale for $5. After nap time, we walked off our decadent desserts with a walk in the heat to Dufferin Grove Park, which wasn’t hot at all, and Harriet played in the fountains for over an hour, and we sat on a park bench and watched her go. Harriet, the child who wakes up in the morning screaming, “More fun!” and goes to bed at night screaming, “More Day!”, and who intermittently screeches, “More water!” in more contexts than you’d ever imagine possible– it was her ideal way to spend an afternoon, and for once she got tired of an activity before having to be dragged away from it screaming, and we managed to talk her out of the swings by bribing her with ice cream. Which we picked up in Little Italy at the street festival, admidst throngs of happy people (only some of whom were drenched in cologne), and then we walked the rest of the way home in the sunshine, Harriet shoeless and sticky, and all of us happy with the way we’d spent our afternoon. Evening involved Mad Men (we’re rewatching Season 1. I still understand why I doubted the show’s goodness then, but I was wrong, wrong, wrong to ever do so). Sunny Saturdays in June are pretty much all a person requires in this life…

I do look forward to June 18 every year, mostly because it’s an excuse to post pictures from my wedding, which was the most wonderful day and everything I ever dreamed of it being (and thank you once again to whoever was responsible for that gorgeous sunshine). It was just 6 years ago, but we’ve come a long way since then, learning so much and changing our minds about a lot of things, but everything really important I believed in then, I still believe in now (except that James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” was a good song. I do not know what I was thinking). That there is love without compromise (to one’s self, I mean, not between one another), that marriage is a project that you mutually envisage and build up together, and that it’s forever a work-in-progress is wherein lies the beauty and possibility.

8 thoughts on “Our work in progress”

  1. Julia says:

    Lovely post! awesome photos! Happy happy anniversary! (and yes, durability and extraordinary workmanship are, indeed, essential qualities!!)

  2. Rebecca says:

    (1) Happy anniversary (though I see you’ve already accomplished that!)
    (2) You guys are an excellent advertisement for marriage.
    (3) I want to play Bananagrams with you.

  3. Nathalie says:

    Happy anniversary! What I love about your definition of austerity is that it includes donations to literary magazines. You rock.

  4. Heidi says:

    I love this post. And the example of a couple learning and changing together and allowing it all to be a work in progress. And your hat – I also love your hat.

  5. JK says:

    Kerry, thank you for continually restoring my faith in marriage and in motherhood. You have something to strive for, and have written about it with such humour and grace. Kudos to you and Stuart.

  6. Alex says:

    I also love your hat. And you guys are awesome.

  7. Rona Maynard says:

    I’ve never met Harriet but I love her spirit. Happy anniversary to you both. (I’ll be curious to know what you make of Olive Kitteridge and will say no more.)

  8. Drea says:

    I love love love this post.
    I also love the photo of you and Stuart laughing hysterically. *bliss
    I have just been introduced to Bananagrams out here and could see myself getting hooked! =)

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