For Better or for Ordinary

SF 2015

If you're in a place right now where love stories annoy you, you'd better surf on over to Pinterest. And no judgement here.

Cause I've got one. You know. It's him. It's Yancey. And me. And how we met on his 16th birthday, started dating two years later, got married four years after that, and went to San Francisco last month to celebrate 20 years of marriage. 

I didn't bring my good camera and we hardly took any photos since we were too busy just being with one another. I'd forgotten what it's like to be in each other's sights almost every minute. Glorious. To start a conversation, pick up on or forget it later, have a glass of wine with lunch, sleep in, eat dinner as late as we want, reminisce about our first apartment, marvel at the pure dumb luck of our orbits crossing and the 20 years of intentionality it's taken to keep them that way.

And to still miss and love our ordinary lives at home. The come-and-go of kids and dog, washing baseball uniforms, planning far-off home renovations, dinners around our table with grandparents and neighbors, and the total awareness that, someday, it will be otherwise.

As Bruce Kramer said, it's the gratitude and the sadness that come together. It's been a sorrowful week in Whatcom County with accidents, murders, and house fires. And, unlike our more anonymous Seattle lives, I was connected to two of these in some way or another. That suffering is real, and someday there will be zero degree of separation. But this joy is real, too, this flesh-and-blood, unload-the-dishwasher-for-the-millioneth-time kind of joy, where you look up and think, "All is well."

Here's another poem I wrote about love and the ordinary. Happy Anniversary, babe.


The old bathroom has finally been ripped up,
plumbing moved, drywall replaced.
And now you're tiling, slap of mud,
brick and brick, walking back and forth
in an arc between wall and tile saw,
leaving trails of fine dust,
your carpenter pants crusted with grout.

I'm cleaning the kitchen, as I always
seem to be doing, gathering
the half-finished drawings and dirty socks
our children leave
in their wake.

And we are together
in scrape of trowel and in
swipe of sponge,
in vows of dailyness
falling in brilliant, predictable orbit
around the suns of one another.