12 Years and 15 Years

20150820-IMG_0367Quite the weekend at the Bryce household the last few days. TRC turned 12, and today Denisa and I have been married for 15 years. Let’s do TRC first, since that’s chronological and everything. He’d been looking forward to this for quite some time, of course, though we kept asking him what he wanted to do and what he wanted to get, and he waffled all the time, trying to figure out what would be the best choice. It was made more complicated by the fact that we’ve all been sick for the last several weeks. So in the end, we stayed home and didn’t have any huge adventures.

He didn’t mind at all. He played Minecraft for a good long while, played some games with everyone else, had cake and ice cream, and topped it all off by watching The Force Awakens again (which we got on Blu-Ray for the occasion.) He said it was the best day of his vacation. (He was off school last week for spring break.) Really, in hindsight, there’s a lot to be learned from that. Having a great day often isn’t that hard: just spend the day doing the things you love to do, and don’t worry about all the chores you ought to be doing regularly.

I have to keep that in mind for my next birthday . . .

As the oldest child, TRC is constantly breaking new ground for our family. He’s very driven by the desire to do things the right way, and he’s extraordinarily bright. It’s fun watching him get older and more capable of so many things, though of course it’s also hard to let go of the old times. Sunday was an interesting snap shot. In the Mormon church, when kids reach the age of 12, they transition from the classes for children to going to the classes for teens. It was TRC’s last time in Primary (the class for children), and he was just there long enough for them to sing him happy birthday before he left it for good and went to Young Men’s.

In our Primary (Denisa is the President) they let the kids wear funny hats when they’re sung to for their birthday. Some kids decide not to, but TRC was all for it. I watched him happily put on a T-Rex hat and enjoy being goofy there in Primary, and then I took him down the hall to the Young Men, who (for the most part) wouldn’t be caught dead in a T-Rex hat that made them look goofy. (Too worried about their image, I suppose.) It was a sharp contrast to me as a parent, seeing him as a child and as soon-to-be teen, all at the same time.

You want your child to grow up and be everything he can be. You also want him to stay young so you can have him forever. Of course, I know which I’d prefer, logically. I want him to be able to reach his full potential. But I still can’t help missing the little guy who would come with me to my office or sit next to me just to watch me play World of Warcraft.

Anyway. Happy birthday, TRC!

And now, onto anniversaries. I can’t really believe that Denisa and I have been together for 15 years. That sounds like far too long for it to be possible. I’ve posted about our marriage before (typically on anniversaries, of course), and I’m not really sure what else I can add to what I’ve already said. Instead, I’ll just resist the temptation to reread those posts and say a few thoughts for today. Sorry if they’re repetitive.

I was scared stiff of marriage, plain and simple. I was mainly worried that I’d end up needing to get divorced, and it wasn’t something I wanted my kids to have to go through. How in the world would I be able to know that someone I was marrying was someone I’d be a good fit for for such a long time? Denisa was the one person I dated where all those questions just evaporated. Being with her was as natural and normal as being by myself. I didn’t feel the need to be different or special. I could just be me.

I still remember coming home from our first date. It had gone so well (we’d gone on a double date with my sister and a friend to go to the Tanner Gift of Music at the Salt Lake Tabernacle.) We got a flat tire when I was dropping my sister off, and Denisa came out to help me fix it. I stayed up until about 2am that morning, unable to really think about anything else. It was just such a good date. (And I’d been on a fair number that semester, if you’ll recall.)

Somehow, I was already thinking about marrying her. After one date. And things just got smoother and easier from there.

Do we have a perfect marriage? I’m not sure what something like that would look like, honestly. We disagree occasionally, though very rarely, and usually over things that don’t matter all that much. Living with another person and adapting your life to their life is a difficult thing to pull off, and when both people have strong wills and opinions, it’s inevitable that there will be disagreements from time to time. Personally, I think it’s remarkable that I could probably count the number of times we’ve gotten into very big arguments on one hand alone. After 15 years, maybe I’d need a second. I could definitely leave my shoes on.

And even for those rare occasions, our disagreements last all of a few hours or so, and then they’re done.

We still spend a ton of time together. Usually a couple of hours a day at least, with just us, watching a show or talking or reading. We still get along fantastically. She’s my best friend by far, and I can’t think of anyone I’d rather do anything with.

A spouse changes you. Not intentionally (hopefully), but if you live with another person for years and years, change is inevitable. I think you both drift toward the center point between you. For Denisa, that means she now watches way more movies and TV than she would otherwise. For me, it means I actually can tell when a room is dirty, and I have some semblance of an idea of what I should do to clean it.

The day you stop changing and drifting toward the center point, something’s going wrong, I think.

Anyway. This is getting a tad sappier than I’d like it to get, so I suppose I’ll end it here. Happy Anniversary, Denisa! I love you.

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