three years

three years

Three years ago this morning, I was wide awake and nervous, giggling with anticipation at marrying Danny that afternoon.

What a three years this has been.

Four years ago, when I was in the first throes of love and admiration for the man who has become my best friend and constant companion, I wrote about him all the time on this site. Some of you complained that it was a little much. (Some people still do.) Looking back at those entries now, I can see it. Everything was in exclamation points! But really, when you’re 39 and finally meet the person who gets your warped humor and wants to kiss you many times a day, it’s hard not to write with exclamation points. (The antidote to that is we were too busy discovering each other for me to write often. I think I only posted 3 or 4 times that entire summer.) Every bite of food I took reminded me of Danny and the love we finally found together.

Now, that love has far more depth of flavor. We’ve survived sleepless nights, the time in the ICU, a book tour, our daughter’s surgery, writing a cookbook together, financial worries, the toddler clutter, moving (twice), new jobs, and waking every morning (too early) not knowing what the day will bring. There have been times these past three years that the only constant in my life is Danny’s voice in my ear, the feel of his hand in mine.

This is what I wrote at the end of the wedding post:

“And in the end, it feels like that is how life will be, with him. A sometimes dizzying spin of images: the smell of great food in the air, people we love gathered around us, the feeling that we might fall. And we will go around and around, again and again, in a circle that feels different each time, but not really. Sometimes, I will want to close my eyes and not take in so much. Sometimes, I will want it all to slow down. Sometimes, I might worry that the song will end.

But through it all, in this whirr of brilliant, beautiful images, in the middle of this twirling circle, will be the feel of his hand in mine.”

Three years later, it still feels like that.

We’re babies at this. Three years? Still newlyweds, really. But these years have been dog years (or at least fox years), so we’re far into our second decade together, or third. That’s what it feels like, in the best way. You know that bowl you love the most, the one you reach for when you eat cereal in the morning, on the couch, your worn socks keeping your feet warm against the cold? That’s what we feel like together. You know that slow-braised piece of meat that has been simmering for hours in the oven, the smell infusing the entire house, and you’re waiting for the moment it’s done so you can close your eyes in the pleasure of taking your first bite? That’s what it feels like these days. You know the recipe you have made a dozen times in the last few months, the flavors that mingle together so well in the mouth that you don’t change a single ingredient, and you know it by heart and don’t have to look it up? That’s what it feels like to be married to Danny right now.

The first throes of love? The gushing, emoting, every day is spring and I’m alive! days? They are a huge rush, the way your head feels if you put too much wasabi on your spicy tuna roll. And there is plenty of sleep deprivation to those days too. (I’m starting to think that real love, like the love I feel for Danny and Lu, means sleep deprivation.) It’s easy to yearn for the fresh, just-in-season days.

But give me these cluttered, jam-smeared, need-hot-coffee days, please. I like these more.

This morning, Lu woke up at 5:30. She had done this for months, and Danny I learned to take turns getting up early with the Awake Child, who wanted to run into the living room! (She’s the one with all the exclamation points right now.) One of us slept in, the other one dragged until the next day. We seemed to have weaned her of this habit in the past month, and were just starting to sleep for longer than 6 hours a night. However, my dear friend Sharon visited us for the past week, and Lu was utterly in love with her. This meant she resisted sleep for hours every night, desperate to stay up and play with Sharon. Our nights were stutter-step again.

So this morning she woke up at 5:30. Danny offered to get up with her, even though he worked all day yesterday. As he was walking away with Lu in his arms, he called out softly, “Shauna, come look.” Out the window, near our herb garden, a large deer with antlers was chewing on a rose bush. I know we should have been annoyed or shooed him away. But in that early morning light, it was clear who belonged in all that greenery. We moved out to the living room, the light starting to rise, and saw there were a male, a female, and a young deer near our kiwi bushes. Just outside the fence, another young one. “That’s our family,” Danny said, and I kissed him. When I stepped onto the cool porch, the male deer saw me, stopped, then moved forward protectively. We looked at each other for a long time. And then he ran to the gate, paused, and jumped six feet in the air and over. The other deer followed.

Lu pointed excitedly. We were all happy to be awake this time.

This is how we started our anniversary. There were hash browns and eggs (Danny flipped six of them in a skillet without a spatula, perfectly) and hot coffee. There was playing in the park with small friends and adults in the same happy-sleepy toddler state as us. Lu and a clutch of small children ran after a week-old puppy who tumbled down the hill. Soon, there will be food at the Mexican restaurant.

My parents were going to come over, give me and Danny the chance to spend some time together, just the two of us. A movie in a movie theater! Dinner out. But they called this morning, their voices harsh with coughing. They were feeling too lousy to make it over today. No babysitters. No dates.

That’s okay. Danny and I don’t need much. We’ll take Lu to the Mexican restaurant with us, then go to the beach. After she’s in bed, whenever that is, Danny and I will stand in the kitchen and do what we love most, besides being with our daughter: chop vegetables and make pie dough, talk and laugh, and turn on the stove. We’ll cook our own dinner, together, late in the evening.

While we’re working on the salads and apricot-thyme galette, I’ll probably stop to kiss him, or hold his hand. After all these years, I still love the feel of his hand in mine.

Happy Anniversary, sweet man.

53 comments on “three years

  1. Sizzle

    What a beautiful post for a beautiful relationship. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

  2. the half sweet life

    Happy anniversary! I just had my first and your words sound so familiar.

  3. Jenn Sutherland

    Happy anniversary! Such beautiful words for a wonderful celebration. I wish I had written as beautifully about our own anniversary this week, but you’ve said it well for all of us married folks. The feel of his hand in mine, the laughter, the tears, the food shared. YES. I want it all, still. And every day together is a gift we’re thankful for!

  4. Sonia

    Congratulations! Beautifully story. Fills me with hope as I enter my second marriage, this time with a young child, that what I’m feeling isn’t that unique. True love does exist!

  5. Gaile

    Wow. Just beautiful! Happy Anniversary Shauna and Danny. Thank you for sharing so much with us over the years.

    now…one request?

    How about a video of how to flip eggs like that! :) Because you know none of us can do that! LOL

  6. WendyGK

    Our 27th anniversary is approaching and I needed to be reminded of those “…cluttered, jam-smeared, need-hot-coffee days. A beautiful post that brings tears to even the old marrieds-with teenagers.
    Thank you.

  7. Untypically Jia

    I can’t believe it’s been three years! I remember reading your blog and being so excited about your upcoming wedding and thrilled to read all about it and see the pictures.

    Wow. Time goes so quickly.

    Congrats and happy anniversary friend.

  8. Kath

    Awww…such sweet happiness you two (3!!) have found!

    Congrats, Mazel Tov & keep holding hands.

    Kath :-)

  9. Raewyn

    Congratulations and best wishes!! (note the double exclamation marks!) May you continue to enjoy each other for a very long time.

  10. Jennywenny

    Aw. You’ve got me gulping at my computer desperately trying not to make an arse of myself and cry. You two are just so beautiful.

    Congratulations and happy anniversary!

  11. Devon

    I never could relate to exclamation points until I found exclamation points for myself. Part of that feeling, I think, comes from the patience of waiting for the right person to come along instead of just any person. I think there should be more exclamation points in everyone’s lives. It is a truly genuine feeling that was reflected in your posts then and still is now. I truly believe that that is the type of feeling that should be celebrated. Happy Anniversary.

  12. Mrs. K

    I love to hear that married folk can still be in love. I hope for 30 plus more years for the two of you. Happy Anniversary.

  13. vanessa

    Beautifully put. To quote a young Sally in the movie Practical Magic, “I can’t WAIT to fall in love.”

  14. kfullerwa

    First time I have posted here! I love to read your “words”. Happy Anniversary from one of the folks who lives where you live!
    Oh yes, and that male deer is a “buck”!

  15. Green Acres in the City

    Beautiful post. Happy Anniversary. Keep holding hands and don’t let anyone deter you from sharing your love of eachother and all that surrounds you. blessings my sweet dear!

  16. Lisa

    I think I am preferring these days more too :)

    I was at a wedding a couple weeks ago and it was so good to be reminded of what it felt like to begin — and then to come home to who we’ve become.

    What a beautiful, beautiful post. Perhaps my favorite.

  17. Almighty Soxz

    I’m so happy for you Shauna! Happy anniversary! I wish you both many happy years to come.


    Ohhhh, you just know love when you see it. Congratulations you two. Life is good when shared with the loves of our life, isn’t it?

  19. Audrita

    Happy anniversary ! What a beautiful story ! Thanks for sharing it with us, and I wish you both love and happiness for your entire life.

  20. ?¸¸.•*¨Skip to Malou¨¨*•.¸¸?¸

    what a sweet post…i love LOVE stories like yours… something that make you cry and smile at the same time…

    we just celebrated our 22nd last month but we’ve been together for 24 years (yep married my college sweetheart when we were in collede haha!) would you believe? and yeah btw, i also wrote it in my last post “he still gives me flowers” hihihi… just wanted to share it with and to tell you that love stories like ours still exist.

    my best wishes… cheers!

  21. Winnie

    You are such a beautiful writer…thank you for sharing your love for Danny with us, and a very happy anniversary to you both!

  22. shornrapunzel

    After I read this post, spurred mostly by the paragraph you cited from three years ago, I had to go and read the entire wedding post. I sobbed. It was so beautiful, and with my own wedding three years old as of July 14th, it touched me deeply in a number of ways. Thank you for sharing yourself in this way!

  23. Larissa

    yes, its exactly like favorite pairs of socks. even when they need to be washed.

    happy anniversary

  24. Swiss

    Freek! You are making me cry or I am making me cry reading this. Happy Anniversary -

    (freek an expression not a name and if it was a name it would be a positive one)

  25. njskog

    Happy anniversary — may you still feel the same way when you reach our milestone — nearly 55 years!

  26. kayenne

    Bless you, girl! You’re convincing me that having a wedding is worth all the fuss, if one can find your joy in marriage.

    all i need now is a family of deers.

    Congratulations and Happy anniversary! Many more happy years to come!

  27. Susan L. Weiss

    Happy Anniversary to you both. I too was so lucky to have found the love of my life at 39. I am smiling and getting tearful as I too measure our relationship in dog years. (I am actually title-ing a book with that in the title.) In the ten years we have been together we have weathered life threatening illnesses, family deaths, gluten intolerance. At yet we thank god on a daily basis we have found each other, make each other laugh sometimes till we cry, and are still in awe of what we have made together. Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts on this web site and sharing your hearts. Taking it one day at time!

  28. kickpleat

    I’m a sucker for love stories and this is a great one! (exclamation point needed). We just had our 5th wedding anniversary and I couldn’t be happier. Happy anniversary. Hip hip hooray!

  29. suzypeg

    What a sweet tribute to your marriage. Congratulations, very inspiring to a “relationship late bloomer”.

  30. Chef Dennis

    congratulations on three years of bliss, may there be many many more!!
    and it can never be too much when you are that happy.…gush and use as many exclamation points as you want to!!!

  31. Jenn

    Happy Anniversary, Shauna and Danny! Please don’t ever stop sharing your “love story” with us. It makes the world a better place.

  32. Charlotte Loring

    Happy Anniversary! & Love the site!!

    I’m starting up a gluten-free twitter on things I cook up to give people ideas on gluten-free snacks & meals.

    Take Care!

  33. tunibell1974

    Happy anniversary!!!

    Question for the gallery…I am preparing a few bags of GF flour mix to take on vacation (so that I can easily make bread when I arrive.) Can I add the xantham gum and baking soda in the same bags as the rest of the dry ingredients?

  34. Molly

    And to think, it’s all just beginning.

    A huge, hearty congrats, you three. You deserve the world, and then some.

  35. sweetpea

    Gosh, it has been quite a ride! Thrilled for both of you and please keep sharing! We love this story.

  36. Miss Welcome

    I love late blooming marriages. Even though 30 felt like a late bloomer for me, I know it wasn’t. But I accompanied many a girlfriend who married at 39, 40 + and it always makes me cry with joy.

  37. The girl behind the blog.

    Congratulations!Your love is beautiful; i hope to, one day, have an amazing love story, such as this to share!


    Happy Anniversary! What a beautiful post. Coming up to my wedding in October, it’s especially heartening to read about the emotional journey of a new marriage. Thank you.