Ethan was being sneaky the weekend we met in person.
When he paid for our parking to walk to the Seattle Art Museum he quietly saved the little ticket reciept in his wallet.
When we went to the Seattle Japanese Gardens, he grabbed a leaf from the tree we picnicked under.
He said he knew the moment he met me that I was who he wanted to marry, and that first night he lay in bed at his brother’s house, begging God that I would like him. He especially wanted to remember that weekend, so he saved these little mementos.
It became our habit to start saving something when we made a nice memory. These tokens would get taped to a piece of paper and we would write down the date, location, and a note about the memory. Then we put them into a plastic bag so we could go through it when we got married.
I loved it but figured over time the practice would fade, yet here we are 5 years later and it never did.
A Baggie A Year
A year to the day that we met, we were married. When we returned home to Ohio from our wedding in Idaho, I got out a new baggie, and labeled the old one, “July 19 2013 – July 19 2014”. During our honeymoon to Niagara Falls we looked all through the memories of our first year knowing each other. It was amazing how many fun or special times there were that we had completely forgotten about in just a year until we pulled some little memento from the bag.
So now, every year on July 19th, I label a new bag for the next year. At our anniversary dinner date we look back and reminisce on what happened in the last twelve months, and then we take a little something from dinner to start the next year’s bag off with.
Our baggies are full of so many different types of mementos: Key cards from hotels we have stayed in, phamplets from shrines or tourist attractions, our Christmas card photos and letters, napkins from restaurants, a little flower, rock, or acorn from park visits or hikes, positive pregnancy tests, wristbands from county fairs or botanical gardens, and programs from weddings and events we’ve attended.
Keeping Things Fresh
There is kind of a stereotype that couples with children have nothing to talk about out on dates but their kids. I’ll admit, sometimes it seems harder to find conversation not centered around our growing little girls, but the anniversary baggie gives us such fun and varied conversation every year. Some memories include things we did with the girls (lets be honest, most memories include them these days), but other times there are lovely memories of dates when we hired a sitter or had family in town who babysat for an evening.
It may sound like a lot to hold on to, but with memories like a leaf or a napkin, these bags are not thick at all, and many, many years would fit into one tote.
Sometimes we get behind on tagging our memories. I’ll be cleaning the desk and will find a random dried dandelion or rock and we always feel sad when we forgot where it had come from. But despite occasional lulls, by the time another July 19 rolls around, there are lots of lovely memories in the bag to enjoy going through.
This year when we head out for our anniversary I want to bring this last year’s bag as well as grabbing the first one from when we were dating. Then next year I’ll bring the second bag and so on, letting us remember some of the older times will be fun as time goes on, I think.
I so look forward to our dinner coming up. I’m going to order a chocolate martini and sit back, looking at all of the beautiful moments from another year with my love.