We didn't really do gifts for our anniversary this year. I thought about buying Will an iPad, but much as he would love one, we really can't afford it and we have enough screens to stare and point at in this house. We talked about buying a new camera body as a gift for each other and for us both; we have a Nikon D70 which is fine and all but it's 7 years old and temperamental and since we take so many photographs and use it every day (and sometimes all day), it might be time to upgrade. But again, we might just have to wait until we've saved a little more in the coffers... maybe we can do it to mark what I think is our real anniversary, the one that marks the day we first said more than a shy hello to each other, the one that marks our 10 years of togetherness later this year.
That said, I didn't want this milestone to go unmarked. Five years of marriage. It sounds important and I do think that anniversaries allow you to reset somewhat, take a step back to consider your life and what makes you happy (and sad, I suppose) and pull yourself out of the day-in-and-outedness that I'm prone to complaining about here, so it's right that they should be celebrated, in whatever little way. We've had some trying times in these past two years in particular, and it's not always been easy, and God knows it's harder for Will than I think it is for me. We've been challenged by our ever evolving relationship as we became parents and questioned what we really want out of this life now that we have two boys to consider first and foremost and yet still want to fulfil aspirations for ourselves and our family. The shift of going from doing what we wanted whenever we wanted to having to put our little boys and responsibilities as parents first has taken its toll at times, and there were moments when it felt that we barely knew each other any more. So it was important to me that we should mark our five years of togetherness as man and wife - it's been the biggest five years of my life so far.
As for a gift, I wanted to give something meaningful but useful, something for us to share and something for us as individuals too... For a while now, whether it's been at breakfast when one cup of coffee just won't cut it, or after dinner, when we've wanted that mug of hot chocolate to never end, or a Sunday afternoon when we've needed more tea than is good for us, every time we put the kettle on, one of us will complain that our mugs just aren't plentiful enough. So, with our affinity for tea, and the ritual that we share every night after dinner, I decided the best thing for us was to order two customised, hand crafted mugs, stamped with the date and location of our wedding, made by this lovely person, who is firing them as I write this. She's been kind enough to send photos of their progress along the way and already, they are beautiful. I have a good idea of what they will look like when they are glazed but I'll save those images for another post. Suffice to say, I can't wait to receive the finished product and drink our inaugural cup of tea in them, whilst sante-ing to the next five, ten, fifteen... fifty years of marriage.
And as for resetting, taking that step back? Well, it's a good view from back here. As these days go by and we continue to discover talents and shortcomings that we didn't know the other had, and we've no idea what tomorrow will bring, I feel secure in the knowledge that I chose the right man to do it all with. It might be retrospective to celebrate the five years just gone, but there is a feeling that the best is yet to come. We're a heck of a way away from any sense of calm, that dream holiday to New York, to owning the cottage in North Cornwall or the winter chalet in the French Alps, but we have each other, our children and our aspirations. And soon, mugs. Big ones too.