I found Tom's drawings - from first grade to seventh grade - all lovingly preserved by his Mom. Photographs - from our life together, from our lives before, from our childhoods. children's weddings, our own, our children in every stage of life, grandchildren, the wine country, road trips, bike rides, our mothers and fathers.
The picnic basket, complete with carefully packed wine glasses, placemats, the "save the children plates" that Olivia sent us one year, and even champagne flutes carefully wrapped in linen napkins.
Journals - the constant force in my life. Forty years of journals - packed in boxes, under the stairs. Paging through one I found this:
September 11, 1995 - San Mateo, California - Early Morning
This is the second day of our marriage, it has been a whirlwind of emotion and excitement. Looking at Tom's wedding ring on his hand makes it more real for me than even my own.
I am happy, excited, terrified, anxiety-filled, and exhilerated - all at once, and in rotation.
We looked at our wedding video for the first time last night - "I look fat," she said, "I look old," he said. They looked at one another with love and laughed. On to the future.
How fortunate we were to have found one another. How blessed we were to dance in the kitchen, spoon in bed, rake leaves, hold hands, drink wine looking at the Mississippi River, sleep on the futon on the floor looking at stars, dance at Gallivan's, argue, learn to live together, try to leave behind the hard experiences from our previous lives, feel the wind in our hair buzzing around in the Porsche, plant flowers, mulch the garden, hug everyday, adapt to life's (as we knew it) sudden destruction, have our own secrets, cook and eat amazing food, and always go to bed together with a kiss - challenges be damned.
Tomorrow is Tom's birth date - filled with memories tonight.