Wednesday, September 7, 2011

wooden anniversary

The first of September was my fifth wedding anniversary. I definitely hit the lottery with my hunky, funny, cool husband. My husband and I decided to go away without the children for the first time, well, ever. I actually was fine with it, emotionally. I guess that was surprising even for me. The kids did great. I know my mother loved watching the children over night, and I loved reconnecting with my husband. We went to Lambertville, NJ, which is on the Delaware River across from New Hope, PA. There are lots of little antique stores and interior design places there. There is also an awesome flea market, right up the canal path that runs along the river. The canal path is fit for biking, walking, whatever. We took our bikes to get some riding in. The first morning we woke up in Lambertville, we rode to the flea market. It was awesome.

We are really low-key people. We don't buy each other gifts for anniversaries or Valentine's Day. We try to spend time together. But he always sends me flowers on our anniversary and my birthday, because I love getting flowers. The whole thing with the stranger coming to my door, the note to open, the arrangement, the fresh flowers on my table for a week. All of it I love. He did that, because he is wonderful. But when we get gifts for anniversaries, we try to shop together for something for our family. Our feeling about it is that the two of us working together for our marriage is what is to be celebrated.

For the fifth anniversary, the traditional gift is wood. I think our first anniversary, we bought a painting, since it was the gift of paper. My husband and I talked about it and decided to try to find something wood at the flea market and antique shops we poked around this weekend. We bought a few things--an antique side table and lamp (see the picture on the left, sorry about the weird window glare.)

But what I wanted to blog about was my favorite purchase which was an old printer's drawer. You can find them at flea markets and antique shops pretty easily. I had seen them around and always thought it would look cool hanging on a wall as a kind of curio box. I had thought that in passing, but never planned it out. But then, there we were in front of two gorgeous printer's drawers at the flea market. And I said, "What if we hang it above the fireplace?" And Sam nodded and couldn't visualize it and I said "Trust me. This is exactly the look we are going for." And he trusted me. See, printing for me as a writer, and Sam's father owned a print shop, so it is double meaningful for us. I had been trying desperately to find something for above the fire place. I could just absolutely visualize it. We rode back to Lamberville, my husband rode one armed as he held the printer's drawer.

This is the other thing, I love little things, and I have no where to put them. So, I filled the containers with things that represent our family--coins from Panama, Italy and New Zealand. I put the tickets to Sam and my first opera together and another ticket from our first concert together--Sigur Ros. There is the nest I needlefelted, and a perfume jar from Budapest, where Sam's sister lived when we first met. There is an artist's model. There is a pin from the 60s that says "Wages for Housework." Ines' carved wood block for Lucy. There are shells from Carly and some from Sam's father. Snail shells we found in our backyard, a metal medallion from Thailand. A naval pin from my father. There is a lighter from China that has Mao Tse Tung. And a little wooden peg person I painted of Sam, and one of Lucy. There is a pencil from Oregon Lanes, the now closed bowling alley in South Philly. There are religious medals of St. Lucy from Karen in British Columbia. Candles we made. There is a piece of sushi I made out of polymer clay. There are acorns we collected last autumn. And a cameo my grandmother gave me. There is a magnet from Esposito's Meats in South Philly, which was very near Sam and my first apartment. There is a worry doll and a button my sister made, and I just ordered a few terrariums in thimbles to add to it. Each of these things adds up to the story of our family.

This project was so friggin' easy and inexpensive. The drawer itself was only twenty-five dollars, and the little things I have been collecting for years. When we got home, Beezus and I went room to room searching for little meaningful things we loved that might fit in the odd shapes spaces where old printing plates once lived. It is the most personal, wonderful anniversary gift we could have given ourselves. And the best part of it is that it is exactly the look I wanted for above the fireplace. Earthy and funky and totally about our family.


Sara said...

Very cool and a great way to display so many little things that otherwise would get lost/overlooked. I love the idea of picking something out together.

Hope's Mama said...

That's beautiful. I'd love to send you something for it.

Hope's Mama said...

Oh, and I wanted to say, we don't do gifts for birthdays, anniversaries or Valentines Day either. We figure time spent together and/or a nice meal is enough.

Mary Beth said...

It's perfect! It looks great over your fireplace, too. What a fun piece to incorporate to your family adventures, too, for whenever your find something special on an adventure, you can add it.

I love it!

HereWeGoAJen said...

We only do presents for birthdays and Christmas.

That is a lovely gift for all of you. :)