I’m Getting Married in Eight Days
This wedding has been a long time coming.
Kristie and I met seven years ago, when I was a student at Mount Holyoke College. She: (Wo)manning the register at a hip store downtown, sporting a butch haircut and confidence for miles. Me: Christmas shopping; nervous, having just discovered “The L Word” and my own sexuality.
I got her phone number that night—a miracle since I couldn’t actually speak one word to her as she rang up my purchases (nervous: see above). We met up in January for a night of tea, Snakes on a Plane (don’t judge), and careful attention to the bus schedule back to campus—as in, making sure to miss the last bus home and having to spend the night at her place.
Kristie was at the tail end of a rough break-up, certainly not looking for anything serious. I had recently sworn off women for awhile after my first tryst with a member of the same sex had ended unceremoniously, to my disappointment.
But the next morning, as we were sitting and talking in her kitchen, she made me chocolate chip pancakes. Six years later, as we were sitting and talking in our kitchen, we decided to get married.
Our wedding is in eight days.
Which is not to say it’s been an easy seven years. Like every relationship, we faced trouble and doubt, sadness and time apart. We had met and fallen in love at fairly young ages, respectively, and had to work hard to make sure we were in our relationship because of choice, and not because of the simple (but strong) inertia and comfort of having been together for a long time.
I’m so happy to be in love with her, and am happy for everything we’ve been through (from fears and worries to multiple surgeries, from moving across the state to now planning a wedding—no small task). But that’s the beauty of commitment, isn’t it? Enveloped within it is a promise that the relationship, the hand-holding future, is important to both parties, and they pledge to feed it, take care of it, make it work together.
As our friends and family members start to arrive from around the world, a dress will need to be ironed. Nails will need to be painted; a vest, taken in a little. Ninety bottles of wine and two kegs of beer will be delivered to our venue. Flowers must be arranged. A ceremony, rehearsed. And after a time that I’m sure in retrospect will seem shorter than a breath, two people will be married. I can’t wait for the sweetness of the title and all it brings—“wife,” hers and mine.
Wedding Planning and Witnessing the Good
I enjoy wedding planning quite a bit…so much so that it’s borderline grotesque at times. I worry sometimes about what I’ll do with all my free time after the wedding’s over—bring back Bedazzling? Make sculptures out of garbage? Repaint every room in my house? (Most likely the latter.)
Of course, wedding planning does not exist in a vacuum. There are plenty of moving parts that affect how the celebration is coming together: last-minute bridesmaids’ break-ups; the ever-changing weather forecast; which guests must be seated as far apart as possible; and, of course, my fiancée’s tastes (if it were up to me, our color scheme would be made up entirely of various shades of pink, but neither does a marriage exist in a vacuum, and I must plan strategically for a peaceful future).
Last night I sat hunched over our coffee table, every inch of which was taken up by some sort of wedding craft, while we got caught up on “New Girl.” I was printing our programs, burning CDs for the hotel’s welcome baskets that will greet our out-of-town guests, and hand-stamping welcome notes on said CDs. We bickered back and forth a little about the price of cardstock these days. Kristie and I have done a good job so far, I think, of battling back the details that threaten to take over our lives in the remaining days leading up to the wedding. Will our one-day liquor license be approved? Is each of our guests accounted for in the hotel’s block? What if it rains? What if we run out of alcohol? What if we run out of cupcakes? Will a shellac manicure really last as long as it’s supposed to? (God, I hope so.)
This morning, we both went into work late. We woke up together (a rarity, since I have to be at work so early), had a quiet breakfast, got ready, and drove into town to apply for our marriage license. We parked on Main Street, and while joking about how maybe the fact that we didn’t have enough change for the meter meant we weren’t supposed to be picking up our license that day, a woman seated nearby with a cardboard sign that read “Homeless Mommy” intervened.
“No,” she said, “You’re supposed to get married.” With that, she tried to hand us her change to use for the meter. Touched, we demurred, telling her to keep it and that we probably deserved the ticket.
True to form, we were in City Hall longer than expected, and assumed the car had been ticketed. By the time we made it back to our car, however, we realized that the woman we’d spoken with before had indeed added her change to our meter, saving us from a ticket.
People say the devil’s in the details. That might be true. Sometimes it’s hard to see the moments when the details fall away and people’s human goodness has a chance to take center stage—perhaps it happens when we stop constantly considering details and allow ourselves to be true observers of these flashes of beauty. Cupcakes, programs, color palettes—sure, they’re all moderately important when planning a wedding. But it’s nice to be snapped out of that with a simple gesture of human kindness. What really matters is that we’re marrying each other, that we’ll be able to witness the good together for the rest of our lives. That’s the most important part; the rest can all fall away.
Post-Wedding Return to the New Normal
“You’re mar-ried,” five-year-old Kaulani said to me, sing-songy, with a sassy smile.
“Yes, I am,” I replied.
“I know who you’re married to,” Kaulani said.
“Oh, really? Who am I married to?”
“Her!” Kaulani said, pointing to my wife.
“That’s right!” I said.
“Will you read me this book?” Kaulani asked, handing me 101 Dalmations.
That was it. My friend’s daughter’s tiny quick mind could comprehend in a few sentences that which takes some politicians years to come to (if indeed they arrive at all). I don’t know what I thought she’d say; maybe that it was silly for two girls to be married? But it isn’t, and Kaulani knows this, and accepts as fact that Kristie and I are married. But that doesn’t matter as much as who will read her this book.
We’ve been married for almost eight weeks. The post-wedding recovery has finally taken place; I feel as though, at long last, I have slept enough. Our celebration (view photos and read more here: http://thehomesteady.typepad.com/my-blog/2013/06/the-best-day-ever-our-wedding-photos.html) was absolutely fantastic. It could have not been more perfect, from the dancing to the cupcake truck, from my flower crown to Kristie’s vintage tie clip. Friends and family came from all over the world to celebrate with us, making it an incredibly special 24 hours. I loved that day.
And I’m so glad it’s over.
Our lives are blessedly normal again. We’re planning summer DIY projects, vacations, day trips, and on and on. We have time to get caught up on our Netflix queue, hang with our dog, see our friends. But the best part of being married is that being married does feel different.
We had our first “married” fight two weeks after the wedding. Like most couples’ spats, I can’t remember what even started it. But the argument had a different tenor. It felt like there was less on the line. We’d been in a committed relationship for six years prior to getting married, but there’s something about the ceremony, the pledging of it all, that makes “married” feel like a bigger, unbreakable promise. We argued passionately, knowing that no matter the outcome, our union would continue.
The argument was over quicker than most, and we hugged at the end and said, “I love you,” never having doubted for a second during the fight that that was—and would remain—true.
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