Monday, September 20, 2010

from this day forward

Ever since that day- the last day of July- my head has been full of vows. And it never really hit me, though I had typed them out line by line on this same computer just how serious they are. 'Sure,' I had thought while scanning them for offensive misrepresentations of our relationship or our faith, 'these seem appropriate.' Fitting. The same old words I've heard a million times before. Yet the shock I felt upon hearing Dr. Hartley request those words of me on that day- It's worth saying that I never thought I'd really be standing in that place.

Getting engaged in the first place is an exercise in drawing attention to yourself. And no, you really DON'T have to do it, and that's what takes so much practice if you decide marriage is something you want. Many unwed couples have respectable, beautifully interwoven lives together. Furthermore, many wed couples spend less time and hooplah that we did. Yes, we actually want you to spend money on a plane ticket. Yes, we actually want you to buy an outfit, drive for hours, do your make-up, watch us say some ridiculous vows that are- let's face it- mere words, words we could say to each other in our living room and then email you about later. To admit you want to go through with it can actually be somewhat embarrassing, and you walk around in an apologetic posture for weeks before you learn to take yourself seriously. But the bottom line is: we believe in community, and in public vows and it is something we wanted. Marriage, the wedding (you know, within reason), the whole enchilada.

And so I was beginning to get used to the fact that when the photographer barked, "And everyone now move in around the bride," he was actually talking about me. I didn't really do the whole hide-from-the-guests thing and as I've mentioned, Patrick and I had already seen each other, so one of my favorite parts of the day was easily greeting friends who came in while we were taking pictures or while I was rushing around the sanctuary, clutching my massive train in my left hand and talking a mile a minute. I had seen their names on paper, but it was wonderful to see my dear friends file in and the family I had only seen for a minute or two the night before.

Moments before the ceremony I think it hit me for one of the first times what was actually going on- not just the festivity, but he MARRIAGE and when Erin said- here we go, you and Pat are going to get married now, all I could do was whisper loudly, 'Holy Fuck!' which at least won the favor of Pat's best friend Josh.

In the end, it is a beautiful thing to say vows while people are watching. It creates witness for the words you do exchange in your living room. Sure you're nice when you're wearing white, but later, a month later when the money is scant and the lights are left on all night? But we said those vows, those things and everyone knows it, and it would be to dishonor their presence for us to give in so quickly to impatience, bitterness, despair.

So thank god for the vows, for the witness, for the hooplah. It is now not only sweet, but prudent (financially if nothing else) to make some attempt to remember them.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oh, the places

My brain:

1. pasta and sauce to make for the preschoolers today, and Jennifer, Julia and I are determined to make lunch a calm affair. The fragrance of new wood chips in the backyard, an afternoon with little p.

2. Laura and Jeremy's lovely wedding last weekend, and the spectacular reception.

3. Jonathan Safran Foer coming to town hall on the 20th!

4. the half-marathon in Euguene, visits to portland.

5. Kyrianne's baptism- November

6. visiting an old friend tonight- cleaning my house and finally getting everything organized

7. letters from a VERY old, very young friend in distress-- and yet the day-today is overwhelmingly beautiful...

and all of this last week has reminded me how much I want to write and remember the wedding which means something new to me every day- especially this tricky puzzle called actually being married, how it feels like trying to see the world through a kaleidoscope- all those constantly changing and bleeding colors of authority, rightness, fairness, intimacy, determination, and destiny...

Meanwhile, reading Peter Singer and John Irving and running on a hip that's ruined from miles and dancing the night away...