8 years ago I got married. Or we got married. Me to Marc, or Marc to me. To each other. Whatever – if we split up we divide our property, call it what you will.

There’s a lot I don’t remember about the day, but I do remember it was fucking hot. I also remember it was my friend Craig’s birthday. Happy birthday Craig, because of facebook I’ll never forget to remember.

Our flowers were late, that was kind of funny. Getting married on a Friday confuses florists. I guess. Everything arrived in time for dinner but not the ceremony. There were a lot of hushed voices as the ladies all tried to figure out how to tell me, the bride, I would be bouquet-less as I walked down the aisle. There wasn’t much to say, and as I sat there, in my over-sized dress on my overstuffed chair I eventually burst into tears. I wasn’t sad, I was letting the air out of the balloon- even if it was everyone else’s balloon.

Someone hurried off to the nearest Loblaws because I absolutely had to have flowers. I think you’re not really married unless your maid-0f-honour has something to hold while you profess your undying love to your almost-spouse. Moments before the big moment, my dear friend Heather arrived clutching two bundles of flowers, one for me and one for my sister. The one intended for me was a small bunch of red roses made more substantial by hideous sprays of baby’s breath. My sister got a lovely clutch of red gerberas, which I wanted and asked for. The vacuum caused by the collective inhalation by the suggestion the  roses, the bud of love, would  go not-to-the-bride, was of black hole proportions. Poor Heather started sputtering “but, but, the girl at the grocery store said the roses were for you. You’re the bride, you must have the roses.” Oh fuck, now even the girl selling dyed chrysanthemums has a say. I took the roses. I hope I smiled.

Getting married non-religiously outside of city hall is not-so-easy in this province, so thank god for Humanists. A delightful woman named Catherine stood there while we did our thing officiated for us, even saying at one time during the ceremony “I’ve never been to a wedding like this before.” It was all traditional enough – white dress, tuxedo, flowers – I think it was the words that were unexpected.

I don’t recall exactly how it went down, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the pre-wedding “vow discussion” happened something like: “Marc we will be writing our own vows.” *Silence.* I’m sure he agreed, or at least acknowledged if he showed up with nothing it might be, um, not ideal. That was basically all we ever said about it. I wrote mine, he wrote his. We didn’t compare length, content, promises, we just wrote, then spoke. We didn’t even decide who would go first, so when Catherine gave us the it’s-time-for-you-to-speak-before-people-leave-with-their-gifts look, we actually had to negotiate who would speak in which order.

Respect, compassion, loyalty, love – all hallmarks of great relationships but hardly promises, at least not for me, got a mention but were hadly the substance of my I-do’s. The big stuff just  is or isn’t, and if it isn’t, then you ain’t, and  if you ain’t, there’s no dum dum da dum, at least not for me.  Which is basically what I told Marc, but with proper grammar and I believe my voice was a little sing-songy to make it seem more poetic.

Weddings are not without some promises though, even if those promises are a tad unconventional. For Marc I vowed to keep the volume low while I watched the Coronation Street omnibus on Sunday mornings so he could sleep in (we shared an itty-bitty, teeny-tiny apartment and sound could only be avoided by minimising it). I also vowed to leave the front section of the newspaper on Saturday mornings when I went to work, since he left it for me the rest of the week. I think there was talk of the ridiculousness of dying for someone when living for them is so much better, and how I didn’t expect him to make me happy but rather to share in my happiness with me. I cried, this time for me, and him, and not for everyone else (and their crazy). It was nice.

A lot of time has passed since that day, and while 8 years isn’t exaclty a lifetime, it’s almost a 1/3 of mine, and a whole lot of life has happened in the intervening years. With two homes, two children, family blendings, job changes, breakfast, lunch, dinner, laundry,  and a thousand other unremarkble things that make life go, I’ve been thinking about what I would say to you now. Today. 

Ah-hem.

We got married when we were young, me especially, and sometimes when you’re doing your best to annoy me the most I wonder if I wasn’t a wee bit wee to make the decision about who would be the last person to see me naked. On purpose. (The kids don’t count). A cold glass of water later and I barely remember the feeling. It’s not that I sometimes want to divorce you, it’s that our relationship waves in and it waves out, but the respect, compassion, loyalty and love never relent, making it easy to find our way home if we ever get lost.

There is so much I didn’t know about you 8 years ago, like how fantastic a father you’d be or how much more I’d love you because of it. I didn’t know you wouldn’t care about my stretch marks or that little shelf of fat I grew on my back just above my waist during my pregnancies. I didn’t know you’d leave private practise, all the money, all the power, for our family. Or how much happier a person really can be when they don’t wear a suit and ride their bike to work.

You rarely complain even though I give you plenty to gripe about, which is cool. Thank you for appreciating my cooking more than anyone else, and for trying to understand when I explain knitting stuff to you. I hope the silence about the mounting yarn stash in the basement is acceptance, not ignorance. I hope equally I haven’t brought to your attention something you were hitherto unaware of.

For all of this and so much more, I promise not to read the new edition of  Toronto Life, before you. I also promise to renew your subscription every Christmas and put it in your stocking with the expectation that every year you will be surprised when you pull it out.

I promise to buy those nasty chocolate chip cookies for you from Harbord Bakery when I indulge in their not-nasty biscotti.

I promise to always buy your socks because it’s such a pain in the ass and you hate doing it.

I’m totally over you leaving your towel on the floor, but I have no doubt something else you do will irk me and take its place. I believe in equilbrium.

I love you more than I could ever I promise, and you take me the way I am. Thanks.

What did Marc say? I completely forget.

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