Monday, October 05, 2009

Serenity now.

Since I was already about 200 hours behind on sleep the night before our wedding, it didn't really surprise me that I didn't sleep for very long that night. I was up until 1:30 making lip balm--that one last non-essential detail that I really didn't want to let go of--and printing the programs, which was excruciatingly slow on my inkjet printer. I mean like over a minute and a half per page slow, and I was trying to print a hundred double-sided pages. But I didn't feel panicked.

I had actually been getting more and more calm as the day approached, in contrast to the questioning of the previous, oh, eight months, not to mention the panic of two weeks before. So when I woke up at 7 on the wedding day, it wasn't because I was freaking out. I was just awake. And it was a beautiful day, which is especially heartwarming to write right now, when the vernal equinox switch has flipped so spectacularly to the shit-rainy position.

Anyway, I set the programs to print on the flip side and took off on my bike to get donuts. That wasn't really part of the wedding day plan, but it suddenly occurred to me that maybe we should have some donuts on the dessert table, especially since the cake donuts from A Baker's Wife are consistently cited as the best in the area. Also, I thought a bike ride would set me up right, and it did. There was a race happening around the lake; the road was blocked off to traffic, and the people milling around were happy and expectant, and I pedaled along the shore and was happy.


Also, a donut may have gotten squished on the way home and I may have had to eat it for breakfast. That wasn't bad either.

Did I mention that we had houseguests for the two weeks around the wedding? First one set of in-laws, then the other, then the first set again. It sounds like fodder for a crap rom-com, right? But this didn't panic me either. Everyone was so nice and helpful--just as, mind you, we expected they'd be--and shopping and cooking for extra people was no problem. Mostly, it was just good to see everybody.

In the middle of all this family togetherness, we had to write our vows. We had actually both been in favor of grabbing some prefabricated Unitarian vows, but then the officiating minister gave us an assignment. It was to go somewhere together and write solo about 1) the things you fell in love with, 2) the things you fight about or that are unresolved, 3) the things you need promised to you, and 4) the things you're promising. In between each solo stint we were supposed to come back together and talk about it. Out of all this, we were to distill 8-12 statements we'd both be comfortable vowing, and the minister estimated 3-4 hours for the whole shebang.

We didn't have 3-4 uninterrupted hours. And, frankly, we found that two writers who have spoken ad vomitum about what we need and what's unresolved didn't really profit from going through the whole exercise. Still, on two separate days, we went to sit by the lake near our house and think and write and talk and, let's be honest, argue. The first day, a bald eagle flew right over our heads while we were sitting there. The second day, it became clear that freewriting wasn't going to help us and in the end, we wrote our vows in about 15 minutes. The Brit supplied the first set, I edited it and emailed it back to him, then he edited one more time and emailed it back to me. So when I think back on that experience, I'm going to remember the lake, the eagle, and the speed and efficiency with which we actually accomplished our vow-writing. Someone who was at the ceremony described them as "comprehensive," which kind of cracked me up.

I'm going to share them with you because they fit right into the non-panic I've been describing in this rather disjointed post. Actually going through the ceremony was emotionally hard core, but one of my oldest friends told me that when we got to the vows, I just got serene. And mind you, my main concern was not that I'd be freaking out, but that I'd be blubbing so hard no one would be able to understand me. But no. I got steady. (I won't presume the same for the Brit, because we all process this stuff differently. But we agree about one thing: vowing to each other was like the most intense thing ever.)

I promise:

To willingly give to you that which I require from you.

To listen to you without defense.

To consider our differences with hearts and minds as wide open as when celebrating our similarities.

To strive for simplicity together, living larger in love with little impact upon the earth.

To live fully in the present moment, neither dwelling on the past nor straining toward the future.

To face with honesty all facets of our day-to-day life in order to build trust for tomorrow.

To work with you to grow in wisdom and widen my perspective.

To be your champion, with ardent loyalty and unshakable support born of my belief in your goodness.

To hone our shared values toward one end: a peaceful, loving, and considered life.

To love and cherish you always.

No official photos yet, but the BFS (Big Fat Soprano) posted this photo on facebook:

And this:
My attendants, who are also my sibs, who are also my backup singers.

Plus, also, in addition to everything else, I turned 35. Booya!


  1. I don't know why, but I am not getting updates on my blog when you update yours anymore. I could have read this days ago, but I did not. Anyhow - sounds like an AWEOSME day and I really love the exercise your minister suggested. I might revive that one for an anniversary or something. Your vows are lovely and I totally understand that feeling you are describing (at least I think I do) of steady, serene importance. I felt like that myself.

    MANY MANY congratulations.

  2. Your vows are beautiful.
    Now I'm a big blubbing mess.
    Thanks! ; )

  3. Your vows are wonderful. I'm getting married in a couple of months and we still have to write our vows. I will be looking back at yours for inspiration when we get to that point.

    Also - congratulations!

  4. Jenn, I started writing this days ago and then sat on it, which explains why it appears that you missed the post. I always forget to change the date when that happens. I'll do it now.

  5. Oof. So great. So, so great.

    "To be your champion." That's one I always neglect, man. Thanks for the reminder, you crazy newlyweds, you.

    P.S. I've been enjoying your friends' and family members' Facebook photos of the weddin'. Damn. Your peeps are like the most attractive group of people I've ever seen assembled in one place.

  6. The vows were my favorite part. Y'all did good.

  7. Your vows are wonderful. Hopeful and realistic at the same time. Love the photos! And the dress! And the happy couple! CJ

  8. "To be your champion, with ardent loyalty and unshakable support born of my belief in your goodness."

    I want to mail this to SSB, along with teddy bear with a knife stabbed through its heart. Y'all have done so good. I am so impressed, so happy for you. Lord, what a beautiful bride!

  9. Melinda, you're not wrong about my friends. In fact, when we came back into the hall after pics/before ceremony and people had started to assemble, the first thing I exclaimed was "look at all my pretty friends!"

    And I'm glad y'all like the champion bit. I don't know how good I am at that either, but vows are supposed to be aspirational. I have a self-righteous streak that prevents me from backing my man sometimes, and I basically promised to work on that.

    Marigoldie: hahahahahaSOB.

  10. I cannot get over the vows. So magnificent. I'm getting all misty over here.

    (HahahahahaSOB too, Marigoldie.)

  11. I gotta say, it was my own dear hub who has always been my biggest fan and my strongest champion and supporter. It is a kick-ass vow and I love how the commitment - and action - has made me feel. I feel really strongly about it - that vow hit home for me. It's a goodie.

    On the not-so good side. I think I only get a "C" on living fully in the present moment. Um, yeah. Working on it.

    Yay for the newlyweds!

  12. how did I miss this post? One I was so eagerly waiting for! You look so so lovely and the whole thing sounds just perfect. (any chance for current mailing details for packages that have been sitting and waiting? If so, please do email me so I can fete you the right way...)

  13. The champion bit got me too. The other stuff we want and promise, but it's hard sometimes. But to be on their side, they on yours, that's a foundation, man. That's the safety, your refuge.

    Felicidades sister. You are a fine, fine bride.