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