After being actually married for almost five years, thanks to the great state of New York and super-trustworthy (and fun!) grandparents we are now legally married. This means that we have another anniversary, which I can’t help notice is a rearrangement of our actual anniversary. This is (of course) entirely coincidental.
September 13, 2008 09/13/08
August 9, 2013 08/09/13
Creepy or cool?
I can’t tell you that I feel more married or different in any significant way, but I can tell you that I couldn’t be happier that we did it.
First there is the matter of enjoying a romantic getaway with my wife which is just huge. After planning on two nights, thanks to a flight cancellation we spent three nights in a hotel without children. THREE NIGHTS! I think you get what I’m trying to say here. Ah the luxury. When we weren’t applying for the marriage license and actually getting married, we were walking all over the city (at our very own pace), eating delicious food, watching a movie (Blue Jasmine) in the afternoon, taking naps and talking without any interruptions. It’s hard to get away with kids this young, and we did miss them and we did worry, but it was so, so worth it. Little people are tough on a marriage and it felt wonderful (and frankly necessary) to reconnect.
Then there is the fact of the courthouse wedding, which is actually (I had no idea!) quite a fabulous thing. I’m sure the experience varies wildly depending on where you are in the country, but I loved ours. There was a fair amount of waiting, but it was the excited, eager kind of waiting. The best part was being surrounded by so many different kinds of couples with the same goal. There were gay couples and straight couples, young couples and older ones, folks who were dressed to the 9’s and others in shorts and flip-flops. I don’t even know how many languages I heard.
I’d never thought about sharing my wedding day before, but I think it was the sharing that I loved the most. The fact of all us coming from all of our separate places to this one spot where, couple after couple, we would say these most important words. Not together exactly, but certainly in a kind of community. It felt good and deeply right. There was a lot of goodwill and well wishes in the air. I love that.
And then there was our witness. You need to have a witness when you do a courthouse wedding and when you’re getting married in another state this isn’t necessarily easy. Although we know a few people in NYC, it is hardly our neck of the woods. But….my mother-in-law’s (I can say that in a way that is technically true now!) oldest and dearest friend lives in the city and we asked him to join us for the ceremony. Joe is someone I’ve heard about over the years, but we hadn’t met. I knew that Joe was in his 60’s, that he was gay, that he had been diagnosed with HIV almost twenty years ago and that he and his partner had been together almost as long as I had been alive. I knew all of those things, but I didn’t get the enormity of it until it crashed into me while we standing outside the chapel.
The three of us were huddled together outside the doors, quiet after all the catching up (my wife) and getting to know you (me). I looked over at Joe and our eyes just held. It was only a moment, but in that moment I felt the crushing weight of all the history that had brought us here. All the people who have hidden and suffered and died and rioted and gotten sick and been murdered and on and on and on. And how different my own life has been. Standing there I felt dizzy with all the things that have been possible for me that were never possible for Joe. That were never in the realm of possibility. It almost got me, the sad shame of all that loss. Almost, but not quite.
I’m certain there was a sadness in his eyes then, but there was happiness too. Joe was glad for us and for our boys and I’m sure for his own life as well. He smiled and took lots of terribly blurry pictures and clapped with an enthusiasm that made it easy to forget that there were only four people in the room. After the kiss he hugged us both and later that night he and his partner toasted us with Proseco and lots of good conversation.
It was perfect is what I’m trying to tell you. I can’t imagine a better wedding.