We just finished breakfast. The kids were doing their usual picking of their food, distracting each other from eating, while the baby was whining to get out of the high chair. He got up to clear his plate, about to run out for the workday ahead, and made his way around the table to give each of us a goodbye kiss. I saw a post on Facebook about it being my Sister-in-law’s birthday and I had a minor fit about what day of the month it was, and did we forget our anniversary. We have a chuckle about it every year. We usually don’t remember the day or year we were married. This year he was on it, he said it was this Sunday and it’ll be ten years. Really, I asked? Time is speeding up and I cannot fathom what life will be ten years from now. He said, yup, simple math, it was 2006. He also said I should get him some flowers and I quipped that he better get me some, too. And then he suggested we pick some from the garden. It’s moments like these that make me realize how much I am madly in love with him.
This is going to be a love story, so I completely understand if you don’t feel like reading further, but it’s not a mushy fairy tale, it’s a story of two weirdos who found each other and decided to make a go of it.
We started dating in high school. Usually when I tell people that, I hear a nasally, drawn-out Awwwwwww. But, nope, there’s nothing cute about that. High school is awkward and ugly and volatile. If you still have relationships with people from high school that means you can look past a lot of pimples, insecurities, and awkward moments. We met on a marching band trip to Orlando. He played tuba; I was in color guard. He knew my older brother (who by the way, had a nickname of Fart) before he knew me, and I’m still baffled as to why he didn’t run fast in the other direction. Well, I think I know now what our initial attraction was. He craved adventure, I craved stability. And over these 18 years together we’ve grown so close it’s a coin toss who brings more adventure and who brings more stability.
When I think of our anniversary, I think of the day we started dating. Two teenagers at a greasy, local diner, smiling incessantly at each other. When I think of the day we got married, I start to chuckle. And not that blushing bride, happiest day of my life kind of chuckle, I’m chuckling because it was weird, and funny, and it felt like we were gaming the system. A chuckle in a dark sense of sense humor. I’ll explain. We eloped in San Francisco and then spent a few days hiking in Yosemite. We hiked a lot during that time of our lives. Nature was our stability and serenity, and the city was our adventure. We had already been together eight years and neither of us wanted to get married. Like, ever. We were perfectly happy with the way things were. Our feeling was, and still is, that our relationship is just that, ours. It is a commitment to one another, and doesn’t need the blessing of family, the government, or religion. I’m also not a fan of the history of marriage and the idea of brides as personal property, but I won’t delve into that. I am trying to keep it light for the sake of the story. So then why did we get married? At the time, I was working a retail job and he was working for Corporate America. We got married because I needed health insurance. Plain and simple. Nothing romantic about it. He didn’t get down on one knee, although that would have been funny. I can imagine him saying, would you be my co-dependent on my health insurance policy? Hahahaha. I told you we were weird. So since we really didn’t want to have a legally binding document declaring that we were a couple, we decided the only way to go along with the process was to make it our own. We picked San Francisco because they were the leader in marriage equality laws and their Mayor was issuing licenses to same-sex couples back in 2004. Even though we didn’t value government recognition of marriage, it felt appropriate to get married in a city where everyone was equal. I always chuckle about our marriage license because, first of all, there is a spelling error on it, which basically means it’s not legit, and secondly there is a picture of me holding it up with a funny face. No, I will not show it to anyone. We got married at City Hall by a woman who looked exactly like Dr. Ruth. It must have been her. There was another couple before us, they had family members there, were all dressed up, the bride was noticeably pregnant, and it was pretty clearly a shotgun wedding. We were dressed in normal clothing, I had khakis on, no rings exchanged, I don’t even remember a kiss. It was perfectly nonchalant. We were trying very hard not to start laughing and to take the process seriously, mostly for this other couple’s sake. I do very clearly remember a group from Japan who were touring City Hall that morning. We were very prominently in a bunch of their pictures. Yup, there are photographs of us out there, but you’d have to track down this group to see them. Right afterwards, we went to an Indian restaurant for breakfast and then found an awesome bookstore to spend the rest of the day. I have no regrets and I’d do it all over again a million times over.
So, you see, the actual date of our marriage doesn’t register in our minds as being significant. In fact, that day is but a blip on our radar. It is a reflection of us, in that it was quirky and fun, and that we made it our own, albeit not in the traditional sense. When June 12 rolls around every year, I think of an awesome vacation we took together, biking over the Golden Gate bridge, amazingly delicious sourdough bread, the shear beauty of our National Parks (complete with a woman asking if there is a store at the top of the waterfall), Dr. Ruth reading our nuptials, and I think that as crazy as all of this all sounds, I found someone to share this amazing journey with and he’s just as crazy. Cheers to finding someone who is YOUR KIND of crazy.