May I just say?
No, seriously. L to the A to the M to the E. Full on lameolicious.
See, it wasn't really what either of us would have wanted. I always dreamed of running away to Vegas to elope at The Elvis Chapel or someplace thereabouts. Or heading directly to the Justice of the Peace some rainy afternoon in our jeans and t shirts and flip flops...using pipe cleaners for wedding bands. (Tell me, just how romantic am I?)
But the Christian cult of which we were devout members during that time persuaded us there was a right way and a wrong way to tie the matrimonial knot. So, they made us wait until we completed a series of classes (which strangely enough had nothing remotely to do with marriage, by the way, only Serious Spiritual Matters) then after a three year engagement they called us with a date. "Your wedding day is Feb. 20, 1999." Okey dokey artichokey. Like all good blind little cultists stripped of the right to their own opinions, we conceded. Lest we burn in incorrect wedded union conduct flames from here to eternity, we will comply. As you wish.
Then, my dad spent a couple grand on the dinnerless, danceless, cake-only plus a few pastel mints ceremony and reception and wala! I present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Deutsch. (We often joke about the raw deal I got in that arrangement, going from JONES to a name that is often mispronounced along the lines of feminine hygiene ware.) *For those of you who aren't aware, it's Deutsch, as in German, in German. Kind of like DOY-ch. Nothing Massengill-y about it at all. Ahem.
In true, let's do this right by our current less cultish lifestyle fashion, I often suggest to my hunka sugar cube that we should renew our vows. For fun. So we could have a party. The way we would like it, on a day we choose, with cake and dancing, sans any and all cookey cult related standards. To which he says, "I renew my vows every day, baby." Aw, the sweetness!
And still I wonder, wouldn't vows mean so much more after nearly 15 years of marriage? When you actually know what you're in for? Because the thing is, no matter how much you love that sugar booger you're pledging your life to, you can't really tell what the future will hold. There is so much unknown, so little you can accurately anticipate. Life unfolds. For better or for worse, you go on and live it. Together. It's all pretty much a big fat surprise.
Now that we have a bit of an idea what the daily and yearly and hourly looks like together, I believe it would be a gift to each other to write our own vows. Thinking mine over, I'm guessing they might go something like this:
I Tisha, take you, Bobby, to be my lawfully wedded husband. To have and to hold from this day forward, in sickness and in health, through colicky infants and rambunctious toddlers and eye rolling preteens and more children than fit within the confines of a handful.
Through eye opening intercountry adoption and vasectomies and hopeful reversals and the sad, bitter taste of impending infertility. Through fibbing approval over early years burnt dinners and the introduction to tofu and more greens than you ever imagined digesting. Through home projects galore. And then a few more home projects.
Through rising cholesterol and more greens yet, and budding crinkles surrounding the eyes and the slow, but steady departure of collagen and purpley lined road maps arranged with veins. Through disappointment and youthful tempers not yet subdued, through the senseless slamming of doors and difficult, reluctant, true and heart felt apologies. Through sleepless nights and sorrowful, happy, joyful, tender tears. Through making up, again and again, as needed, until always.
Through budgeting and bills that pile high and bank accounts that run low, through planned and unexpected abundance and ever increasing awareness that having enough is a most blessed state. Through the constant visitor, Murphy's Law and puppies and piddle and housebreaking and rabbits and guinea pigs and goldfish and kittens and chickens and possibly a goat on the horizon...
Through sleepless nights and worry and wonder and faith and doubt and political shifting. Through perspectives that spark as they collide. Through boredom and rejuvenation and irritation and overlooking. Through speeding tickets and automotive maintenance and "oops, I ran into the garage door. I though it was open."
Through the intertwined sacrificial gain and loss found in parenthood.
Through countless decisions beckoning to be made, in unison. Through relentless change and the ticking of the clock and never saying never. Through learning that some things aren't as important as they once seemed and that the greatest riches come not in the form of money, but in the form of the love of your people and that to have and to hold is not to contain, but to truly set free.
You are my constant, my truest friend, my lover, my companion, my builder, my encourager, my greatest support. Thank you for accommodating my unique needs in all that they entail, for putting me before yourself, for showing me what abiding love and fierce loyalty and genuine acceptance looks like. For teaching me what it is to be married.
I give to you my all. My love, my heart, my commitment, my self.
For all that it is and all that it was and all that it will be, we are in this together.
And this time, I really, really mean it baby.