Each year, we do it all over again. We say yes. We choose each other. Three times a year – in March, May and November – we celebrate the choosing.
March 17 was our first date that included darts and drafts and wings and Irish eyes a’smiling.
On a May Saturday, we hiked many long, unending miles and stood by a lake. He asked a question and I said yes.
We said “I Do” on a snowy, November afternoon before God and family and friends and the worst photographer of all time.
Those original days when we said yes were not perfect. They were good. They were sweet. But they were not perfect.
The day we got engaged, there was a closed road which meant that our short walk became a long, long hike. There were mosquitoes and the weird guy who came ashore to pee who took our picture, thus commemorating the moment. There was no video. No photographer. No fancy set-up. There were, however, tears – not about the ring or the idea of spending our lives together, but about those last miles uphill and the mosquitoes. Blood-sucking, joy-draining, welt-inducing swarms of them.
Our wedding day was chaotic. The morning of my wedding, I was stranded at the hair dresser’s. My groom and his groomsmen were late to the church in the days before cell phones and text messages when late meant late… no explanation. We waited while they detoured to the tux shop for their missing buttons. We waited without information. We waited in the unknown.
It wasn’t perfect. None of it. In fact, there were parts of it that would make a fantastic Farrelly brothers movie.
Some of you will read this and think it’s tragic. Some of you will sit smugly thinking that my planning skills were probably at fault – that if only I’d made more lists and ticked more boxes it could have been better.
But with all the imperfections, it could not have been better. Because on those days, we chose. We chose each other. We chose the fantastic along with the grossly imperfect. It wasn’t the stuff of fairy-tale beginnings. Nope.
We are in the middle of choosing over and over again to say yes. We say yes to God and yes to our marriage. We say yes to NOT speaking when speaking would be a terrible idea. And we say yes to speaking when vulnerability needs to win over defensiveness.
We say yes to putting the other first and yes to vacations in the rain because time together is more important than the quality of the photos – a truth we learned from our no-good-very-bad-wedding photographer.
We choose alliance and support and holding hands. We choose a life that includes decades of birthdays and anniversaries that are so not social-media-worthy. We choose enduring the angry fits and the ugly cries. We choose to apologize and ask forgiveness on repeat.
And each year on days in March, May and November, we celebrate the choices we made and the ones we continue to make.