Thursday, August 6, 2009

And So I Sing This Romaunt

Today is Rob's and my official* anniversary. Four years ago there was a tux and a white dress and some vows. That's what I think about on the sixth of August every year: the minutia of the wedding. It's a slightly guilt-ridden process for me. I feel like I should be thinking about how great our wedding was and looking back at the beginning of our marriage with fondness. Instead, I'm pissed. I can't think about Rob's and my wedding without getting angry.

There's this one picture that I think I post every time I mention the wedding. That's because out of the hundreds of pictures the photographer took over the course of the day, it's the only one I like. It's the only picture that makes us look even remotely attractive and happy. Despite my asking specifically for lots of candid photos, the rest of the pictures are posed to the point of looking unnatural.

We keep pictures around to serve as memory cues, so naturally, looking at my wedding photos (and re-experiencing my anger at the photographer) brings back a flood of disappointments and frustrations from that day. The one part of the wedding "script" that I was really attached to got left out accidentally. The food was only okay. The cake was the wrong consistency and the wrong color inside. The DJ mispronounced our last name, even though I wrote it out phonetically for him and gave him a "rhymes with." I was fatter than I'd ever wanted to be in a wedding dress. And I had asked Rob to do two very specific things for me before the wedding--get the car washed, get a haircut--and he didn't do either of them. Yes, four years later, I'm still mad at my husband over fluffy hair and grime on the windshield.

The further we get from August 6, 2005, the less it feels like a day worth celebrating. It's partly my ability to zero in on things that were less than ideal, and it's partly that Rob and I are different as a couple: fewer chins, more gray hairs, fewer surprises, more experiences in common. Or maybe it's that I'm so different now. I don't really feel any connection to that girl who wore the white dress and the veil four years ago. Rob is still the man I married (perhaps even an updated version of the man I married). I know I'm not the woman who married him. Fortunately for me, he doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

As I search around inside my head, looking for something sweet and wonderful to sum up my thoughts about the wedding, make it all better, make it somehow okay that the day kind of sucked for me, I keep coming back to Rob's and my other anniversary. On the fifteenth of June this year, I wrote a little bit about our private, secret civil ceremony.
Four years ago today, Rob and I sneaked away from work early, kidnapped some friends...and got married. I remember the Judge saying this was his favorite part of his job. He explained with a fictional-character kind of wisdom that marriage is like being in a two-person canoe, and it really takes work on both people's parts to keep it afloat. Especially when it's dark and hard to see, or stormy and the water is choppy. It was a perfect day. My only major regret is that we didn't consummate the marriage until two months later, after our "real" wedding in front of our friends and families.

Four years later, things are tougher in a lot of ways, but I like us better. We don't go to bed angry; we stay up and fight until we're fighting on the same side. Us against the fight. There are times when I don't feel like being married any more. There are times when I don't feel like being a parent any more. There are times when I think if I had really known what I was getting myself into, I would have turned left at the fork in the road. But those times do pass, sometimes with work. The trick is to remember what the beautiful days feel like when the sun starts disappearing behind the clouds.
The beautiful days have nothing to do with flower arrangements or slow-dancing in front of your grandmother. You might get dressed up, but you probably don't. The beautiful days are about watching your husband blow dandelion fluff at your toddler while they both laugh. The beautiful days are slow-dancing in your kitchen to the sound of the dishwasher running. They're improvised dinners and staying up late because you'd rather analyze jokes together than sleep.

Weddings big and small are wonderful, but with the truly beautiful days, you're on your own: planning, promising, celebrating. And the real work is remembering. No one gets hired to take pictures.

* "Official" as in "the one we tell people about." Although if I keep blogging about our civil ceremony, that might need to change.



Allison the Meep said...

holy shit - are you one of those people who waited to have sex until you were married? i'm always so shocked that those people still exist.

our wedding sucked too. it was just a small ceremony with only family because i was 5 months pregnant at the time. we just wanted a simple courthouse wedding, but i felt so much pressure from my mom to have it in a church, which i didn't care about at all. i feel like all the stuff we did, even though not elaborate, was because someone else wanted us to do it - not us. and that kind of makes me bitter.

Baby in Broad said...

Yes, Allison, I'm one of those people. Or, rather, Rob and I are two of those people. (Sort of. We did our share of what we like to call "other fun things.")

I just got to a point where I thought, Well, I've gone this long without having sex. Might as well wait until I get married.

Rob said...

Yeah, I pretty much had the same thought process.

Amber, The Unlikely Mama said...

This is the reason I don't want to have a "real wedding". Lukily, my family fully expects us to "elope".

Allison the Meep said...

Please tell me to shut up if I'm getting too nosey and personal - but were your reasons to wait religiously based? I was raised to believe that as a nice Christian girl, you wait until you're married. In high school, in my church youth group, I even signed a "choose to wait" pledge card because I believed in it so much. All my friends who waited did so for religious reasons.

Obviously, since I was 5 months pregnant when I got married, I didn't end up waiting.

I definitely don't want the tone of my question to come across as judgmental or like I'm trying to start a debate about religion, because that's not where I'm coming from. I guess I'm just really curious about what your reasons were, because it seems like such a rarity these days. Again, if this is too personal, just tell me to shut up.

Baby in Broad said...

Allison, my reason for waiting really was, "Well, it hasn't happened yet. Might as well wait." Not religious at all.

To be blunt about it, I was fat for a long time. Not chubby, fat. It's the truth, I own it, whatever. But for me it meant that in junior high and high school, I had a few acquaintances and no real friends--and certainly no boyfriends. It's hard to have sex when the people you want to do it with would rather not look at you.

And when you still haven't done it and you're old, it's like Why not wait until you're married? Maybe because that makes it romantic instead of pathetic? I don't know. Honestly, I didn't put much thought into it.

Allison the Meep said...

YOU were fat? That's amazing. I mean, not amazing that you were fat, but really hard to imagine since you look like a total model in every picture that I've seen of you.

I didn't want to mention earlier that I had abandoned all my brainwashing religious teachings because I didn't want you to feel like I was judging you if those were your reasons. Which, even if they were - I still wouldn't judge you. It just didn't work for me. And that's a totally different subject.