Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This Is Dedicated to the One I Love

Happy Valentine's Day!

I've reflected for some time about just what would be an appropriate post for this particular blog on this particular day.  Should I rail against the unjust juxtaposition of deep love and in a time of deep discrimination?  Should I take on the Republican presidential hopefuls who spar with each other but remain united in scapegoating Danielle and me?  Maybe I should, and maybe I will...one day.

Today, I want only to be thankful.

In high school and college, I spent many years dreading Valentine's Day.  Tongue firmly in cheek, I referred to it as "Singles Awareness Day" and marked the holiday with increased chocolate consumption and a prayer in my heart that I would one day have a Beloved to share the day with.  That day finally came and with it, blessings beyond my most audacious hopes and creative imaginings.  Danielle and I have been together for almost 8 years, but I never stop marveling at what a gift she is in my life.  She is my joy and my strength, and I need her more than ever these days.

This past year has been enormously challenging for Danielle and me.  I lost my job last spring due to budget cuts.  This was right around the time we first started trying to get pregnant.  In the middle of our five months of fertility treatments, my grandfather died. We continued to fix up our first home.  I started a new job in August, and it has absolutely drained me of time and energy.   Nevertheless, we managed to plan, finance, and actually show up for our wedding in September. (More posts about that to come.) People often throw around phrases like, "I couldn't have done it without you," and, "You're a lifesaver," but I am here to attest that I would not have survived from last February 14th until now without Danielle's love and patience.  At least not without straightjackets involved.

These days, it is not uncommon for me to be at work from 6:50 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and to bring more paperwork home to do while watching "West Wing" with Danielle.  (Yay, Netflix!)  Danielle and I used to split up a lot of the household chores and responsibilities, but now I come home each night to find that she has already prepared a delicious dinner and started a load of laundry.  She runs most of the errands and does the dishes and daily maintenance needed to keep our family unit running.  Moreover, she has not complained about it but instead has made these sacrifices with patience and a loving heart.

I don't make it easy for her.  I have occasional depression and anxiety about work, which causes me to have difficulty sleeping and leaves me feeling terribly down on Sunday nights.  (I hold onto my precious weekends with such a grip I must have traces of Saturday embedded in my fingernails.)  When I wake up in the middle of the night in tears, Danielle holds me, soothes me, rubs my shoulders, and speaks words of reassurance.  On nights when I toss and turn as fitfully as the struggles in my mind, she reminds me to breathe and recites back to me all the good she sees in me.  She won't let up on showing me the light in myself until I can begin to see it on my own.

She could tell me to suck it up and just get over it, but she never does.

This is grace, pure and simple.

So, you can see how buying her a bouquet of roses for Valentine's Day won't quite cut it.  There's nothing I can give, do, or say, no gesture grand enough to thank her for choosing me.  For sticking by me when I'm a prickly mess.  For loving me "as is".

Hopefully, she'll think a blog shout-out is romantic. (Don't worry, folks.  I've got more surprises up my sleeve.  I'm not THAT cheap!)

Happy Valentine's Day to my road trip companion, best friend, source of my belly laughs, hot mama, mind reader, caretaker, generous heart, genius of cooking a PERFECT fried egg, harmonizing voice, welcome home hug, partner, and wife.  I love you more deeply every day and know we'll make it through whatever else life throws at us because we are us.  And we work.  We fit.  We are SO good together.  I remain deeply in love with you and am filled with optimism about the adventures we'll have between now and next Valentine's Day.


p.s. Take note, Republicans: If Danielle's example is any indication, gay marriage isn't going to destroy traditional marriage.  However, it may damn well raise the bar.

Friday, February 3, 2012

That Thing In September

Kudos to us.  We are only a few posts into our blog, and we are already confusing our readers.  We had to go and give our blog an obscure title.  See, our followers right now are a small group of friends, most of whom know we are trying to get pregnant. A number of people have asked if we are already pregnant and if our due date is in September.  That's a great but ultimately incorrect guess.

"That thing in September" is, in actuality, a quote from one of our mothers.  The story behind it begins in 2007, when we got engaged.  Both sets of our parents knew about our relationship, but we were still nervous to share the news of our engagement with them.  When we did, we were told, "We'll talk about it after Christmas."  Several Christmases went by, and, not surprisingly, wedding discussions never occurred.  We dragged our heels in planning a ceremony because we did not know if our parents would be emotionally ready to attend, to be truly present participants.  In addition, our grandparents are very conservative, so we were unsure of whether or not to invite them to our wedding.  It was a lot to navigate, and we wanted our big day to be a happy one, not a time for walking on eggshells.

Fast forward to 2011.  After a 3 1/2- year long engagement, we finally decided that we needed to face our fears of event planning and all of the requisite coordinating it involves.  Besides, we were trying to start a family, and it seemed like a good time in our life and relationship to affirm our commitment to one another and publicly declare that we were in it for the long haul.  Good reasons and all, it was still difficult going to our parents to say: "We have picked wedding date and venue.  We hope you'll come."  We were so nervous about this, in fact, that we ended up bringing up the subject of the wedding while eating out at a crowded restaurant.  This was total strategy on our part.  After all, very few people will make a big, emotional scene in a restaurant.  We were betting that our parents would not be outliers.

Our strategy worked, and our parents seemed receptive to the idea of a ceremony.  Still, they didn't say much about it, so it was hard to read them.  We hoped they were happy about it.  We hoped they would come.

A few weeks later, one of our mothers called us to ask, "Hey, what's the date again for that thing in September?"  That's when we knew our parents were in and on board.

And, that's when our wedding officially got its name.

"That thing in September" was a beautiful and joyous day of love and affirmation between the two of us and our astoundingly supportive family and community.

"That thing in September" was the culmination of years of growth and discovery as individuals and as a couple.

"That thing in September" was a foundation to build the rest of our lives upon.

"That thing in September" changed and is changing our lives.

We invite you along for the journey.