Seven years ago today, at about this time, I was driving to the hairdressers to get my hair done for my wedding. Elizabeth and I stopped at McDonald's before getting there. We walked into the hair salon to be greeted by entire wedding parties getting ready. It was just the two of us, though, in our last few moments together as just Mommy and Elizabeth. Soon it would be Mommy and Elizabeth and Charles.
She went off with her hair stylist and the woman doing my hair got to work. We chatted about how my hair was shorter...thanks to my mother-in-law who gave me a "trim" that took off over an inch of hair. (Needless to say, that was the last time she cut my hair. I started paying for my haircuts after that.) We discussed her mother-in-law, and how to put my veil in, and her adopted son. Elizabeth came out with a huge grin on her face, her hair all ready. The curls in it would end up falling out by the time we got to my aunt's house to get ready.
I arrived at my Aunt JoAnne's. I had spent a couple of nights over there as a child, and I adored her deceased husband, my Uncle Fred. She had this whole spread for us, bless her heart...appetizers and a champagne punch. It would be that punch that would help me to walk down that aisle. As the day went on, I became increasingly convinced that I was not doing the right thing...that Charles deserved someone better; someone easier to deal with; someone without a child. I ended up drinking most of the punch myself, and obviously did walk down the aisle. I never regretted the decision, even when we were at our low spots.
You see, I never really wanted to get married or have children. I never thought that I would find someone to make me want to forsake all others and whatnot. Back then, I did not know about domestic partnerships or open relationships and things like that. Would that have changed things now if I did? I don't know. I did know, though, that trying to imagine a life without Charles in it was worse than having to get married. So I gradually became acquainted with the idea that yes, I could make a marriage work. I did try to convince him to just let us live together for the rest of our lives, but that was a no go. And while I still think that the whole concept of marriage is totally unfair (especially to women, who are expected to take on a new name, and to gays and transgendered folks, who aren't even ALLOWED to get married in most places), I must admit that it has its benefits.
My husband has made me grow in a hundred different ways that I don't even know if he is aware of. With him by my side, I have more confidence. Not because I feel that I am less than without him or "he completes me", but because I KNOW I will have support. Even when I am wrong, he is on my side. I can truly say that unlike most partnerships I know of, we are equals. We both have our strong suits that we bring into this marriage and we make it work. Is it perfect? Hell no. Is it ours? Absolutely. And I can say honestly that I would not change a minute of it. Even all the heartache we have gone through (and we have had more than our fair share, that's fo shure...), even after all my doubts....
Happy Anniversary, Baby. I love you more than I ever thought possible.