We were at the beach with the kids the other day enjoying quite a beautiful fall afternoon. A crowd was gathering on the beach which I initially thought was just an impromptu family photo shoot for Thanksgiving. Then, the people kept coming. Then I saw a man in a tuxedo. Wedding time on the beach.
Being the thoughtful people that we are, we scurried our children to the opposite end of the area so that the incessant squeak of the teeter totter did not interrupt the ceremony. Other playground go-ers were not so…considerate (that just gives me more material for another post though…because…it really is all about me…). Anyway, my ever-emotional husband decided to wrap his arm around me as we stood simultaneously watching our 5 year old play in the sand and spying on the wedding. Those kinds of events bring out the mush in him (more about my fear of intimacy issues in a later post as well). As the guitar player strummed something we couldn’t quite hear (but I’m pretty sure was an acoustic version of “Call Me Maybe”), the bride approached her groom and the ceremony began. I could faintly make out the vows they were repeating…and it got me to thinking…where are the REAL vows? Like really? To have and to hold? As I stand here looking at you in this gorgeous white dress-something you will NEVER EVER see me in again? In front of all of these people-some of whom we only invited because we didn’t want to offend them? Amongst these fragrant flowers with music quietly strumming in the background? Nope…time for, what I like to call “Keeping It Real-Wedding Style”.
First of all, people should get married in the crappiest clothes they own. Like yesterday, I went to put on a tank top and one strap had basically disintegrated as all of my money goes to clothe my children. Something like that would be worthy. After all, if they don’t love you like that…they don’t love you. And forget all of the people at the wedding. Four of the most important people in your life-and if it happens to be your two dogs and two cats-no shame in that. Nobody needs to stand there and watch you “perform” like you are a circus clown. Unless you want to invite lots of people and charge admission as an “entrepreneurial” endeavour. That’s different.
Secondly, forget the flowers, pew markers, flower girls/ring bearers and any other of that money-wasting foolishness that people feel compelled to buy because they think they are “supposed to”. A couple of lawn chairs, a bottle of Boone’s wine and some Chinese food. Really, what more is there than that anyway?
Thirdly…the vows. I have taken the liberty of re-working some of the more traditional wording into something I think works a bit better in terms of “Keeping It Real”:
“I, Amanda, have decided that I want you, Kolin Henderson, to be my husband. I promise that I will keep my anger in check when I discover your socks in the bedsheets repeatedly and that I will attempt counselling before I go ballistic about the insanity of your family. I will honor your need to watch “Pass Time” every night and the horrific gagging that occurs when you brush your teeth and stick the brush too far”.
“I, Kolin, have unfortunately come to the conclusion that you are the best I’m going to get for right now. I promise to not get angry with your obsession with books (even though I have had to get a third job). I understand that you have some underlying issues with intimacy and will not let my feelings get hurt when you give me a birthday card that is signed “Fondly, Amanda”. I will try not to judge the fact that you have compulsive need to clean the house and organize the cupboards often leaving me searching for hours for a butter knife. You have helped me to see that there is no shame in mental illness as you wear your badge proudly”.
***These are purely fictional vows and none of the above is true in any way. Except the sock part…that is true.
Anyway, what I’m really trying to say here is that amid the pomp and circumstance, there’s some real stuff going on. Like, love and stuff. And maybe I’m weird that I find this strange irony in the fact that marriage is hard-core…just ask anybody who has been married more than 1 month! It’s so hard-core that it’s funny to see people playing these roles in these fancy clothes repeating words that are really not…real. Of course it’s about the love and all of that (intimacy issues…remember?) but there’s some not-so-nice things that happen in life too. Like arguments, illness, money issues, job problems, forgotten property tax bills, your dog’s “lazy bladder”, your Aunt Hilda’s pyromaniac boyfriend…stuff like that. And I think it’s just important to remember the real stuff. Finding someone to share it with who won’t murder you in your sleep is quite miraculous when you think about it…