Fourteen years ago this Earth Day, Richard Nixon died.
And I became Mrs. McQ. It was a small wedding, held in Mr. McQ's parents backyard. I wore a crinkly silk dress that fit in a little tiny bag, and he was so handsome in his seafoam blue suit with jewel colored tie. A small but crucial clutch of friends and family gathered to witness as we pledged that we'd do our best to wake up every day together, and still be married by day's end. We wrote our own vows, and hired someone at the courthouse to come and seal the deal. She was very sweet and sort of large and wore a really purple dress and she cried through most of the ceremony. I thought I'd be the one to blubber through the whole thing, but I was amazingly calm, centered and present. For once. I say this, because Mr. McQ himself will tell you I'm a sap. I cry fairly easily, and I ALWAYS cry at weddings. Luckily, it's something he finds endearing. During Mr. McQ's vows, noisy bi-planes flew overhead, causing everyone to miss his sacred promises (which involved the phrase "whole enchilada"), but I heard them.
After the ceremony, we all walked two blocks to the beach, where everyone bravely crossed the rocky train tracks (including all the women in their heels), as we reenacted the Mr.'s proposal on the log on the bluffs. We'd handed out disposable cameras in lieu of a photographer, because our budget wouldn't allow it, and everyone snapped away. Then we came back and we danced to "Naive Melody" by The Talking Heads. There was cake, miraculously, even though the baker forgot about our wedding. After a frantic call that I didn't know about, he delivered it after the ceremony. As a cost-cutting measure, the Mister's lovely Aunt Fran had agreed to decorate our very basic white cake with fresh flowers, but since it was so late, she just plopped in my sister's bouquet as a topper. Honestly, it looked gorgeous and I never would have been the wiser if, when cutting the cake, we hadn't noticed that it was frozen. There was an inadvertently hilarious toast by my sweet daddy, rest his ever-lovin' soul, and delicious catered food, and more dancing and laughing and hugging.
For the next couple days, we took folks to the airport, and the day after that, we got on the road ourselves for our honeymoon up the California Coast, back to Seattle, and the rest of our lives.
In the intervening years, we've had the normal ups and downs: we've seen a therapist, had a baby, changed careers (for the time being), moved (five times), mourned lost friends and family, celebrated milestones, gained weight (both of us), lost weight (him), gained weight (me), and cleaned up a metric ton of cat poop. And there is no one, not one other person on earth, that I would rather have the depth of that history with.
Fourteen years have gone by like we're caught in some crazy movie, forever on fast forward. I want to just hit the pause button for a few minutes and savor it, but since that isn't possible, I'll do my best to celebrate the perfect imperfection of our days: dishes undone, short tempers, exhaustion, longing, laughter and unspoken deeds of affection. Oh, and the hot old people s-e-x.
To my friends in the ether: I hope the following song gives your day a lift. And To My Sweetie, thank you for this life we're building. It's a work in progress, isn't it? Let's keep at it, and see how it all turns out.
"We'll remember how it was, then begin again because days are never long enough"