Sunday, May 13, 2007

i did

Seven years ago in my back garden with 106 of our dearest friends and family in attendance, my sweetheart and I married after eight years of shacking up. I never wanted to marry, ever. I frequently expressed the belief that the best way to be together would be to live next door to one another, a duplex kind of arrangement where each party would have his or her own space and time spent together would be like a comfortable kind of dating.

Marriage felt to me like a transfer of property: "who gives this woman," all of that. Mike wondered whether, after eight years, it might mess up a good thing. He was married for 17 years before. My longest running relationship was five years and I cheated most of that time. We talked to the preacher of Mt. Zion Baptist Church where our AA home group met just in case we decided to go ahead. We wanted a real preacher and we're both lapsed, but the legendary Rev. G. Calvin McCutcheon stepped up to the plate for his AA kids. We backed off. We discussed. We backed off.

We did it anyway, mainly because a series of losses over a period of three months left his family bereft and all of us were soul sick after a suicide and then a three month death watch in ICU. His mother said "Daddy's dying wish was to see you two married before God." My parents said nothing but I knew, I knew. They're devout and believe in doing things the right way. They would not intrude, but they would be pleased. His mother's whining felt like a burr under my tail and riled up the contrary wild thing who lives within me. I hashed it over and over in my mind, trying to reconcile who I am in my heart and soul with being married and what that might mean. I sent out invitations.

We had said for a long time we were going to get married, even set a date twice. Over the years, I noticed that it takes more to get married than just announcing intentions. Our intentions were true, but our follow up was lacking. We timed the invitations to reach our friends on Monday and Tuesday so we could delight in their shock at meeting Tuesday night. We planned breakfast in the garden for 110.

The date approached and we fell into a kind of inertia. I had 1400 plants I'd grown under lights yet to put out in the garden. We wanted the roses to be in full bloom, the foxgloves to be standing at attention. I dug and planted, Mike queried "what do you think, honey?" I was swept up and rescued by Miss Pam, Michael and Vonchelle. My dear AA friends, one divine lesbian, one fabulous gay man and one angry black woman, came to my rescue and took over everything food-related. The planned breakfast in the garden suddenly turned into a splendid affair.

The date approached. Our friends kept us surrounded, constantly dropping by, calling, almost as if they were afraid we'd change our minds. Saturday, May 13 dawned cool and crisp and beautiful, a rarity for Tulsa, where May brings hot weather.

It was a glorious morning. The roses were perfect, the foxgloves waving in the slight breeze, there were flowers everywhere. And then there were people everywhere and the inimitable Tommy Crook playing jazz from the deck and the preacher arriving with his entourage and my parents standing up with me and Mike with his mother and our dear friend Ralph standing in for Mike's dad.

I was barefoot in a blue dress under pink roses in the arbor guarding entry to the vegetable garden. My honey took my hand and smiled and there were tears and there was applause and music and sunshine and sweet scents and it was absolutely glorious, absolutely.

And so I was married, something I never wanted to do, but married to my soulmate, my sweetheart, the man I will love forever. I mourned the passing of a different view of myself just a little. I took a deep breath and thought this act might finally have made me feel like an adult. Then I exhaled and realized that I was still myself, still me, not swallowed up or consumed or possessed.

It was the most beautiful day, the most beautiful wedding. Seven years ago today, I did. Married. It still blows me away.


Blogger LSL said...

What a beautiful story. I, too, have always thought that a next-door situation would be perfect. I'm glad to have read this - maybe at some point I'll take that leap as well.

May 14, 2007 6:22 AM  
Blogger Red7Eric said...

Happy Anniversary!! What a great story. As much as I yearn to meet Mr. Right someday, I can see myself being a little ambivalent about taking that leap as well ... tho' the good thing about gay weddings is that no one expects all the traditions, so you can take the ones you like and discard the ones that don't suit you to your pleasure.

Glad you didn't feel swallowed up or consumed or possessed. And please pass along Happy Anniversary wishes to Mike, idiocy chips and all!!

May 14, 2007 7:39 AM  
Blogger evilganome said...

Congratulations, Happy Anniversary and many more for the future. I'm all pro gay marriage. I am just violently anti Ganome marriage. I am not sure I could do it, myself. However it sound like you and Mike have a great partnership and it makes me happy to think about you together. Once again, Happy Anniversary.

May 14, 2007 7:48 AM  
Blogger Andrea K said...

Lovely post! My best friend and my husband's brother got married last year on May 13, so it must be a lucky day!

I had similar feelings about getting married and being "swallowed up." The name change was a big issue for me, but it was one compromise I eventually made.

As for gay marriage, I was an attendant in my BGF(best gay friend)'s wedding last fall, and it was as beautiful and touching as any hetero wedding.

Congratulations to both of you on seven years!

May 14, 2007 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Kamrin said...

Congratulations! It sounds like it was a beautiful, love filled wedding! It is great when things come together and work out so well!

May 14, 2007 8:07 AM  
Blogger Helen the Felon said...

Dammit woman. Got me all teared up first thing in the morning.

Happy anniversary, and many more for you and your love.

May 14, 2007 8:44 AM  
Anonymous tater said...

That was a beautiful post, Lynette. The love was just oozing out of every sentence. Congratulations on your anniversary, and may you continue to be blessed each year. Your's sounds like a true marriage of kindred souls. The ceremony was for everyone else, but wound up being something meaningful for you as well. How awesome is that? Sometimes the stars and planets align, and everything goes splendidly, even though your heart and mind felt fear. Change is good.

May 14, 2007 8:46 AM  
Blogger Han said...

Congratulations, Belle!

May 14, 2007 8:46 AM  
Blogger Debra said...

Congratulations, Lynette! I'm having my 7th anniversary this year also, in November. Sounds like this is a Lucky Seven for you!

May 14, 2007 9:43 AM  
Blogger honib1 said...

Congratulations on your anniversary Lynette!!!.. hopefully I will be "DOING" SOON.. our hopeful wedding date is in NOV. not sure for sure yet.. hopefully by this week it will be concrete.. picked out my wedding dress and going to order it this week.. it takes 12 weeks to get here. I can ot believe at my age I am going to actually wear a wedding dress .. hmm should be fun... well again Much Congrats to you and your husband and here is too many many more happy anniversaries!!

May 14, 2007 10:08 AM  
Blogger Beula said...

Congratulations. Married is good. I fought it tooth and nail. Turns out I was an idiot. I hope you two are doing something fun to celebrate. Always celebrate!

May 14, 2007 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Big Fella said...

Happy anniversary, this October 24 will be our 20th (married in 1987, after courting her for 15 years). Best thing ever to happen in my life.

May 14, 2007 1:14 PM  
Blogger David said...

Happy anniversary. Your just a big marshmallow covered in porcupine quills, aren't you?

It sounds like a beautiful day. Don't tell anyone, but I've dared to hope again that sometime within the next five or so years I will be standing under a prayer shawl, held by four dear friends, next to a very special man.

May 14, 2007 2:27 PM  
Blogger Willym said...

Well we all know he made the right choice and from what you've written so did you. Congratulations to you both.

Laurent and I have been together for 29 years and ... oh what the hell I was going to let people know anyway ... we are planning on getting married when he comes back in July before we go to Rome. Nothing big - I won't be wearing white and neither will he and I haven't registered a Birks (our Tiffany) - just our 3 best friends and a justice of the peace. More a legal and financial thing but what the hell about time we made Reesie legitimate.

Hope you two have a wonderful anniversary. Love and happiness to you both.

May 14, 2007 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Travis said...

Congratulations to the both of you, and Happy Anniversary!!! :)


May 14, 2007 4:38 PM  
Blogger Cindy174 said...

Happy anniversary! And thanks for tellimg the story. It sounds just perfect.

May 14, 2007 4:40 PM  
Blogger rodger said...

What a beautiful memory Lynette. A splendid day for a splendid couple.

Congratulations on seven wonderful years of marriage and the eight loving years that led up to it!

May you share many, many more.

May 14, 2007 4:56 PM  
Blogger Melody said...

Happy Anniversary! Much like you two, Mick and I were married seven years ago last week after 7 years of "hangin' out". There was something good in the air seven years ago.

May 14, 2007 9:37 PM  
Blogger Tank Montreal said...

I'm picturing something Gatsby-esque. Tell me I'm not far off. In any case, felicitations *big smile"

May 14, 2007 10:56 PM  
Anonymous lynette said...

such fine good wishes, thank you, all of you. i hope that all of you here who are hoping for your own pretty weddings have as fine a day as we did. it really was wonderful. good wishes to all of us!

Willym ~ 29 years???!!!???!!! wow! that's just impressive :)

May 15, 2007 7:34 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

Happy Anniversary! What a wonderful story and the wedding sounds so beautiful. I adore foxgloves and a happy ending.

May 15, 2007 8:17 AM  
Blogger Willym said...

So how did you and you best fella celebrate?

May 15, 2007 3:02 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

What a beautiful story. Sometimes when life is full of only tragedy and loss, we have to fight back with love. I'm so happy for you both. Happy anniversary!

May 16, 2007 1:58 PM  
Anonymous Joe / Kusala said...

This is truly a sweet story. Thank you, as always.

Now, can you just find me a man, dammit?

May 16, 2007 8:13 PM  
Blogger angelfish24 said...

Happy Anniversary, Belle! Thanks for sharing your wonderful story of your wedding.

May 18, 2007 1:30 AM  

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