I’ve been away.
The wedding was lovely. The drive was looong, made much longer by the fact that we had to drive more or less straight through from Massachusetts to Virginia in order to make it in time to change for the ceremony. The whole ride I kept thinking that we were just one good traffic jam from missing everything, but nothing went wrong, and we made it there, and even got to see a rainbow as we waited for the wedding to start.
D.C. was also great. I hadn’t been since I was in college–a very long time ago. We went to the zoo, and wandered all around the Mall, and made our way through a few areas in the Museum of Natural History. The kids loved traveling on the Metro–yes, we’re that provincial–and it was great to be walking, not driving. Most of all, it was wonderful to stay with good friends–the kind of visit that’s a balm for the soul.
Then we went to Gettysburg. The kids and I have been working on Civil War things this fall, so I felt an obligation to tour a battlefield. That’s really how it felt–an obligation.
The truth is that it was amazing. It felt very much like standing on the fault line running through American history, one that continues right on into the present, and the future. I relate to the land more than I relate to dates, and being able to walk through the fields and up the hills, monuments scattered everywhere, taught me more than anything I ever learned sitting in a classroom. I’m still getting my head around it, and expect I will be for some time to come.
I’ve been married sixteen years this week. We’d been together for four years before we got married, and there hadn’t really been any question in our minds that it would be a permanent sort of thing from the beginning. The wedding was more an opportunity to let everyone else in on the secret.
But, also being kind of into the fun of things, we decided to get engaged first. That piece would only last for three months–I had a very ill grandfather who I really wanted to have present at the wedding–but it felt like the sort of thing we’d only get to do once in our lifetime.
This is how the becoming engaged bit went down for us. On a fine Wednesday night, at roughly 9:30, as we got ready for bed, Jon asked if I wanted my surprise now or at dinner on Friday. (Did I mention Jon has a bit of an impulse control problem when it comes to surprises?) Me being me, I shrugged and said “whenever.” Jon, in underwear and a t-shirt, hurried off to the dresser and pulled out the ring and asked me to marry him. I, perhaps lacking a bit in the girlish excitement department, said “are you kidding?”
Somewhere after that we managed to get everything straightened out.
That’s sort of been how things go for us. A first attempt at a romantic dinner ending with Jon accidentally dumping an entire pot of spaghetti down the drain. A wedding in which we forced one of my brothers to sing a song written for a soprano, and the other to read an poem that was perhaps a bit more of a challenge than we had thought. A ceremony of passing our rings to everyone present so they could bless them that ended with my fairly deaf grandfather shouting “What the h*** am I supposed to do with these?” A sort of endless tumbling chaos that we somehow manage to sort our way through together.
It’s been an adventure so far, Jonathan. I wouldn’t trade a single step of it.