On December 14, I wrote the following in my facebook profile:
I am 23. I am getting married in two weeks, and then I'm getting married again a week and two days after that. The first wedding will be in my Mom's hospital room, and the second wedding will be in my fiancé's church. My fiancé is my favorite person in the world and we are happy, but we will be even happier when he is done with school, both weddings are over and done with, and my Mom is out of the hospital so our lives can be less stressful.
Well, he is done with school (except for choir and his senior piano recital), and we made it through both weddings. My Mom is still in the hospital, which is really hard, but we're all trying to stay hopeful. (You can read about her recovery here.)
The wedding at the hospital didn't end up being in my Mom's hospital room after all, thanks to the efforts of some really wonderful friends. When I felt way over the limit of what I could handle, others stepped in and helped make it a beautiful wedding. In the end, we held the ceremony in a little courtyard in the hospital and then had a small cake-and-punch reception in a hospital conference room. I arranged for flowers and cake, my sister made some yummy cranberry punch, and our friends Melinda and Wendy made the conference room beautiful. Melinda, Randi, and Martha also gave us the gift of music, even though Nathan and I had been expecting we'd have to go without. (The budget was already spent on the wedding we'd been planning in Pennsylvania.) They played beautifully, and it was especially meaningful as Randi was my first teacher back when I began playing violin in 8th grade.
The hospital was completely wonderful about the whole thing. They cleared out a boardroom for me to use to get ready, and someone even went and bought me a full-length mirror at Target. Aunt Susan kept me company and helped prevent me from getting too nervous while I got ready, and a hospital staff member helped me curl my hair. The hospital staff and administration folks were so excited that they invited several news crews and a newspaper to come document the event. I guess it isn't every day that a couple decides to marry in a hospital. You can watch news clips here and here.
Our pastor from the church Nathan and I attend here in Massachusetts flew out to marry us. We had already asked him to perform the ceremony in PA, and as soon as he heard of our plans to get married in California first so my Mom could be there he offered to come. It was wonderful of him and Nathan and I are both glad and honored that we were able to be married by our pastor not once but twice! FavoriteBoy and I like to say that we're "extra stuck together" since we had two weddings.
We invited people very last-minute since we had to wait for a weather forecast before planning the wedding in the outdoor courtyard. In the end the weather co-operated, and so did our friends who accepted the last-minute invitations and came to celebrate with us. Becky, Jenn, Joan, friends from Autometrix, friends from Mom's co-op... it was great to see everyone. My Grandma and Grandpa got to be there, and my sister got to be there, which was wonderful; she wasn't able to attend the PA wedding because she's expecting a baby very soon. And my Dad was there to walk me down the aisle - or rather, through the door and up a short sidewalk in the courtyard. He couldn't come to the PA wedding, either, because he needed to stay with Mom.
Mom did really well through the whole event. She tires easily, and her short-term memory hadn't been good around the time of the wedding; consequently, I was worried that she would fall asleep during the wedding and/or forget about the whole thing right after it happened! But not only was she awake, she was bright and alert and smiling around at everyone. I know she was glad we moved the wedding so she could be there. And she does remember it. Before Nathan and I left after the wedding, I said goodbye to Mom and left my bouquet in a vase in her room so she'd have something to help her remember.
After the wedding, Nathan and I spent several days at the Tenaya Lodge in the Yosemite area. We had a lovely time. The first two days, we slept a lot and watched episodes of Law and Order and Monk. We were both exhausted - having a wedding is no small event, and having two of them is downright stressful. Add to that the emotional strain of my Mom's condition, and I was one very tired girl. The third day of our stay at the Tenaya we decided that we really ought to go see things in the Yosemite Valley, and we were glad we did! It was beautiful. I'll post pictures sometime soon.
We spent our final morning in Yosemite at the Ahwahnee, where we had the 'Grand New Year's Buffet Brunch' or something fancy like that. I'm glad we got to go there; my parents suggested it to us, as they had honeymooned in Yosemite and had breakfast at the Ahwahnee one morning of their stay.
From Yosemite, we went back up to my house in Nevada City to collect my dress and some other things. We took my brothers out to dinner at The 5 Mile House and got to see my Mom and Dad again before boarding our red-eye flight back to the east coast.
The wedding in PA is another story that deserves a post of its own in the near future. For now, suffice it to say that the wedding was a beautiful success. Had my family all been there, it would quite probably have been the most perfect wedding in the history of weddings.
I keep trying to think of what to write to describe newly married life. It's difficult to know what to say. In some ways I feel dumb or cliché to write what I really want to say. I want to say that I love it. It is cozy and comfortable and wonderful. We are blissfully happy.
It's so nice not to say goodbye each evening and send FavoriteBoy back to his campus apartment. It's nice to know he'll be here for dinner almost every evening. It's nice to see his books, CDs, and hymnal collection on the bookshelves alongside my things - our things. It's even nice to pick up the steady stream of things he leaves behind him - dirty socks, dirty dishes, wet towels.
FavoriteBoy is the best husband ever. He's kind and thoughtful, industrious and clever, inventive and creative, intelligent and funny. He takes good care of me and makes it a joy to take good care of him in turn. If I stay up late one night to keep him company while he works on a music project, he kisses me goodbye the next morning as he leaves for work and tells me to keep sleeping. If I make chicken for dinner and the gravy has a burny taste, he says it's the most wonderful thing he's ever eaten. Every evening when he comes home from work he smiles like there's no place he'd rather be than in the shabby little apartment we're both working to make into a home. He's a good husband, and I love being his wife. I like putting away the boxes of things he brought when he moved in here. I like washing his clothes and arranging them in the dresser for him. I like finding places for all his things, and laughing when he says, "That? Oh, that doesn't really go anywhere... I used to keep it on the floor I guess." I like putting away new things we've been given as gifts while FavoriteBoy paints the bathroom walls and talks about building me more shelves in the kitchen cabinets. I like making dinner and hearing FavoriteBoy say grace before we eat. I like making chocolate chip cookies for him in the evening and watching him devour five or six of them in a row.
But all that makes me seem like some naive, starry-eyed newlywed. Readers may be ready to commence puking. The old married folk are thinking, "Oh, just wait six months, a year, two years..." But I don't want to think that we're only happy because we don't know one anothers' faults well enough yet - I just don't believe that.
In a way, being married is strange - because it isn't strange at all. I thought getting married would be this earth-shattering change in my life, but it's actually quite the picture of normalcy. It doesn't feel even the tiniest bit strange.
Are things different? Well, of course they are. Things are so cozy and tender. And of all the wonderful words I would have used to describe our relationship before we were married, I wouldn't have thought of 'tender' - but now it is exactly right. So I guess that must be what it is that is different. Whatever it is, I like it... we both do.
So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've joined the ranks of people who can say fondly, "Getting married was the best decision I ever made." The long and short of it is, hell and high water came in large quantities, and we got married in spite of it all. Both weddings were beautiful, and we're very happy. And I am now, as Melodee so charmingly put it, "Mrs. FavoriteBoy."