The Anniversary of a Choice

I would think that, as a perfectionist and adherent to all things predictable and knowable, as a rigid calendar keeper and maintainer, I’d be great at remembering birthdays and anniversaries. This is one of those cases where I’m actually dead wrong (these have increased as I age, not surprisingly). Even with birthdays and anniversaries entered into the calendar on my phone with reminders attached, I’m pretty abysmal at following through on delivering the messages traditionally associated with those dates.

There are two birthdays that I’ve made a big deal about remembering the last few years for obvious reasons: my son’s and my husband’s. The first is easy because once they get a taste for what’s involved, no small child is going to let you forget their birthday. EVER. The second has finally cemented itself in my mind (after six years), so I can begin planning appropriately a few weeks out and preserve my reputation as a Prepared Person/Thoughtful Mate.

But anniversaries? Particularly wedding anniversaries? Not so much. It took me almost six years to remember reliably during my first marriage because we’d had to change the date from the one I wanted (March 22) due to venue availability (March 23), and for whatever reason I just couldn’t shake the memory of that first date.

The date for my second marriage (September 18) is also failing to stick thus far because the anniversary of our First Date is September 11, and two ones is easier to remember than a one and an eight. I guess. Maybe it just takes me six years to remember anything. Anyway, given today’s date, you can probably guess where this is going.

I forgot my wedding anniversary today. To be fair, Brendan did too. It took Facebook shoving a Happy Anniversary message in my face the minute I logged in this morning to remind me that OH RIGHT – three years ago I made some very big promises. So, in typical digital nerd fashion, I took a picture of the screen and sent it to B so we could have a good laugh at our expense. Haha forgetful humans forget stuff. DERP

And so now, sitting here, thinking about that day and the promises I made, it occurs to me that I want to commemorate those promises by sharing them with you. I want to look at them again and remind myself of why I married Brendan; why I chose to have a child with him; why I continue choosing to come home to him every day; why I choose to share my deepest self and fears with him.

Our wedding vows included three primary sections: our vows regarding Choice, our vows to Possibility and Family, and our vows to Each Other.

CHOICE
Christina: I choose to marry you…

Brendan: Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person with all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body.

C: Because I desire one whom I can trust with the intimacies of Me:
– Who won’t hold them against me.
– Who loves me when I’m unlikeable.
– Who sees the small child in me.
– Who seeks the divine in me.

B: Because our being together presents us with opportunities to grow in love, respect, and compassion.

C: There is enormous power in our choosing marriage…

B: Because it is through conscious choice that we manifest the full potential of this practice; each day is another opportunity for commitment.

C: Because it is through commitment that we can redefine and integrate painful responses, learning to trust more deeply and knowing that we will be seen.

B: Because inside its loving boundaries we can take full responsibility for our spiritual, mental, and physical wholeness.

C: Because united, we can create our familial and individual realities.

B: Because with this understanding, the possibilities are limitless.

POSSIBILITY AND FAMILY

C:  We called Avery to us before we ever decided to get married; we chose to be a family first. Because of that, we also choose to make promises to him.

B: Avery, you are whole, complete and perfect; we promise to always regard you as such.

C: We promise to respect your body and personal space.

B: We promise to teach you understanding in lieu of obedience.

C: We promise to watch over your well-being with grace and gentleness.

B: We promise to listen when you speak or cry, to not assume we know what’s real for you.

C: We promise to be authentic in front of you, to show you by example what it is to honor your own experience.

B: We promise that when it seems we know nothing, we will believe in our ability to accomplish anything.

EACH OTHER

You cannot possess me for I belong to myself.
But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give.

You cannot command me, for I am a free person.
But I will serve you in those ways you require, and the honeycomb will taste sweeter coming from my hand.

I pledge to you that yours will be the name I cry aloud in the night, and the eyes into which I smile in the morning.

I pledge to you the first bite of my meat and the first drink from my cup.

I pledge to you my living and my dying, each equally in your care.

I will be a shield for your back and you for mine.

I will not slander you, nor you me.

I will honor you above all others, and when we quarrel we shall do so in private and tell no strangers our grievances.

This is my wedding vow to you. This is the marriage of equals.


Reading these vows for the first time in three years, I realize how many we have continued to uphold. How—even as we’ve fought, screamed, blamed, and come to some of our absolute lowest points—the truth and sincerity of our vows has continued to influence our lives. They have continued to guide and shape who we’ve become. We are a work in progress; as individuals, as partners, as parents, as energetic beings seeking to love and be free.

I love Brendan because he’s committed to doing that work and he’s chosen to do it with me. He’s chosen to devote his energy and attention to our family. And I have never once regretted choosing him.

I love you, DaddyWrangler

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