Tag Archives: anniversary

Two years ago today

Two years ago today Mike and I put on fancy clothes and stood up in front of many people that we love and made a whole bunch of very serious promises about, essentially, loving one another. It was a wonderful, glorious, happy-filled, day that still makes me smile when I think of it.

To be honest though, it wasn’t all bubbles and champagne that day. I threw my back out the morning of the wedding, forgot to put together a reception run-sheet for our long-suffering MC’s, Emma and Asha, until four hours before the ceremony, and felt more serious and stressed out than giddy and love-struck right before it was time to walk down the aisle.

But there was advil for the back, and thankfully the lace-up style of my wedding dress acted as a very efficient brace that allowed me to forget the pain and move relatively freely once it was on. One of my bridesmaids came and sat down beside me where I was lying at noon, flat on the floor, waiting for pain killers to kick in, and helped me plan out the reception program. And there, at the end of that walk down the aisle, was Mike.

As the ceremony progressed and we got through all the serious stuff I felt myself start to relax, to inhabit the moment, to float, and from the moment we finished out vows and walked back down the aisle together it was bubbles and champagne. There were smiling people we loved everywhere I looked. The day was a sultry sort of gorgeous. The wine plentiful and cold. The Thai food, amazing. The marquee in the lush garden setting of my parent’s backyard, very Arabian nights. The dance floor under the stars, magical.

I’ve been thinking about that day this morning, and about the promises we made to each other, so I thought that I’d share them here. But first, here’s an excerpt from the book I’m working on at the moment where I write about these vows…

… “We wanted to write our own wedding vows, Mike and I, and we also wanted to be in sync with what we would promise each other on the day. So we each put some thought into the vows separately, and then came together with our drafts to blend them into one unified declaration.

I think my favorite section of our vows is what we settled on for the ring exchange: As I give you this ring, I give you my heart as a sanctuary. I give you myself as a faithful companion to celebrate life with. I give you my promise that as I choose you today, so I will choose you tomorrow. This is our covenant.

To get to these four simple sentences we each had to make a compromise that, initially, felt quite painful.

“We can’t say it that way,” Mike said, when he saw my draft. “The second sentence ends with a preposition.”

“What’s a preposition?” I asked.

He looked at me, suspicious. “You,” he said, “are a novelist. How can you possibly not know what a preposition is?”

“Hey,” I said a trifle sharply. “Six countries. Six schools. English grammar got lost somewhere along the way – possibly while I was busy learning Shona in Zimbabwe.”

“You can’t end a sentence with the word with,” Mike said. “It’s just wrong. Another way to say it would be, ‘I give you myself as a faithful companion with whom to celebrate life.’”

“That sounds lame,” I said, displaying a vocabulary every bit as impressive as my grasp of grammar.

“Well at least it’s correct.”

“But it sounds dumb,” I said. “Clumsy. Formal. It doesn’t fit the tone of the rest of our vows. Who cares if it’s correct if it sounds dumb?”

Mike eventually shifted on that issue, and I shifted on this one: when I first drafted this section I put an extra sentence in there, right before: This is our covenant. That sentence was: You will be home to me.

“I don’t like that,” Mike said, when he saw it. “It doesn’t work. I don’t want it in there.”

Although I was initially disappointed there was something in me that sensed he may just be right, so I took it out without making too much of a fuss. But I’ve thought about that a good deal in the last little while, and I do think he was right, after all. For one thing, that phrase is arguably less a promise than it is a statement, or even a demand.

I hadn’t intended that. I had intended for that sentence to evoke all that is most positive in the ideal of home – comfort, continuity, understanding, haven, refuge, rest, encouragement, wholeness – the sum total of all that is most precious and valuable in life. I had intended it as a promise along the lines of, “I will seek these things in you, for you, and with you.”

The problem here lies in the first part of that promise that I was trying to craft – the idea that it’s possible to find all of that in someone else. It’s too much to expect (or even hope for) from any one person. Even your lover. …”

So here are those vows that we worked on together. Two years down the track I would make them to Mike again today without hesitating.

I, Lisa McKay, choose you, Michael Wolfe, as my life partner, the one I commit to love. I pledge to cherish and honor you regardless of circumstances, in the pressures of the present and the uncertainties of the future, loving what I do know of you, trusting what I do not yet know.

I promise to grow in mind and spirit with you, and support you in fulfilling your hopes and dreams. I promise to remain with you, whatever afflictions may befall. I commit to sharing with you life’s joys and sorrows, pleasures and pains from this day forward until death do us part.

As I give you this ring, I give you my heart as a sanctuary. I give you myself as a faithful companion to celebrate life with. I give you my promise that as I choose you today, so I will choose you tomorrow. This is our covenant.



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A three year “anniversary” in Bumrungrad

We are still in Bangkok in Bumrungrad hospital. Mike is still in those sexy green PJ’s with an IV line sticking out of the back of his hand and plastic bags full of Dalacin and Ceftriaxone hanging off a metal stand above his head. Periodically air bubbles get in the line and the machine emits a loud and obnoxious beeping that doesn’t stop until a nurse comes and sorts it out. Yesterday’s last course finished dripping into his veins at 11:20pm, and nurses came in this morning to take his blood pressure at 5:15am – which I think is a ridiculous practice. Why would you wake someone out of a restorative sleep every morning in the five’s just to take their blood pressure when they’re clearly in no imminent danger?

Yes, three days into this and our serene gratitude has started to disappear at odd moments. It’s like my good mood just takes off and wanders downstairs to the Starbucks to get a cup of coffee, then saunters back in some time later and acts all surprised to find that pissiness has taken up residence in its absence.

“What’s your problem?” my sensible and cheerful self asks in these moments, genuinely bewildered. “You’ve really got it very good. Mike’s getting much better, there’s a McDonalds downstairs, they sell Haagen Dazs in the gift shop, and the shower here is awesome.”

“Just shut up,” my pissy self answers. “You’re annoying.”

Sometimes my sensible and cheerful self gives pissiness the middle finger and reclaims the throne. Sometimes my sensible and cheerful self goes and sulks in the corner.

So here’s the update: Mike is getting much better – the infection seems to be disappearing rapidly, though we both had an expectations readjustment yesterday when the smiling doctor suggested we may not get discharged until Monday.

“We trust your judgment,” we told him yesterday. “If that’s what it takes we’ll stay until Monday.”

(Of course, we’ve spent much of the last day speculating as to whether we could possibly get released on Sunday, or maybe even Saturday.)

In the meantime we’re both trying to stay focused and working off our laptops (Mike is typing one-handed as I write this while the other is soaking up all those antibiotics). I’m really enjoying the French fries down in the food court. I had a crème brule latte this morning and wasn’t that impressed. I ventured out of the hospital last night for the first time to find a local spa – where I decided to get the traditional Thai massage because it was significantly cheaper than the Swedish oil massage. I won’t make that mistake again. She twisted my body into positions I hadn’t known I could achieve, and she yanked me into some of these positions while standing on me. It was like being mugged by yoga.

Today is an anniversary of sorts for us – three years ago today Mike emailed me for the third time. It was a lovely long letter that basically inquired as to whether I might like to embark upon a long distance relationship with a virtual stranger. We all know how that story ended. Or, rather, how it started.

So, tonight, if they let Mike off his plastic tubes at some stage, I’m going to take him on a surprise field trip date to the rooftop garden on the sixth floor to mark our “anniversary”. Then we might stop at the nursery and look at the babies. I spied a dozen babies yesterday through a giant glass window – all these impossibly tiny bundles neatly lined up, fast asleep. I stood for a couple of seconds and watched them. It was like visiting a pet store and watching the puppies, only much less entertaining. But, hey, good entertainment is a bit in short supply around here at the moment so wandering past the nursery will just have to do. That and Haagen Dazs ice cream bars.

Thank you all for your messages of support and apologies that I haven’t been able to get back to you all yet. We’ve been really touched by all the blog comments and facebook comments and emails that have flooded in. When you’re clothed in green PJs and far from home it’s really nice to know people are thinking of you. I sure hope you’re all having a good week and that your sensible and cheerful selves are reigning supreme in your own internal kingdom.

Compromise

Mike and Lisa have just arrived at the bed and breakfast in Santa Barbara for their one-year anniversary weekend.

Lisa (flopping onto the bed): “I’m just going to have a 20 minute nap.”

Mike (bounding over and pestering her with kisses): “Later. You’re just going to have a 20 minute nap… later. Let’s sit out on the deck and have wine and talk.”

Lisa (sighing): “OK.”

Mike (relenting slightly): “OK. You can have a 5 minute nap while I move the car. After I come back you have to get up…” (clapping his hands) “Let’s talk! Let’s talk!”

Lisa (sighing): “OK.”

Mike (being obnoxiously cheerful and possibly deliberately inflammatory as he’s on his way out the door): “You’ve gotten so good at compromising! And it’s only taken you a year.”

Lisa: “That wasn’t a compromise. That was me knowing I was going to lose this one either way, so figuring I should just take what I can get.”

Mike: “Honey, that is compromise!”