Life / Sex & relationships

Just Married

Same-sex marriage

PHOTO CREDIT: VIKKI REICH

“How do you plan a wedding that’s not a wedding?”

My friend asked that question as we sat in her car in the parking lot outside Costco. We had gone to get more liquor for our double wedding the following day and I had cried all the way there. I was trying to understand and explain why I had been crying all week and was having a complete breakdown in her car.

My monologue went something like this:

“I am overwhelmed and I need to clean the bathrooms and I still need to iron our clothes for the wedding and I can’t find the list of things we need to take to the venue and I am sad that neither my sister nor Deborah are coming to the wedding but I am also upset that my friend from Seattle is coming because it’s such a long way to come and maybe she shouldn’t go to so much trouble! And I can’t help but wonder if maybe Luisa deserves better than me because I am an underemployed writer and so clearly downwardly mobile and every time I think of exchanging vows with her, I start crying again because she can do better. She should do better! No. That’s not true. I know that’s silly and I really need to stop being silly because I’m annoying everyone including myself and I really need to go grocery shopping but, instead, I just keep going places and buying mascara. I don’t even wear mascara but I have mascara and make up remover but I don’t even have a cucumber for Zeca’s lunch and none of this matters anyway because Luisa and I exchanged vows in 2000 and Zeca can eat carrots. Do you have a kleenex? I don’t have a kleenex and I need to blow my nose. I also need to do laundry and vacuum the upstairs and I need a throat lozenge and why won’t Zeca just eat carrots?!”

After I had completely unraveled, my friend asked her question and, when she did, I sobbed harder and squeaked out, “Yes!” and then my friend burst into tears as well. So, we cried in the parking lot because we were excited about the wedding but felt we shouldn’t be, because we were happy but were happy before, because we wanted our friends and family there but felt that we couldn’t expect it of them, because this was a wedding but we had both had weddings before so this one shouldn’t matter.

But it did matter and we were both struggling to reconcile that fact with the commitments we’d made to our partners long ago. To embrace this wedding somehow felt like denying the validity of the ones we’d had before that had not been legally recognized.

Luisa was in Trinidad and I’d been alone all week and I felt like I’d been holding all these emotions in my hands and like water, they kept slipping through my fingers no matter how tight my grip. Sitting in that parking lot, I opened my hands and let them spill out and I could breathe.

Luisa came back from Trinidad that night and we made our way to the wedding rehearsal and I was ready. Everything that came before meant something and this wedding meant something too.

Wedding

PHOTO CREDIT: VIKKI REICH

On Saturday, we gathered at the Midtown Exchange with friends and family (including my sister and nephew who surprised me) to make legal the commitment we made long ago. The ceremony began with a video a friend made of our children visiting the Orpheum Theater where Luisa and I first met, a coffee shop where we had more than one date and the first apartment we shared. Then, my friend and I sang a duet and I messed up twice before making jokes and starting again. Our officiant talked about our rich history and our children read haiku they had written about love, family and parenting, commitment and community. We exchanged vows and rings and then my son and my friends’ oldest daughter stood together to read a community blessing. Then, we were pronounced married and we kissed…more than once. I cried more than once during the ceremony but they were happy tears as I took notice of all that we have created together.

And, my mascara didn’t run.

Later, more friends joined us and we ate cake and drank and toasted each other and danced late into the night.

The next day, I woke up with Luisa as I have for the past 20 years and I felt no different.

It was a beautiful wedding, a perfect night. It meant everything and nothing at all. I’ve made peace with that.

The Fox Family

PHOTO CREDIT: VIKKI REICH

 

 

 

 

 

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42 Comments

  1. All the continued congratulations and love. (I cried with you, but my mascara didn’t run because Cover Girl, purple tube, awesome.)

  2. Oh Vikki… this is beautiful and perfect and makes perfect sense. And the best part? Your mascara didn’t run! No, seriously, it seems like a perfect day, and one that just further cemented the love that all of you have for each other. Many wishes of happiness to all of you!

    • I started crying as soon as the video started playing (because we had no idea what the kids had done) and immediately started worrying about the mascara. ha

  3. Well thanks then for making me weep at the breakfast table with my dad and also to help me understand things a bit deeper. Love ya. (Which just auto corrected to “Clive ya”)

  4. also cover girl in the purple tube so no smeared mascara only smeared eyeliner! congratulations on everything

  5. Well, there you go, beautifully writing this.

    everything and nothing is the very best. It’s home, I think.

    xoxo

  6. Apropos of nothing in the actual writing here (which is also great, don’t get me wrong), I have to say that both your kids are very cute, but your gender-bendy daughter is just THE BOMB. Love her tie.

  7. All of this is beautiful: your writing, your love, your children, your tears, your spirit. I just love all y’all to pieces.

  8. I am so, so happy for you, Luisa and your gorgeous children.
    Congratulations again!

  9. I’m so glad you wrote this.

    “Everything that came before meant something and this wedding meant something too.”

    That is just beautiful, and something so wonderful to remember about life in general.

  10. So honored to celebrate with you. And that I got to see our mascara in person. xoxoxo

  11. Marking the milestones, with our friends and community as witnesses. So beautiful that your children see this, it really is, Vikki, that they see this love. They are so lucky. xo

    • Zeca said, “It’s very special to see your parents get married. Most kids don’t get to see that.” A really nice was of looking at it.

  12. “Meant everyting and nothing at all.” Yep. Funny what happens when our experiences stand outside of social norms: the emotions attached to them feel downright confusing. Thanks for the honest, raw portrayal of that truth.

  13. What a delicious, unforgettable yo-yo of magic and mascara.

    May the next twenty be as glorious.

  14. “To embrace this wedding somehow felt like denying the validity of the ones we’d had before that had not been legally recognized.”

    That, Vikki, says so much, and for so many of us in this “hinge” generation: old enough to have found and committed to life partners pre-state recognition, and of the mind to avail ourselves of it in some fashion now that it is arriving (inch by inch, state by state).

    You describe so eloquently my own feelings five years ago in the summer of 2008, before the passage of Proposition 8 and after the CA Supreme Court recognized the constitutional roots of equal marriage. (“The Hitchin’ Post” was my attempt to pin it down.) What really mattered to my partner and me (and I still call her my partner after our legal hitching; can’t hear the word “wife” without camp overtones, but then that’s me) was the commitment ceremony that we had held over a decade before, with our friends and family and without, thankyouverymuch, the state. Whom we didn’t invite because it didn’t want to be invited anyway and probably would have been a drunk, obnoxious guest if it had been there.

    And yet: this thing now, it also is something. Figuring out what entails a journey you’ve just helped us to witness.

    This issue and these moments are so shot through with complexity and contradiction, and I thank you for dedicating the time and your prodigious skill to capturing it all.

  15. Okay, but that doesn’t explain why *I* was so emo about your wedding … ridiculously so. It’s like what you and Wise Zeca said … how many families get to have a ceremony celebrating their love and their union at this chapter? (Mineral Fusion and Puffs should underwrite this wedding.)

  16. Damn you! It’s one thing to make me cry when I am sitting at home in my froggy pajamas. But I am on lunch break at WORK! I am training mental health workers in suicide prevention. In a psychiatric hospital. If anybody walks by and sees me, I will be admitted.

    This is so much how I feel about my wedding in May. And it’s even worse because I am Canadian. We could have done this years ago. It is so important to us. And it means nothing. Thank you for putting words to it. Don’t stop writing. Please.

  17. Parabéns pelo seu casamento! And also, mazel tov. Wishing you a union that is like mascara – beautiful and long-lasting, even when there are tears. Love you both so much!!

  18. “Everything that came before meant something and this wedding meant something too.”

    We should all carry that with us. It’s a good life lesson.

  19. Ah, I bet there were some sweet tears of recognition and vindication, of the World finally acknowledging what you and your friends and family knew to be true and real all along. The World saying it was real *now* didn’t make it so, but still nice to hear just the same. Maybe also a tear or two of “Hey, it’s been 20 years and two kids and…you want some more of it? You do? Me too.” Whatever the reasons, crying is good. Here’s a tissue.

  20. Exactly. I have been struggling with the whole getting married thing too–what does a wedding now say about our wedding back then, the one that meant everything but nothing? Thanks for sharing!

  21. Beautiful. You captured so perfectly that tension between the legal and the non-legal, the knowing it matters but feeling that it shouldn’t. I was struck by the beauty of having your children participate in a ceremony and how much meaning they added to this second day of commitment. Congratulations. :)

  22. Pingback: The First Wedding Anniversary | Up Popped A Fox

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