“If I’d known then, what I know now…” How many times in our lifetime might we say something like that? I think I could count on one hand the times in my life when I’ve had the opportunity for a “do-over.” Let’s see… there are those extra rolls the guys let me have at D&D, the first credit card I got approved for after two years of major debt damage control, and…oh! Finally finding marital bliss with The One Who Got Away! How could I forget THAT?!
(never, not ever.)
Recently, he and I have been talking about what we would have done differently at our wedding. It was a lovely wedding, of course, with plenty of lace and roses and ruffles just as I imagined, with the prettiest cupcakes and the poofiest and most beautiful dress I have ever worn in my entire life. But there are definitely things I would have done differently. Served alcohol, for example. Nobody ate but everyone wanted to know where the bar was. Taken pictures first, and done a first look. I don’t know – eloped. (That was my idea, and bless his heart, he said he wouldn’t do that to my mother.) Worried less about flowers and more about bridesmaids. Or lack thereof. Made him wear the damn tails, and given in to the cane. There were a lot of things I wish I had done differently at our wedding, but the biggest do-over I wish I had was the opportunity to have epic vows.
So last year, I re-wrote my vows.
“Wedding vows are promises we make when we embark on the journey. We’re wide-eyed and full of wonder, so excited to get started on the first steps to forever. We’re almost a year into ours now, and I was thinking about how I would have written my vows if I knew then all the things I know now.
I could spend the rest of my life promising things to you. I could promise you that I’ll love you forever, that I’ll always be there to hold your hand and let you lay your head on my shoulder. You’d have to lean down low to do it, but it will be there if you ever need it. I could promise you that I’ll always make sure you know how much you are loved (and by no one more than me) and I could promise you that I’ll always kiss you good morning, and good night. I could promise you that I’ll be there when the world ends, if it does in our lifetime, and that I’d throw myself in front of the zombies to give you a head start. I could even promise not to bite you once I am inevitably made a zombie because, let’s face it, running is not my forte. I could promise you that I’ll keep the house clean and our children presentable, but let’s not get too hasty here – a home is to be lived in and kids will be kids. I could promise you that I’ll pick out the tomatoes for you, even though I won’t promise not to use them, period…because I like tomatoes and you’re cool with that. I could promise you that I’ll keep my toes painted that sexy shade of red you like, and that I’ll never cut my hair into bangs because you think they’re tacky. I could promise you that you’ll never have to go through a day of work without being able to look down at your phone and scroll through your messages to find at least five times when I told you I loved you. I could promise you that you’ll always be my first love, my only muse, the sunshine of my life and the brightest star in my night sky, and I could promise you that I’ll always be your little spoon. And when you want me to be, I’ll be the big spoon. I can promise you that when I talk you into making questionable decisions like getting tattoos, I’ll be there to hold your hand and I won’t even make fun of you for crying… I mean, for getting something in both of your eyes at the same time. I could promise you that I’ll always be your player 2, even when I get us both killed for not knowing the difference between the A button and the B button. I could promise you that I won’t hog the blanket, but I can’t promise I won’t hog the pillows. I’m a girl who likes luxury, okay? I could promise you that I’d follow you to the ends of the Earth, even though we’ll never go to the ends of the Earth because you have a really comfortable chair that sits in our living room and you’re perfectly content to sit in it. I could promise you that I’ll sit with you, no matter how bored I look, because whenever I’m with you, my soul is always fascinated. I could promise you that I’ll hold your hair when you drink too much or eat that pizza I told you you shouldn’t have eaten, because you held my hair while I carried our baby. I could promise you that I’ll always wear this ring you put on my finger because it’s hands down the most beautiful thing in the material sense that I have ever possessed. I could promise you that I’ll always let you hold the remote control because everything about you rouses my curiosity and I strive to understand everything you seek to know, and also because I’m usually the one in the driver’s seat therefore I control the radio in the car. Even when I don’t, I could promise you that I’ll try to be interested in whatever NPR is talking about, and I’ll try to have intelligent conversations with you about it instead of just running off at the mouth. I could promise you that I’ll laugh at all your jokes, even when I don’t have the slightest clue as to why I’m laughing. I’ll laugh because it makes you smile. I could promise you that I’ll always think of you when I’m at the grocery store and bring you home something sweet even if you’ve got a candy bar in one hand and a cupcake in the other. I’ll do it because I want you to know I was thinking of you. I could promise you that I’ll always pick your laundry up off the floor and fold it once it’s finished drying, and not just because I hate laundry on the floor. I could promise you that I’ll never take you shoe shopping, but I’ll always trail behind you as you foam at the mouth over the newest gadgets at the electronics counter. I could even promise to wipe the drool from your face as I reluctantly drag you away from it. I could promise you that I’ll always gush over the flowers you bring me, and not just because you hardly ever bring me flowers. I could promise not to give you crap for never bringing me flowers, because I understand it’s not a guy thing and you bring me so much more than flowers – you bring me pure, unadulterated joy with every single moment you spend in my life. I could promise to be your biggest fan and clap the loudest. I could promise to support you in every dream you choose to follow, because I know that following your dreams is the only way to find them – that’s how I held onto you so long. I could promise to put extra cheese on everything that requires cheese (and everything requires cheese) and to go light on the sauce, and always warn you when it’s hot. I could promise you that I’ll sit through every three hour movie you just have to see, and I’ll even promise to see it at midnight even when we both have to work in the morning, because I understand that if you don’t see it before everyone else does, it’s just not worth seeing. I could promise to always let you have greens. I could promise to always make sure you’re covered in sunblock before I drag you to the beach, and rub you down with aloe after because we both know sunblock is a joke against your vampiric skin. I could promise not to sing along to all the cheesy songs that make me think of you, because I’m terribly off-key, but I can’t promise not to mouth the words. I could promise to always try to reach the top shelf before I ask you to get up and grab that for me. I could promise not to grab your cute ass while we’re in public, even though I can’t promise not to look, and not to want to grab it. I could promise not to flush the toilet while you’re in the shower, and to wait to turn the washer on until after you’ve gotten out. I could promise that I’ll always rub your back when it’s sore, even though I’ll always drag my nails across it to mark where I’ve been. But you kinda bring that on yourself, dear. I could promise to tell you when you look smashing, and even when you need to trim your beard. I could promise you that I’ll let you wear your dapper suit whenever you want, even when I know you’re going to be overdressed. I could promise to tell you when you’re going to be overdressed, and I could promise to dress up just so you don’t look silly for being the only one in a tie. I could promise to wear high heels around the house because I know how much you like them. I could promise to keep my hair soft and shiny because you like to run your fingers through it. I could promise to make you potato omelet every weekend for breakfast, and never tell you how much butter I really used because it might give you a heart attack just knowing how much. I could promise to dedicate my first book to you, if I ever get the damn thing finished. I could promise that I’ll stay as much in love with you as I am today, as I was when I finally became your wife, as I was when you first kissed me in that band equipment closet, as I was when I first saw your face, all shy and beautiful and poetic and stuff. I could promise you these things… but a boy once told me he was “a man who thought actions spoke louder than words” and as a girl who strives to be that cool, I won’t just promise these things. I’ll make sure to show you each and every day in this marriage, for the rest of our lives, that promises are words, but the action happens when those promises are kept.”
For Valentine’s Day, we didn’t have an average day. For starters, our day was a day of remembrance, sadness, letting go and saying goodbye. Our cousin passed away under some incredibly struggling circumstances, and we attended his funeral to kick off our evening on Memory Lane. It was not the ideal way to spend the day, but it definitely gave me a reminder that love is often lost too soon, and to be grateful for those we still have with us to love. Upon reflection, I can now recall many more times in my life when I have been given a second chance.
We spent our Valentine’s night in an abandoned parking lot, talking and laughing. Remember what it was like to be sixteen again, remembering each landmark, the ones between our bones and the ones on street corners, too. It was sweet – the flipside to the afternoon we spent nine years before when I decided to stop dragging my heart around and stood up, and he decided to stop dragging his feet, and walked away.
So this time, instead of breaking and burying my heart, he filled it to bursting.
I don’t mean to be a braggart. I’m not just waving my hand around gloating about this beautiful wedding band he’s put on my finger to right a wrong he feels he committed against me then, and I just can’t seem to find the words to say, “I appreciate how much you put into getting to that level of understanding me.”
Not that understanding me means that when you hurt my feelings, you buy me jewelry. Although, if the shoe fits… I mean,
I carry things in the pockets of my heart and though I sometimes (thankfully) lose track of these things, these bad memories, nightmares, hurt feelings and grudges I hold, they’re still in there. They’re heavy. I carry them and they weigh me down – and no matter how heavy I ever feel, he keeps me from hitting the ground. He carries these things without being asked, even when he doesn’t understand, which I think is more often than he wants me to believe. But that’s probably my own fault, honestly.
I saw this wonderful quote on Pinterest the other day, by Johnny Cash. He’s a favorite of my FGL.
That is exactly how I feel. —————————->
-xoxo : )