September 22nd. Just like any other day, right? Not really. It’s a day that heralds transition. It is the day of the Autumnal Equinox. A day of balance. Equal light and dark. A time when nature begins to show it’s true and beautiful warm colors. When we reap the harvest of all we have sewn. A time to prepare for the challenges of winter as we work our way back to spring and rebirth. We are moving from light to darkness and the harsh cold reality of winter. It is also a day when some say the veil is lifted between our world and that beyond life on earth. A time when we might be able to more easily communicate with our departed loved ones more easily. A time of introspection and reflection on the summer of our life.
It is also the birthday of my other grandmother Virginia, whom we celebrated her 86th birthday with the day we married in 2012. We did not know it at the time, but it would be her last birthday she would celebrate with us as she passed away 8 months after we married. She was so tickled we chose to get married on ‘her’ day! I’m so glad she was so much a part of our day. We miss her and her sass!
September 22nd will forever be a special day for me for all those reasons plus one very important one. It is the day I married my soul mate. The day my children welcomed a step-father whom they adore into our family. The day he made everyone laugh and then cry in a matter of a few minutes during our wedding ceremony. Then, there was his dancing...
Our wedding day was as unique as we are. Carefully designed to be about US and what is important to us and our relationship. It held history. It held memories. It was entertaining. It was unconventional with a dose of the traditional. It was emotionally heart wrenching at times. It was filled with overflowing love like you might never have seen. We DID have some visitors from Heaven! It was FUN! There was cake and it was chocolate!
We wrote our own vows and I think they clearly speak to who we are and why we chose to battle our demons to be together. They are as true today as they were 2 years ago and will be 200 years and lifetimes from now. Here, I share them with you.
Joe’s Vows to Kim
Kimberly, here we are. Not a beginning and certainly not an ending. We both went through much to get to this point. We have loved, learned, suffered, rejoiced, laughed and cried. We have discovered what brings us joy and grappled with our inner demons. We have found more about our greater sense of ‘self’, so much so that we would not have been ready for each other if things hadn’t gone the way they did. We are the sum of our core plus all we have experienced.
I do realize it took a great tragedy as part of those experiences for us to finally find each other. And never doubt, despite how much being ‘us’ means to me, that if I had the power to reach into the sky and peel back the veil of time to save Meghan, I would do it in an instant, even though it might mean we wouldn't be standing here today.
Many speak of ‘knowing’ when they've found their partner. I had fear for years. Fear that I would never have that ‘knowing’. Fear of being oblivious and not acting on it even if it did happen. Fear of not even knowing what I was seeking in a partner. After I met you, I learned to act on love and not fear. It was then it became so clear. I listened to my heart, and it told me everything I needed to know. I now know, with all the certainty I can muster, that you are my partner.
I admire your compassion, your great strength, and your capacity for love. I love your understanding, your comforting touch and your knowing gaze. I am humbled that you see the real me and help me bring that out into the world. You are the other piece of my puzzle. My companion, my confidant, my best friend, my love, the one I would give anything for and for whom I would work tirelessly to bring happiness.
As you already know, two cannot truly become one. Instead, on this day, I will promise you that we will walk this path of life together hand in hand, bonded by love, trust, and respect. We will walk stronger and prouder than we once were but not as strong as we both can and will be. As we walk, when you stumble, I will catch you, just as I know with all my heart you’ll do so for me. I promise I will comfort you during rough times, celebrate with you during good times, and bridge our differences with love, patience, and understanding. Whatever the path of our future holds, I promise that we will face it together. I promise I will always keep myself open and share myself with you. In sharing, we will draw strength, for pain shared is pain halved, just as joy shared is joy doubled.
I am touched and honored that you have invited me into your family, as I know how significant a decision that is. I promise I will do my best to raise your children as if they were my own. I will never forget they are a part of you and I will love, guide, and nurture them to the best of my ability, even the step daughter I will never get to tuck in at night. I look forward to watching your boys become the fine young men they are meant to be and I will swell with pride for all they accomplish.
Know that, above all, I love you. When I ponder the many futures my life could take, none of them are without you. Our connection, our ‘fit’, is what completes me. As I mentioned before, this is neither a beginning or ending. These are the next steps on our shared path forward. We’re not ‘done’. There will always be work to do and struggles to overcome, both individually and as a couple. Nothing is perfect. Times will be hard. Always remember that I will never stop trying to make our journey better with each step as we continue on our path, hand in hand. This, I promise.
Kim’s Vows to Joe
Six years ago, the Universe presented to us an opportunity. We almost missed it yet again, except that day, it was finally the right time. There was this bottomless glass of wine, some bet about a kiss and a strong energetic connection to this guy on the dance floor whose first words to me were, “Do you swing?”
I couldn't figure out why I was so instantly and energetically drawn to you, until I looked into your eyes and recognized your soul.
Over the next several months we cultivated a relationship built on open and honest conversation. It was as if we’d known each other forever. It was so familiar and so right. I could feel it with every ounce of my being. We were meant to be together.
We bring out the best in each other. We challenge each other. We nurture each other. Our connection, our love, it transcends the physical, the emotional and the spiritual. It is pure, honest, and true. It is built upon mutual respect and trust. It is surrounded by light and peppered with laughter. Lots of laughter.
Joe, you have been the greatest gift to me. At a time when my world was nothing but gray, you were like a ray of light. You accepted me as I was. You held me, you laughed with me, you cried with me. You reminded me how important it is to play. You showed me unconditional love and respect. You brought the color back to my life.
I promise you, I will always be there for you. In joy and in sorrow, in sunshine and in rain, but in the cold I’ll need a blankie... I’ll be your partner for life, both on and off the dance floor. I promise to keep your food from touching, to protect you from vegetables and to do my best not to confuse Star Wars and Star Trek.
I will honor and cherish you and be grateful for every day we share. I will love you joyfully, with laughter and playfulness. I will strive to inspire you, grow with you, encourage you, empower you and support you in all that you desire. I will love you wholly, truthfully and honestly. I will nurture you, our relationship and our family with tenderness and care. I will love you passionately with all that I am and all that I have. I will love you always. With my heart, my mind, my body and my soul.
I know you will be a wonderful husband and a fantastic step-father. You will always be my super-hero, even when you are not wearing your superhero jammies and cape. I am forever grateful for all that you are and all that you've given me.
I told you very early on in our relationship, I’d walk this path with you. I know not where it will take us or what terrain lies ahead, but I know it was meant to be with you and we shall always walk it together. Heart in heart and hand in hand.
I promise to you a lifetime of love, light, laughter and friendship. It is an honor to take your hand in marriage and to be your wife. I love you.
For those who shared our day, we are so grateful you were able to be there with us. So many more were with us in spirit. For those who wish they could have seen the uniqueness of the day, I give you these snippets of our unique day.
Our wedding ‘trailer’ as created by our videographer
Joe’s Lightsaber Battle/Processional (or what happens when you marry a geek who has a love of performance art)
Our First Dance. A Viennese Waltz to David Cook’s “Time of My Life”
The lyrics spoke to us, thus, we learned to Viennese Waltz. It took us 9 months to learn the choreography!
Most of all on this day, I am reminded of the fragility of life. How short it can be. How important it is to live each day to the fullest because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. How out of crisis can come something wonderful. And just how good it can get.
Happy Anniversary my love! Happy Birthday Gram! Always thinking of you and Aggie watching over my Meggie in the next place. So grateful to all of you who read this.
May this day of equal light and dark bring balance to your life and joy to your heart.