Back in January I recorded the following observation about wedding vows - the two sentences that I will never forget. These were my thoughts:
"This has brought me to tears as my husband and I (3 years married, 11 years of friendship) are nearing the end of some serious financial and emotional hardship involving his suspension from work and my pregnancy with our second son (7 weeks old) as our toddler has just turned 2 years old. On the Feast of the Holy Family we went to mass at a local hospital because we knew it would only take 30 minutes (the best option is the fast option after a rough night with both of our children). Ryan had to leave the short mass almost immediately because our toddler started having a screaming tantrum, and I was standing alone rocking the newborn without any view of the sanctuary from behind a column in the hospital chapel. It was not pleasant, and it was not what I expected of mass 'as a family.'
Before the homily, the priest called all the married couples to come up to the altar to renew their wedding vows. I stood behind the column alone with my bobble-headed newborn as the short narrow aisle to the tiny chapel filled with married couples of all ages. I was a little peeved that we would not be able to participate in this sentimental exercise. I don't have many bible verses or poems memorized, I could count them on my fingers, but my vows are burned in my mind. I remember before our wedding that my dad told us not to have the priest recite for us to repeat, but rather to just remember them. He recited the vows that he has known and lived for the past 29 years to prove how simple and possible it is to remember such an important statement, and he is neither a nerd nor a romantic! (he's a golfer)
As the priest asked everyone to repeat after him, I recalled my vows silently behind that column, and it was a beautiful reminder of our commitment and of nostalgia for our wedding day.
Shortly after the vow renewal a young boy (about 8 years old) came over and offered me his seat, which was a beautiful reminder that my family will get there. The boys will grow up, and we will be able to go to mass together again without raising hell or hunting down the quickest mass in town. There are still chivalrous men raising chivalrous boys in this world that seems to totally reject the values of respect and charity - women should ALWAYS take a seat offered by a boy to give the feedback that he is doing the right and manly thing and that women notice and appreciate the respect of men. Even though I'm sometimes standing alone bouncing a squirmy baby, my other half is with me in spirit wrestling a disgruntled toddler."
The vows are in no way deceptive. The vows are clear that there will be ups and downs. There will be ease and there will be struggle. There will be surf'n'turf and there will be rice'n'beans. The choice is one that will last a lifetime of sunshine and storms. The bond of marriage is for the blissful and care-free honeymoon and for the sleep-deprivation of early parenthood, the date-nights and the bill payments, the giggles and the sobs.
I, Renee, take you, Ryan, to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health; I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.
Cheers, to the days that end with kazoo fanfares and raining petals!