If you're reading this then the cat's already out of the bag. After knowing each other for six year, dating for three, and living together for one, I popped the question on June 1, 2004 to my number one sweety, Michelle.
When Michelle first moved in, we decided to "take our time" about it and spread the move out over two months. This became one of those things that seemed like a Great Idea at the moment but revealed itself as being a Bad Idea over time. Instead of having two stressful weeks, we ended up having ten stressful weeks. We got a lot done (garage sale, painting the Red Room), but we also (or, at least, "I also") nearly cracked from the stress. Nosce Te Ipsum, know thyself, so we took the lesson learned from that move and decided that a long engagement just wasn't for us. Things just happened that if we didn't do it by September then we'd be waiting until next April. So we called around, and not too surprsingly, 9/11 was the only Saturday available on short notice.
That gives me a couple of anniversaries to remember. February 12, 2001 was the official "born on date" for the relationship, on the shores of Queenstown, Otago, New Zealand. June 1, 2003 was when Michelle first moved in, and of course a year later it became the "proposal" date. And now we'll do our own small part in reclaiming September 11 for something good and beautiful.
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
-- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The deal with gifts: First of all, we don't need anything. Really. Nothing. One of the benefits of waiting until you're 33 before getting married is that you (at least if you're like me) have already bought damn near everything you've ever wanted. When Michelle moved in, we had an embarrassment of riches, and the garage sale was a much needed event to squeeze everything into the tiny House of Tonic.
Y'all's presence really, really, really is enough for us.
Okay, so you still insist on bringing something. Catholic guilt, some oppressive Southern upbringing, whatever. The most touching things we got from Michelle's Iowa shower were the personal notes people included with their gifts. The stories of life and love, sometimes from people we barely know, were thought provoking and heart warming. So a great gift would be a simple, or not so simple, personal note from you. Anything from a Hallmark card to your unfinished master's thesis is fine.
Okay, you're still not convinced. You have some brain pathology that results in compulsive gift giving. Okay, okay. We have in fact registered at
Jennifer has made fun of us (me) because we've registered for no ridiculous farking registry padding junk. It was difficult enough looking around the house and trying to think of things that we wanted, rather than a bunch of dross just to round out the registry. Red and
white wine glasses? China we're never going to use? Doilies? Another vaccuum cleaner? Home Depot stuff (I've still never finished that fence in the back yard)? No. Just a few nice-to-haves that we know we'll use: consolidated sets of towels and dishes, some baking sheets, a few other things.
If you do decide to buy something off the registry and you're worried that it won't get here in time, then giving a receipt, or a note that says "it's on the way," is a-okay. Don't feel pressured that you have to "bring something," because you don't. The last thing we want is for you to grip at the last minute, run out to Brookstone's or the Sharper Image, and buy some whacky piece of shelfware at the last moment. Like
, or, Good Lord,
Good judgment comes from experience, and most of that comes from bad judgment.
Hopefully y'all will be able to benefit from our bad experiences... by not repeating them :) For you out-of-towner's, I've included a list of fun stuff to do in Austin over there on the right. I don't think anyone is staying weeks on end, but I wanted to give you an idea of how great a town this is. It was fun to write it, as it reminded me of why I still live here after fifteen years. As I told my dad once during a fit of angst, "I feel like I should move somewhere other than Austin, but I want to move somewhere exactly like Austin."
We've also got some (not fully complete) lists of people and vendors for the wedding. Notice my hilarious nicknames, etc. for the people. I'm a comedian at heart, and I believe my gobs of natural talent are shining through there. I mean, who would think of combining Andrea's last name with a semi-famous Boston Irish punk band?
Comedic gold, I tell you.
And if you're interested in being mildly mocked and having a good time, we can always make room in the wedding timeline. If you want to give a toast, write it up. If you want to do an interpretive dance, dance it up. If you've got some special CD that you're dying to have us hear, queue it up. Just coordinate it with Michelle and we'll see if we can fit it in.
Benedick: I love nothing in the world so well as you; is not that strange?
Beatrice: As strange as the thing I know not.
-- Much Ado About Nothing, Act IV, Scene iii
Because, in the end, regardless of my joking around, and rants about presents, and blah blah blah, a marriage is about two people, and their decision and their desire, and a pact to each other. At Christina's rehearsal dinner, I gave my speech about how weddings are human's one shot at eternity. Marriage is our chance to spit one in the eye of Time, and Loss, and Death. When you get up there and say "'til death do us part," what you're really saying, "I know this much is true, this much will remain, this much cannot be broken."
If you've known me for awhile, then you know one of my favorite pieces of pop song wisdom is "Every new beginning is some other beginning's end."
A wedding is just that: a big change, a new beginning. A closing of one chapter of a life, and the opening of a new one. And no one knows what that chapter will be, and what will be gained and lost.
Tennyson had it right: much is lost, yet much abides.
When I proposed, I told Michelle, "Who knew that I, born in Georgia, would be here in Texas, in a Japanese restaurant, a block away from the house I own, proposing to a girl from Iowa, with the ring that my grandma wore?" So far, not knowing what's going to happen next has worked out pretty good for me.
I also told Michelle once that I've already picked out the name for my autobiography: "It Gets Good At The End."
Big chances, big changes. Yeah, yeah. I've forked around long enough. Hesitation is for those other suckers. I am ready, I am not afraid. I love you, Michelle. I just want to get married.