Ya know? Everyone says your wedding will go by in a big giant blur, and everyone tells you that you should slow down and enjoy every second. While I don’t think I did a good job at the slowing down part (and maybe didn’t do so great with NOT PANICKING either, haha.) I think we both really did do a good job of enjoying it… But a giant (fast moving) blur is just sort of how these events go when you’ve literally spent a year in planning mode… At the end of the day, I am left with an absolute TON of wonderful memories & stories, but the one that sticks out in my mind the most is seeing Alyza on Jeff’s shoulders on the dance floor, smiling as big as you could ever imagine (no, bigger!) The older boys dancing and singing into flowers they’d swiped from the table… Keegan bopping his little head to the beat of the music… And then just taking a moment to notice that we were surrounded, absolutely surrounded, by family & friends… Good stuff, indeed.
I have SO MUCH to say about everything, and no idea where to begin… But I’ll be sharing it all here over the next few weeks or so, as I gather my thoughts… Until then, I thought I would share our vows here for anyone who wants to read them… We wrote them ourselves, and I am really so glad we did… You also have to laugh at how incredibly similar they ended up being…
Jeff… I tried really hard not to like you. Even though it was pretty apparent to me from the first time we spoke on the phone that you were a treasure, I still tried… At the time I didn’t think my heart was in quite the right place, so I turned down your offers to go out to dinner, and coffee, and drinks, until finally you asked if you could hire me to take photos of you and the boys at the park. I felt so bad that you were resorting to a business transaction to get me to hang out with you that I finally decided on a whim to see if you wanted to meet for a walk one afternoon. I figured a walk was pretty harmless, and had no real opportunity for romance. I was determined beyond all determination that I was not going to let myself like you. I really was…
But, I will never ever forget seeing you walk across the street toward me that day, with a smile on your face that made the rest of the world disappear. I remember thinking to myself, “well, it was a good try….” Because, for the record, it’s impossible to dislike you. I had no idea that walking with you that day would just be the start of a very long walk together, or that we’d end up here…. But I’m pretty glad that you’re so persistent, and, I guess also glad that I’m so impulsive…
I did not realize until I actually sat down to write this, but it’s incredibly hard to put into words what you mean to me. I am simply not convinced there are strong enough words to describe what a wonderful person you are. Remarkable comes close, but really just nicks the surface. You are, as your father would say, “one of the good guys,” and once I finally decided it was ok to like you, loving you came so effortlessly. In loving you, I have learned the deeper meaning of commitment, and have slowly built back a trust I thought I’d lost for good. You are a support beam made of steel when I need something to lean against. You are amazingly patient when I’m being completely irrational. You make me laugh like no other, and laughing with you is my most favorite thing in the world… You are the most selfless and giving person I’ve ever known in my entire life. And above all else, you just “get” me, quirks and all, and have never asked me to be less or more. You are my coach, my cheerleader, and my teammate. And in loving you, I have become both a stronger partner, and a better version of myself. All that to say that without you, I surely would have found my way back to happiness again… But with you and this family, I’ve found a happiness so vibrant and beautiful, that it is, without question, the greatest inspiration of my life…
So, today, I choose you to be my husband. You and no other.
I promise to hold your hand, and rub your back.
I promise to always support and encourage your dreams.
I promise to listen to your theories about aliens, and nod like I agree with you.
I promise to I will do my best to get you to the movies on time and always bring milk-duds.
I promise to throw you a high-five when you draft an awesome player in the first round of your fantasy draft…
But, more seriously, I promise to walk by your side, as your wife and your best friend, today and every day just like I did on that very first day. To face the challenges and rewards of life together, side by side, and to bend without breaking, to the best of my ability, even as you and I and the world around us changes. I love you with all my heart, and always will.
So, the funny part about our relationship is that I knew I was going to marry you the moment I saw you walking towards me for the very first time. Okay, the ”first time” after the infamous night at the Barley House when we really first met. Of course I am talking about our first actual date: a walk around the South End of Concord. We had spoken on the phone a few times, and had exchanged many emails over the course of the previous week, but when I saw you walking down the street towards me I just knew. I just knew that MY search was over. And look, here we are.
And not long after, I remember the day when it actually hit me that I had fallen in love with you. Imagine that, falling in love with the girl you know you are going to marry. It was a Saturday evening. I was up in the lakes region at a poker game. You were down on the Cape for a girl’s weekend. We were a couple hundred miles apart. And we were texting. And I missed you. And it hit me. If it looks like a duck, and it sounds like a duck, and it feels like a duck, then it must be love. And I was in love. Quack Quack. And look, we are still here.
I have been so lucky to spend the last several years of my life getting to know you better, becoming best friends with you, and falling in love with you even more deeply. And together, we have become such a good team. We were both so lucky to each be able to bring two wonderful children into our relationship and together we have done such a great job combining our families into one. We wouldn’t have been able to do that if we didn’t have faith in each other, and trust in each other, and such a strong bond between us that is the basis of our relationship and our love. In the few short years that we have been together, we have already proven that we can face adversity, we can face stress, we can face misfortune and heartache, and we can survive. And while the good times far outweigh the bad times, we certainly know that it’s not always easy….in that respect, we are well-rehearsed. But we do survive. We will survive. We are still here.
I’ve said this before about you, and to me, it’s what I love the most about you. You truly see the world in way that no one else does, in a way that no one else can appreciate. And, I am convinced that you experience emotions ……and that you see colors, which the rest of us don’t even know exist. Every interaction you have……. everything you touch, everything you see, every person you talk to, in some way touches your soul. You see beauty in this world in everything that you do and in everything that you experience. From the way that you glance at your own children across a room, to the photographs you take of pinwheels spinning in the wind. It’s an amazing quality and it is what makes you unique, and makes you amazing. And in that way, you will always be my inspiration.
And as we continue on his path forward, this journey together, I am just so excited for what life may bring us. And for all of the things that we will get to experience together. Together, as best friends, and as husband and wife. You mean the world to me Stephanie. Thank you for being my bride. I will always love you.
I promise to always be your best friend.
I promise that will always try my best to make you smile.
I promise to always rub your feet (if you rub my back first).
I promise to cherish you, and cherish the time we spend together.
I promise to wait for you, if you fall behind.
And most of all, I simply promise to be here, right here, by your side, for the rest of my life.
I am still here.
I love you.