The Lovely Renewal

If you’ve ever picked up a copy of Vogue or Vanity Fair, then you’ve probably seen the cluster of pages toward the frontispiece wherein celebrities mill about at some party you’ve never heard of, wearing designer looks you can’t afford, clutching each other’s arms in an attempt to look like friends.

Celebrities-Inside-Vanity-Fair-Oscar-Party-2013-Pictures

Look at us. We are friends.

It’s disingenuous, dripping in diamonds…and, according to the PR firm what handles Marc and I, a celebrity rite of passage.

Knowing how loathe I am to participate in events and efforts that haven’t fully claimed my heart, Marc suggested that we throw our own Vogue-spread party, rather than attending some random soiree to fulfill our duties.

I agreed with the stipulation that it couldn’t benefit our own private coffers–no JS Design party–and it couldn’t capitalize on JS Home for Children–no sad orphan benefit.

He said that left either a massive birthday party for one of us, or, a massive wedding vow renewal party.  And as we had already missed his 2100th birthday, and my 200th isn’t for another two years…

So, we had a gigantic vow renewal.  We had an enormous guest list, ridiculous, designer party favours, an astronomical liquor bill, and…

…a smashing good time, I must admit.

This has mostly to do with Marc’s graceful party planning.  He started from a small list of requirements–that we actually renew our vows before our children, that we have a few readings by our best mates, that we forgo gifts in lieu of donations to a core set of causes, and that the focus of the event be about companionship, family, and fun.  And from that he extrapolated out into a live band, a romantic setting, plush food and silver, and photographers.

So, it was sort of like a party within a party.  Marc was delighted to run about in extroverted outer ring, thanking people for donations, telling well placed anecdotes, and fielding compliments and cameras.  I was delighted to monitor the interior, checking on the children, introducing our mates around, and visiting the children’s tent off to the side of the event.  And we were both delighted to find the opportunities where the circles ran together–on the dance floor, primarily.

We took tango lessons for the occasion.  Went over well.

Oh, and Elvis led the band.  NBD.

And, I like to think, we kept it genuine.  Marc’s tearful vows were the most beautiful, heartfelt words he’s ever said to me.  Our best mates–Ed and Jacques–stood up with us and our children, despite the PR firm begging us to ‘use notables’. I surprised Marc with a drag performance to close out the evening, launching into a few 1980s power ballads whilst wearing the first costume he ever made me.  And so on.

So, overall, I’m glad that we threw the party, and that we threw it in our own idiosyncratic way.  I’m glad that our children and friends were able to witness Marc and I recommit to each other, reaffirming not only our love but also their roles within it. And I’m glad that everyone seemed to have a good time, and that our causes fared well.

Now all that’s left is to go through literally thousands of photos.

Open bars do make for incriminating scenes…

Five Day to Five Year!

When Marc and I married five years ago, we took a leap of faith.

Granted, it was a well-placed leap, and we could spot the landing, but there were a lot of unknowns involved, and we’d made a fair number of concessions.

We had decided, you see, to ‘love the one you’re with’.  We knew there was an exterior ghost world, but we hadn’t met anyone in it, let alone another eligible  bachelor.  We were pretty sure we were it, and rather than spending the rest of the afterlife at odds with each other over minutia, we had determined it would be more agreeable to attempt to share our space and time and bed.

Well…to be honest, I guess I had determined that.

Because, hopeless romantic that I am, I had started to fall in love.

I knew it was happening as soon as I began trying to understand Marc’s gruff and patrician mindset, rather than ignoring it.  I suddenly saw more poetry in the things he was saying, an undertone of gentleness in his actions.  I pushed to slow things down–to spend more time learning about each other, appreciating what each of us had to offer to our shared situation.

And then I proposed about six months in.

Marc, now infamously, turned me down.  Cold.  Turn-away-in-bed-and-go-to-sleep-without-a-word cold.

I was upset and flustered, but I wasn’t heartbroken.  I wrote it off as the wrong approach, the wrong time, and we went about our business.

A few weeks later, Marc surprised me with an apology.  He gave me a ring that had belonged to his uncle Cato, and explained as best he could what the word ‘marry’ meant to him–what it had triggered.  He also said that he had no idea I was in love with him, because I am so ‘British, British, British’, but that if I really was, and if it really meant that much to me, I could plan a wedding.

Was I? Did it?

We went on vacation together.  He was warm and fun and shy and silly and he held my hand and told me about his connection to land and horses and the sky.

Yep.

So, we married.  Five days after the ides on a supermoon.  I was excited; Marc was too nervous to sleep.

But after he read his vows, the most remarkable change came over him.

He’s tried to explain it a number of times, and he always falls short of the right words and just smiles and shakes his head.  But I gather that he had crossed some sort of line.

He couldn’t stop grinning.  He wouldn’t stop holding my hand.  I had long ago given him permission to be in love–to be the silly, dopey, ridiculous man instead of the constant soldier–but he had been afraid of making that transition.  Now that it was over, now that he had a wedding band on his hand, demonstrating that he was part a kinder world where he could be kinder person, he just exuded happiness.

The leap was already paying off.

It’s now paid off a thousand times over.

And although I may have been the one to initiate the partnership, a lot of our success as a couple owes to Marc’s indefatigable commitment to growing it.  In fact, in more cases than I can count, the reigns have been entirely in his hands.

I owe so much to his outgoing personality, his business savvy, his willingness to learn new things, his confidence, and his support.

I owe even more to his love–his crazy, amazing, awe-inspiring, overabundant, exuberant, not-at-all-British love.

 *   *   *

This morning, when Marc wandered out of the bedroom and over to the couch, he curled up next to me and said, ‘You are know what day is be’?

I snuggled him, kissed the top of his head, and said, ‘Well, yes, of course, the ides.  How are you feeling’?

He sat up, stared at me, and laughed.  ‘I mean, sic, is ide, but more import is five day to five year’!

More important than the ides.

That’s something.