Seriously, Girl Guides taught me nothing in that department. Isn’t that supposed to be their thing?
“Girl Guides of Canada: Enabling girls and women to be confident, resourceful and courageous, and to make a difference in the world. Whilst tying deadly ol’ knots”.
That badge is nothing but a dirty, dirty lie, burning a hole of deception in a box somewhere in mom’s basement. If I had to jump from a burning building and had nothing but a rope (ya know, to tie one end to the bed leg and shimmy down regularly spaced, pre-tied knots in the rest), I’d hold an end in either hand, like a jump rope, and hope for the best. Maybe some spark of parachute action. Or maybe I’d get lucky and hook a tree limb. Either way, better chance of survival than the knot-dependent option.
But anyway…I got married.
It was the classic tale: two kids from opposite sides of the track; a heart-wrenching saga of love conquering adversity.
Except that the kids were poorly hiding grays and in their thirties. And “the track” was Canada. And it wasn’t so much “heart-wrenching” as it was just “pretty effing sweet”. And the only adversity was, during the private ceremony, the ocean air blowing in the opposite direction of the moldable, pube-textured hair-piece that is my actual hair.
We didn’t always plan on eloping. We tossed around different ideas: back in Newfoundland? In Alberta? Destination wedding? We were resigned to the fact that people would have to travel either way.
But, upon testing our sample demographic of invitees, we quickly learned that it would be impossible to please everyone. And I have an insufferable guilt complex. So running away had a pretty nice ring to it.
You know how every little girl dreams endlessly of her “perfect day”? How her hair will look. How he /she will look (*swoon*). The location. The season. The flowers. The table settings. The first song. The ring…
Yeah, that wasn’t me. I was too busy digging for worms and cutting the hair off my dolls and trying to throw balls really, really high into the air. And being really pumped about solving Physics equations and writing Shakespearean sonnets (whereas my sister had “boyfriends” and “weekend plans” and what not).
So I was pretty open-minded about the whole thing.
By the ocean? he asked.
Yeah for sure! I replied.
Maybe when we go to Halifax next summer? he suggested.
That’d be sweet! I agreed.
And that was pretty much it. Now, I am always one for a challenge (but only when “challenge” is pronounced with a French accent). So, opting for a “Romance on a Budget” theme, I challenged myself to spend no more than $40 on my wedding dress. And, as the (unofficial, unpaid) face of Winners, I thought this would be a piece of cake.
But at the last minute I caved. This would be, after all, my wedding. So I spent triple.
We decided, since we were travelling that far, it would only make sense to have my sister and her betrothed man-candy (I would be remiss to not refer to him, henceforth, as simply “Mandy”) stand as our witnesses. We didn’t tell them we were getting married, just that we were meeting in Halifax and be prepared to put on some lip gloss (Mandy rocks the shiny pout look like it’s nobody’s business) and drink too much one night.
As the date approached – and as fate would have it – J’s best pal and his wife would be celebrating their five-year wedding anniversary on that side of the continent. So we planned to surprise them too.
We opted against “hiding from eachother” before the nuptuals. In fact, he zipped me into my dress as we both sipped beers.
So the six of us, as well as two of our favorite tiny fellas, met up with a JP on a beach and we sealed the deal. None of us had been to this particular beach before but as soon as I learned the name I was sold. Cow Bay. Could there be a more perfectly named, neutral locale for the union of an Albertan and a Newfie? Doubtful. Plus Google informed me that there would be a lifelike moose statue. And that’s just cool.
We showed up at an abandoned parking lot using the address our amazing buddy Dave gave us as a loose reference. Our JP was a very lovely woman with awesome, bright red hair and a back problem. So she couldn’t walk far. Having never been there before, I hoped that the path from the lot into the trees lead to something oceany and close for her sake.
We headed in, hand in hand, our impromptu wedding party following suit.
What began as a dirt path through trees suddenly turned into a boardwalk which suddenly opened up to a platform over a rocky beach and the breathtaking Atlantic.
He was a tall drink of water from a cologne ad. And I was Roy Orbison in a lacy, discount summer dress.
It was perfect.
I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice to say, our vows bore a striking resemblance to dialogue from the award-winning 2013 feature film, Captain Philips.
Me (intense): Look at me.
J (concealing fear): Sure
Me: (more intense): Look at me.
Me: …I’m the captain now.
Et cetera. It was beautiful. Probably wasn’t necessary that I use a Somali accent, but I got lost in the moment.
We smooched, and that was that.
Even with the flapping, navy-black pelt on my head, it was perfect.
Our first photo as a married couple captures, magically, the essence of the moment. As well as the adorable thing my son does where he wants me nowhere near him as daddy is everything.
I’ve been asked often (maybe twice, but it was the best transition sentence I could come up with), “How does it feel to be married? Different?”.
Not really. It just makes me appreciate our differences even more…
Like how he gravitates towards hip-hop and R&B music – usually songs featuring one or both of the two most offensive words I can think of. Whereas I like my musicians to literally be choking on their beards as they growl at their guitars and chain smoke their feelings.
And how he likes all things sporty and I like to blog about my transient backne.
And how I’m…what’s a sexy word for “stout”?… While he is, I’m pretty sure, medically, a “giant”. My fuzzy head fits perfectly into his fuzzy armpit.
Even our alarm tones reflect our differences. I, for example, like to wake up to an energetic little Caribbean number that invokes the sensation of a mariachi band actually under the bed covers with us. Whereas J likes to “wake up slow”. But not in a groovy, adult-long-boarder way, like Jack Johnson. No. Instead he chooses what sounds like a slowed down, all-bell Holiday jingle performed by Children of the Corn.
Sure, I walk to the car paranoid and looking over my shoulder every morning in the darkness. But once I’m in the car with the doors locked, I drive to work with a smile on my face.
While I don’t believe anyone needs an “other half” – as we are perfect and whole as we are – I must say, our differences are what make us awesome together.
He’s seen Wicked. I’ve been to a Broncos game. He knows Iron & Wine is so much more than two completely unrelated nouns. And I know what “icing” means. He’s watched The Mindy Project. And I don’t hate Drake.
It truly smells like happily ever after. And also way-too-liberal bathroom habits. But mostly the first one.