"Now the reason we're here, as man and woman is to love each other. Take care of each other."
When I was 12, my Dad took me on a road trip. We drove (actually he drove. as a I was 12), from LaCrosse, Wisconsin to Kalamazoo, Michigan to Toronto, Ontario, to Montreal, Quebec, to Quebec City, Quebec, to Bar Harbor, Maine, though Boston, Massachusetts, to New York, New York, to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and back home to Wisconsin. In retrospect, I respect my father for all that driving. On that trip, I perfected my knowledge of the capitals of all the states, about which I was mercilessly quizzed. This came in handy on one of my first days in practice as a doctor out of residency, when I said to a patient "do you have any questions?" and he, a crotchety old man (bless his heart) said "Yeah, what's the capital of Vermont?" Without an instant of hesitation I said "Montpelier." He looked at me with a newfound respect and I secretly thanked my Dad for the previous road trip state capitol torture.
On that same road trip, we were camping in Quebec. The people in the tent next to us had wild and verbal sex. My Dad was a minister and I was 12. Shudder. The next morning, as Dad and I were eating the pancakes he expertly cooked for us on our camp stove, the people next door stumbled out of their tent. My Dad raised an eyebrow at me. Like that commercial says: priceless.
Fast forward 34 years (holy hell, how did that happen??). With my daughter at a respectable hotel in downtown Portland. It is late, we are tired, we finally stop watching Say Yes to the Dress. Not before I have had a complete laughter meltdown regarding the topper to the wedding cake of this one couple, a 3D thing that reads #SOULMATES. I am not really sure why this totally cracks me up, but certain things do and when they do, I am a slave to my laughter. Just ask my nephew Mark, who has the best joke delivery of any person I have personally known. Sometimes I cannot stop laughing.
So anyway, we turned off the show and settled in to sleep, as it was almost midnight. Only then did our hotel neighbors start having the loudest sex known to human history. My kid and I laid in silence for awhile, because, what DOES one say in these circumstances. Finally, I said "hashtag soulmates". Sigh. Credit to the river side Marriott in Portland: the next day I requested a (cough) "quieter room", and they came through and also gave us a complimentary breakfast. Hashtag hash browns.
The day after the said event, we were walking about Portland and stumbled upon a bridal boutique. When we stepped inside, a young woman strides toward us. "So, who is the bride?" she asked with confidence bordering on the obnoxious. Well, it is sure as hell not me, thought I, with my bald head and bad skin. I asked if a kid and her Mom could just peruse with dreams about the future, and she said sure (obviously disappointed, but fuck her anyway). My kid was mad that I did not let her spin some story about her wedding dreams, right there on the spot. And she was right, because she could have spun such a story as never was heard in that boutique. We could have been legend. Even so, we had fun fondling the dresses and discussing our preferences. I have decided I am getting married again if only to get the chance to wear one of these dresses as a self-possessed woman of the 21st century. Husband, get busy re-proposing to me.
Speaking of which, I ran a lot during my Portland trip. My kid, who is a fair bit faster than I, was too sick to run. So I went out solo, each day, on the river front in this town with many bridges. I grew up on the Mississippi River, so rivers sort of tug at my heart. I mean, look at this:
I ran and I swooned for the beauty of Oregon. I ran medium fast. Last time I ran this route, there was snow on the ground. But now it is spring and the weeping willows called to me. We don't really have weeping willows in California. But they beckon me to recall my youth. My best friend and neighbor Amie had weeping willows in her yard.We played Ghost in the Graveyard and Kick the Can amongst those willows. I was afraid and courageous all at once while hiding during these games. I remain afraid and courageous. Ollie ollie in come free.
I am lucky though, because I am married to my soulmate.
My soulmate plays Sudoku while he runs. He understands Beethoven, even the late quartets. He writes prolifically and reads. When he reads, his mind is like a steel trap. He also remembers the lyrics of every important song every written. He and I spent our honeymoon penniless, but happy. We camped in the snow of Vermont and the tangible stars that hung low on a freezing cold night in Bar Harbor, Maine. Now we have 3 children, and still, he is my soulmate.
We adopt our soulmates. We have adopted two children as well. Some say adopting children is not the same, but let me tell you, once you decide to parent a child, they are yours. Only yours. Decidedly yours. Like soulmates. Those that don't understand think soulmates must have genetic relations. Genetics is great. Parenting is greater.
Hashtag: I showed up for you day after day.
Hashtag: I love you.
P.S. Although your wedding dress is awesome, can you please tell me how once dances with such a long train?
No wait, don't tell me. I want to decide for myself.
Atthys, will you marry me?
In Provence, in a new dress.
Hashtag: The Reason We Are Here::