Getting married is a lot like graduating from high school. Once you set a wedding date, everything between then and right now is something of a countdown, like the one toward graduation. There’s such an energy to both days that creates the feeling like all the ones before them were simply parts of a single crescendo building to an exact moment when emotions crest and are finally released. There is music. There is applause. Your family and friends are there to help you celebrate. You smile and laugh a lot. You pose for a ton of pictures. At the end of it all, you get lei’d. Good times. In retrospect, though, the biggest similarity both occasions share is their singular symbolism, the weight and importance of the day. A consequence of this significance is that we often subconsciously think of both events as end points when in truth they are both beginnings. They feel like ends because they are the beginnings of lives we cannot imagine since they are lives we have not yet lived.
A Wedding Night Story: When we finally got back to our hotel room after the reception, I was exhausted. I remember my face actually hurting from smiling so much – especially in the receiving line before the reception. I started peeling the fancy clothes off of me and started doing the same to Lynnette. You can’t blame me, she was absolutely radiant (see Fig. 1). Well, it was our first night as husband and wife, and though I don’t specifically remember doing it, I am 100% positive I said something about “consummating the marriage” because I am an idiot, that’s exactly the kind of thing I’d do, but most of all, I’d have been super giddy for it to actually apply. Again, still not sure how I tricked Lynnette into marrying me. Anyway, it was the end of the night and I assumed everyone was getting lei’d, and that’s when Lynnette dropped the bomb on me: “Wait, you have to help me take all these bobby pins out.” “What?” I said. I think she said something like “You think my hair stayed like this by itself?” So I’m basically naked at this point, sitting on the bed rooting through her scalp for hidden bobby pins. Even as it was happening I thought about those clips of apes grooming each other. And that was my first taste of married life.
I never imaged that scene could ever play out, let alone serve as the defining moment of my wedding day/night, and yet somehow that’s what it’s become. I remember being frustrated, but then somehow my mind did this thing where it took on a laser-like focus. I was going to get all those ******* bobby pins or die trying. I did. And then Lynnette and I gave each other lei to celebrate. The point of the story is this: marriage is never simple, even when it’s supposed to be, especially when you want it to be.
I don’t know what the future holds for me or Lynnette or Madison or the twins (or Abby). I assume it will be complicated and challenging, anything but simple. Still, I think back to why I decided to propose to Lynnette in the first place. Here is a sampling of 24-year old Phil’s logic:
I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do with my life, but if Lynnette’s in it, then at least that’s one thing I’m sure of.
So many things have changed, so many more will. But never my love.
Happy Anniversary, Love.