So, we have been talking about renewing our vows for 10 years. We actually had the pleasure of renewing them at our 10 year anniversary; our old church offered couples a chance to renew their vows over the Valentine’s weekend. To us, it was just a spur-of-the-moment activity that we thought would be fun to do before heading out on a rare quiet dinner date. I basically signed us up and told Mike we were going. I seem to recall him grumbling just a bit and asking lots of questions about how and why were doing this. (He doesn’t recall that, but I definitely do!:) The funny thing is, neither of us had any idea how meaningful those 15 minutes would be. Recommitting your lives to each other after spending 10 years together with some really high peaks and (fortunately just a few) really low valleys it turns out, can leave one’s heart a bit torn open, in a wonderful way. We decided to do it again, and this decade, we would take the time to appreciate the meaning of this special ceremony. Of course, I had a few ideas on how to make it really special. It would have to be on our favorite beach in our favorite place in the world. It would be with our children this time. And why not get a photographer and a some flowers to celebrate the occasion?
Well, today is the day.
The beach permit has been obtained. The flowers and leis have been ordered. A special dress has been purchased, altered and carted around the islands for the last 2 weeks. An AMAZING photographer has been contracted. (seriously, check this guy out. I have been following James Rubio for years. His photos are to die for.) We even found the sweetest man to do our ceremony. Danny Akaka is the Cultural Director at the Mauna Lani Resort and performs Hawaiian wedding ceremonies just because he likes to. All that is left for me to do is to fit into my dress (a serious question after the last two weeks) and to finish my vows.
I have been trying to write my ‘vows’ for 6 months. After 20 years, I do have a couple ‘suggestions’ for the next 20; like… I promise to always use a coaster if you promise to open the refrigerator door and look inside before asking me where the mustard is.
But seriously, I am not the most expressive to Michael when it comes to my feelings. It might come as a shock to some, but Michael is actually the more expressive of the two of us. I tend to get easily flustered around words that describe my feelings; it seems they never come out the way I want them to unless I’ve planned them carefully. But even with all this planning, I am still having a hard time coming up with the right words to say to the love of my life. I want them to be meaningful and unforgettable and I fear that I am incapable of providing just the right combination of words that fully express what I feel in my heart.
As I write this, I still don’t have my vows set in stone yet, but I will continue working on it. Fortunately, I knew that I would still be struggling with this task so close to the event, so I decided a couple months ago to do something so that no matter what I say on the night of our vow renewal, he can always listen to what is in my heart. I am using other, more talented writers for this, but I think he will understand. After 6 months of ukulele lessons, I have a couple songs under my belt. I thought it would be nice to record a few of those for Michael in honor of this day. So, I took a huge gamble and found a wonderful guy who was willing to record me playing and singing a few songs for my sweet husband. James Driscoll is a friend of Dan’s piano teacher with a small recording studio in his house. He was just the kind of person I needed to help me with this project. I snuck out one Wednesday afternoon telling Mike that I had an extra ukulele lesson that week and two hours later, I had three songs recorded for posterity.
So, Michael… these are for you. I’m no Bette Midler or Jack Johnson and I am definitely not Jake Shimabokuro. But, I love to sing, I love the ukulele, and I love making music. And while this little venture was WAY out of my comfort zone, I did these for you. I hope you know that I won the lottery of all lotteries when I married you. I don’t know how I got so lucky to share my life with you, but I am forever grateful for the two amazing children you gave me and the life you have worked so hard and long to provide for us.
Now, I am off to finish those vows.