Saturday, April 5, 2008

Take This Moment to Make You My...

Well, the wedding plans are pretty much going nowhere. As I said before, we have the location and the dress, and nothing else. The club was supposed to give us a contract by the third week of January, and we're still waiting. We have the day confirmed and everything, but we haven't actually paid them a dime yet. I'm also waiting for table sizes and seating numbers so that I can work on centerpieces, so the flowers haven't been started either. Dave is working on the photographer and the dj, but as of now, he has no results. I have Mom trying to find us an officiant, since we're not members of any church or anything. It's a good thing we both have simple tastes; at this rate, we'll be lucky to find vendors to use at all!

The setting is a small country club in upstate New York: When we first went to look at it in mid-December of last year, we had already checked out a few halls in northern New Jersey and southern New York. Each place had the same generic feel, with more than one room so that multiple events could be going on at once. I hate that feeling of walking into a reception and being stopped by an employee who says, "Which wedding are you here for?" It should be obvious! There's only one important wedding that day, and it's ours! So, I made it my mission that no question like that would be necessary.

I took a day off from work so that Dave and I could drive the two hours north to look at the club. My family has a house on top of a mountain above a little village (read: a double-wide trailer in the woods) in the Catskills region of New York, and the location is only a couple of miles away. The road is a two-lane country highway that winds through fields and trees, then suddenly opens up to reveal a well-manicured golf course on both sides. We turned off the highway onto a wide, gravelly drive, glancing at each other with apprehension. As the driveway wound up the hill, the land on both sides was either covered in trees, or barren from new development. It was not an attractive picture on that icy grey December day. We reached the top of the mountain, turned around a bend, and the land opened up in front of us. The country club is set in the middle of a flat piece of open land, with a huge front lawn, and nothing else in sight but trees. Other mountains come up on every side, creating a cozy, secluded feel. We walked into an obviously new building, decorated with unmatched furniture placed around a two-sided fireplace. Dave, being a bartender, liked the feel of the large bar area, and the cocktail area around the fireplace. The front side has many windows, looking out onto a porch filled with tables and chairs. I can immediately picture our family and friends mingling in front of that fireplace, relaxing with drinks and cigarettes on that porch. Beyond the porch is the lawn, with a gazebo placed far in the distance, seemingly on the edge of a cliff. Otherwise, we can practically see the trees lit up with their different colored leaves, setting the stage for a life-beginning ceremony as the cycle of the year dies.

What has surprised me most about the process of planning this wedding is the feelings of change that have come with it. Dave and I have been together for over six years, and have lived together for more than three. I had always thought that marriage would just be another day in our lives, and all would continue unchanged. But friendships and plans have already begun to alter the way they affect me. The people around me have grown up in front of my eyes. Some of us have been together since childhood, some I met in college, a few have come into my life in just the past couple of years. I've shared every possible type of event with my friends, and our stories could fill hundreds of books, or make thousands of movies, both comedic and tragic. I have the sense now of these times ending, as people I had thought would always be there begin to separate themselves, to draw lines between us and move us into different futures.

In the time leading up to our official engagement, I had discussed with Dave our mutual feelings of apprehension when it came to giving up our current lives and beginning a more 'mature' existence. I've always wanted to have children, but when faced with the idea of giving up the freedom that I revel in daily, that I have never taken for granted, I hesitate. I can say easily that this is not to be considered a sacrifice, but more of a trade-up for the wondrous miracle that is a child. But everyone knows that theory and practice don't usually come together, and my constant fear is of a life lived tinged by jealousy or regret. As it is, I am often criticized for behavior considered unconventional or inappropriate for my age or gender. This ranges from going to bars or rather violent concerts to being interested in cars and playing soccer. I expect continuing the majority of this behavior after having children would meet with plenty of scorn, but does that mean it would actually be irresponsible? Do the things that make me the person that I am today figure into the future at all, or are they just ways to fill the time leading up to my real purpose in life? Many times, I have seen people and events that were the be-all and end-all of my present fade into my history, so I know that this is not only possible, but likely.

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