At 46, I have officially begun the second chapter of my life, with a love that will endure through my “middle ages” and beyond.
On January 8th, 2011, I married a miraculous man in front of 30 family members and friends. We said the following words to each other while grinning, tearing up and trembling. It might seem self-serving to so publicly document them, but, for the many, many dear friends who couldn’t be there, we wanted you to be part of this event in any way possible. We look forward to many supplemental celebrations, both big and small:
Rick to me:
My dearest Gayle:
My life was changed that fateful day. I knew I was in trouble…the good kind! I remember getting to the restaurant early to make sure that all was perfect. I remember ordering two shots of Patron (on ice)…just like you wanted. I remember seeing you drive in. Me coming out the door. You getting out of your car. You looking across the parking lot right at me. And your incredible smile! A beautiful beam of light. I remember half walking / half running to you. Taking you in. The first touch and kiss. Passionate, yet gentle and kind. I remember your scent (don’t ever change it…it’s you!!!).
I remember how nervous I was. How you helped me to feel at ease. Drinking that shot. I remember how incredibly beautiful you looked that night. I remember the most wonderful dinner of my life. Getting to know about you. How I couldn’t think of any place that I would’ve rather been at that moment in time. I remember how I didn’t want it to end. And, most important, how happy and care free I felt right then and there….with you. That night, I fell in love with you!
You, Gayle, have made me a better person. You made me face my evils and deal with them head on…one by one. You have made me happier than I have been in a long, long time. It’s been difficult at times. I thank you for your patience, kindness and compassion.
You gave me my life back. Because of you I’m closer to Danny and Alex than I have ever been. Because of you I have tried so many new things…getting me out of my very limited comfort zone. It’s your amazing joy of life that I love the most. How even in my most challenging situations you have the ability to bring me back to center. No matter how dark I see the situation you always make me see the light on the other side.
I’m thankful to you for bringing Amelia into my life. How privileged I feel that you found me important enough to take that step…To have me meet the most important person in your life.
I’m thankful for embracing Alex and Danny as you have. How you have become a second mother to them. How you have made them feel comfortable and at ease and that everything will be OK. And, that they see just how happy you have made me. How you have made a home for them where they are always welcomed.
I thank you for embracing my family and friends. And in turn, how you have made me part of your family. I thank your family for embracing me the way they have. I have really enjoyed the time we have spent together and look forward to many more good times.
I thank you for introducing me to the most important people in your life. Some of which are here today. Your friends are your life. I’m honored, considering the place that some of them hold in your life.
Now, on to the vows….
Gayle, here in front of all our closest friends and family, I make you the following simple promises –
● To love you more than any other
● To always respect you
● To care for you when you need me to
● To give you space when you feel you need it
● To be a second father to Amelia and become an integral part of her life and she in mine
● To provide for us all to the best of my ability
● To continue to remind myself that every day can and will be better than the day before
● And, to never forget what it was that brought us to this point
These things I promise to you unconditionally.
I’m incredibly happy to be your husband. I’m incredibly lucky to be your partner in life. I love you so very much.
Me to Rick:
My dearest Rick-
By now, I think everyone here knows how we met. After months of online dating profiles of men who had pictures of themselves holding up big fish and those who couldn’t complete a sentence if their lives depended on it, along came you with that open smile and complete paragraphs, not a spelling error in sight. You were a match.com member for less than 24 hours and there was no way I was going to let another woman get to you first.
So, in proceeding to instant message each other, e-mail and talk on the phone, I knew that by the time I met you, we were already under each other’s skin and it would have taken something very dramatic and unexpected to extract ourselves from our quickly-beating hearts.
I remember reading to you over the phone, even before we met met in person, that list I made of the qualities I wanted in a man, from the most mundane to the most critical. We were both stunned into silence, because besides just 2 of about 40, you clearly fit the bill. And now, not only do you DRINK coffee but you make a better pot than I do, and you podcast Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.
You’ve often told the story of seeing me across the parking lot for the first time. Well, I saw you too, as I approached to where you were waiting and I too knew that something big was about to happen. What an amazing first date. I will NEVER forget watching the stars through your open sunroof, leaning into you like I had known you forever.
On our next date, we sat side-by-side making a list of all the places we wanted to go together on road trips, both near and far. We’ve added a LOT of things to that list, from get Gayle a Mac to driving across the country in a Winnebago with the kids, to getting to Spain someday. I have absolute faith that we will do it all.
Einstein says that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Well, having been drawn to chaos for most of my life, gravitating apparently to what I knew, according to Einstein’s definition, I am no longer insane. You have brought a sense of calm into my life that I always knew I wanted, but never thought I’d find. I am being taken care of for the first time, and after a life of figuring it all out for myself, I am ready to relinquish control, no easy feat for me, to you, the most capable man I have ever known.
I in turn, have never wanted to do so much for someone, to ensure you, that you too, will always be taken care of.
I love observing you in your “happy places”–at the helm of your boat, laughing until you cry while watching guy stuff with the boys and assessing a perfectly vacuumed room.
You make me believe that anything can happen and boost me up when I have lost confidence in myself. I promise to always do the same for you.
I can speak to you all day and still light up when you walk in the door. I still walk around like a teenager, knowing that we have found a remarkable love. Even if times get tough, that is what will bring me back around-thinking of those ear-to-ear grins that we have shared just by looking at each other. We are lucky. We can never forget how lucky we are in having found each other- a nice Jewish girl from Long Island and a Puerto Rican guy from the middle of nowhere in New York.
*(I feel it’s important to note that, in breaking with tradition, I allowed Rick to see me before the ceremony to partake in an icy, cold shot of Patron, hidden in our own secret place, together, at last.)