That's the first time I've typed those words. It's been a long time coming, and it's a very good thing. I didn't always know that it would be. For some reason, I wrote in my college journal that I didn't think I'd ever do it. But these first three weeks have easily been some of the happiest of my life.
We'd been together more than 10 years before we said our vows so I don't know if the phrase "honeymoon phase" applies. But for all we've been through within the span of that decade -- including his 13-month deployment to Afghanistan and all that it took for him to come back -- that's what this feels like. A honeymoon phase. I feel freshly and wholly in love.
Maybe it was the rain.
It poured the whole day of our wedding. I mean, it didn't let up once. We were glued to my iPhone's Weather Channel app in the days leading up to March 24. The chance of rain kept creeping upward: Ten days out it was 40 percent. By the day before it was 100 percent. One hundred percent. I didn't even know that was a thing. Like, there's not even a 1 percent chance that it's not going to rain? Making a prediction of absolute certainty didn't seem scientifically advisable (aren't there always exceptions?) but there that absolutist prediction was, on the most perfect, sunny day you can imagine, the day before our wedding. Everyone kept walking around saying, "Can you believe the forecast?" Still, we held out hope that a miracle would happen.
It didn't and it did: From the moment we opened our eyes in our hotel room the morning of our wedding until our heads hit the pillow late that night (very early the next morning, really), it rained. It rained and it rained. It rained a cold, Alaska-sent rain that made me shiver each time I stepped outside, even after I'd sent a nice amount of champagne coursing through my veins.
Our ceremony, which we'd planned to have out in a grove of Santa Cruz redwoods and ferns, was moved inside. So was the cocktail hour, during which our guests would have explored the fairy-tale grounds of the venue we'd rented. There was bocce ball to play, a treehouse for people to hoist themselves into, a koi pond to ponder, an explosion of bright-yellow tulips to behold, a freaking miniature train to ride around in on its miniature tracks.
None of that happened. What did happen was -- well, let me paint you a picture: You know when it's pouring or freezing or otherwise untenable outside and you just feel crazy lucky to have a solid roof over your head and there's a fire roaring and just the right song playing and you've got the exact person or people you need with you and you're swaddled up in a chenille blanket and there's good food and something hot or strong to drink and life just feels perfect in its moment? Project that immense coziness out into wedding size and you start to approach the unexpected level of intimacy our rain created for us. Many of our guests told us with conviction that it was the most romantic wedding they'd ever been to. Their words, and our feelings, and the few photos we've seen so far, tell us that it had been filled with joy and gratefulness and fleetingness and most of all love.
During the rollicking party, people kept beaming at us and saying what good luck rain is. I thought of the French saying, Mariage pluvieux, mariage heureux ("Rainy wedding, happy marriage") and the Italian one, Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata ("A wet bride is a lucky bride").
Rational being that I am, I enjoyed the intent of these rhyming refrains but thought in the back of my head that they must have been conjured up to console some teary, far-less-joyful-than-I bride who'd been set on a perfect day for her nuptials.
But now I sorta kinda believe the romance-language hype: Water has always and everywhere symbolized cleansing, renewal, baptism. Fertility and abundance. It's the requisite ingredient for new growth, for purification, for movement in the only natural direction that exists.
Tim has always known this. His mom remembers that when it rained and he was little, he'd sit in the street gutter in front of their house watching the water whoosh by. He's a certified river-rafting guide. He's got a master's degree in hydrology. Tim in water is Tim in his element. How apt, then, that it should pour down on us on our day of union.
The next morning, Tim's mom texted us: "Wouldntcha KNOW it?!!!" and we both knew what she meant: This day was gorgeous, boasting a sky blue as periwinkle. As if rain was something that didn't even exist.
Reading this post over, I should say here that I didn't set out to write it to gush about our wedding. I set out to write about the renewing effect marriage is having on me -- and us -- so far. It's quite likely that the giddiness we're feeling would be just as real had our wedding-day rain not fallen and deemed us lucky.
Of course, life is long and who knows what sorts of fortunes and misfortunes it has in store for us. I've seen friends and family members, blessed until then, suddenly have to contend with slashing losses and menacing illnesses so I wouldn't ever presume, at age 32, to declare myself an overall lucky person.
I do know I've been lucky so far, though. Astonishingly lucky. I sincerely do feel that I've won the husband lottery.
I know, too, that I'm verging on being cloying at this point but I'll just end with this fact: Sometimes at night when we're falling asleep side by side, I lay there telling myself, "This is what it feels like to be in his presence. Pay attention to what this feels like." And it is the most cozy, intimate, loved feeling in the world.