I still honestly can’t believe I’m married. Maybe that’s why newlyweds take honeymoons. At least there’s a life interruption that says hey lady, shit is different around here. The only thing that feels different around here is an invisible identical everything.

We’re beginning of the week shoppers. Come the weekend, we make a grocery list and plan menus. Often we give up on a meal but, for the most part, we stick to it. We’re also forgetful and so sometimes it means a quick trip out for a vegetable or lunch the next day or cake. We obviously eat a lot of cake. Debra is usually the runner outer and every single time she walks out the door, I wonder what will happen if she doesn’t come back. Will a terrible accident mean I lose both my wife and my legally-not child? How quickly would social services arrive to take her away? Obviously I’d miss my wife and my cake but RR, taken in the night, I can’t even breathe. Marriage hasn’t made her mine, but it has made me the most logical choice in a tragedy, even by the most callous of social workers.

On vacations in friendly places, we hold hands. Sometimes we kiss chastely in the street. We give ourselves the chance to wonder what it would be like if no one cared. While people probably still care and some of them, even in our excellent community, are offended, we are now legally entitled to be married. It hasn’t changed them, but it has changed us. We’re bolder, more willing to blame them and not ourselves if they are offended. You’ve probably reached this point, the point of not caring, long before we have (in whatever part of your life you’re anxious about) but for me, this feeling is novel.

I find myself saying thank you frequently. To acquaintances and strangers, people who have recognized us from the press. It’s unnerving, the casual eye-contact and recognition, especially when someone doesn’t verbally acknowledge that they’ve seen me before. I’ve changed my response from “Oh, thank you!” to “Thank you! I’m Meridith” and sticking out my hand. It seems to make a difference. See me, it says. I am friendly, it says. I am just like you.

It’s every moment. The ones when people aren’t looking and the ones when they are. It’s half wanting to yell from the rooftops and half quiet this is rightfully ours. It’s wanting to talk about it forever and knowing that moment has passed (sorry, folks). My soul is soaked in tears – of happiness, of disbelief, of amazement, of gratitude, of notice me I am changed. But unusually for me, all the tears are being shed inside, for better or worse.

The fabric woven from my life was already erratic, marked with knots and tangles, thread changing color and texture midstream. This is the gaping hole closed with lace and fine stitching that you notice once but that I run my hands over every single day and will, for the rest of my life. Everything is different.





13 Responses

  1. The day equal marriage finally arrived in England, I felt like I was going to burst with happiness and excitement. I’m not even in a relationship, but the knowledge that I can marry whoever I like (as long as they’re of age, consenting and not already married, of course) is like a treasure in my heart. I can only imagine how it must feel to finally BE married.

  2. I truly LOVE that last paragraph. It is so beautifully described and resonates for me in relation to knowing I am pregnant again finally – like lace and fine stitches closing a wound. I hope it stays closed!

  3. Love everything about this!

  4. Our lawyer sent out an email that day and part of what it said was you can now apply for step parent status – RR will be legally yours.

  5. Beautifully said, and so true. We were finally married last summer, and even after a year I still grin every time I speak the words “my wife” in casual conversation. It is powerful, and wonderful, and although it makes me happy to say it, I agree with your fabric analogy, because that awareness of my words comes from the preceding 11 years of confusion and uncertainty. I find myself referring to my wife more often now, because I know I will be understood, and seen. Congratulations and enjoy!

  6. It really is amazing how it changes everything. We have 6 legally married years together, and I still feel so happy when I hear either of us say, “my wife.” It never gets old. I’ve often thought about how I wish marriage were a “thing” that we could buy insurance for. I don’t know what I’d ever do if I lost it.

  7. So wonderful. We just got an amended birth certificate for our son, since we were technically legally married when he was born. It’s such a huge relief and really the feeling is indescribable.

  8. I just can’t wait until that feeling comes to us. The day that we can finally be married, 11 years ago – I just came to terms that we wouldn’t get married – but now we have a kid and it’s different. I don’t expect it to feel different, being 11 years in, but I still can’t wait to shout it from the rooftops that we are married. Congratulations, ladies!! I’m so glad you get to feel that!

  9. I just saw this two seconds ago and instantly thought of you: https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/newsarticle?articleId=6827
    You’re in Virginia, right? (Or am I losing my mind?) So now you can BOTH be legal parents to RR, right?!

  10. It IS different. And it MAKES a difference too. And you know what? You don’t have to be done talking about it! Forever is yours.

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