Saturday, December 4, 2010

Just a piece of paper.

Patrick and I had a baby out of wedlock. Scandalous, I know.

So scandalous that when I first found out about my unexpected pregnancy last year, I immeditately threw myself in a wedding-planning frenzy. It didn’t matter I really hadn’t known Patrick well enough at that juncture to embark on “forever” with him; if getting married meant quelling all the looming gossip and speculation from my friends and family over the surprise baby, then sign me up. I’m all in.

Plus, I guess there was that giddy and na├»ve side to me that couldn’t believe my good fortune in being able to “have it all” in one go. Seemingly overnight, I was on the verge of being a wife AND a mother in a single year. Isn’t this what schoolgirl dreams are made of? A fairytale fantasy of bagging the bad boy and his baby in one fell swoop?


Except I should have known better. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Always. Halfway through planning my shotgun wedding, things all sort of blew up in my face in an embarrassingly ugly debacle. Patrick and I tried to but ultimately couldn’t get married before King was born and months later I’m still trying to heal and figure out what truly happened in the midst of such pivotal life changes. If stories about forbidden love spiked with a couple extra shots of baby hormones are your thing, I’m writing it all down in The Making Of King.

So after the wedding was called off, I all but gave up on ever having that one day where I will be the ultimate princess decked out in my stunning lace gown and offwhite Louboutin shoes. My hair, meticulously shaped into a side-swept chignon, is magazine-ready as I march gracefully down the rose-petaled aisle. And my parents, one in each arm, walk me down proudly as they swallow bittersweet tears from finally having to let their little girl go. The string quartet plays a funky rendition of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” until I reach the alter where my dad gives Mr. Amazing my hand and reminds him, “Be good to her.”

Funny thing is after we called off the wedding and had our baby, Patrick is becoming my "Mr. Amazing." GASP I know, but better late than never. And I usually don't openly acknowledge my fondness of him on the days he wants to be sweet (since I pretend to be a cynical pessimist anyway. It's the writer in me) but maybe...maybe he will be the one for me. Maybe we are very good together in that forever sort of way. Maybe this is it.

But I had my chance at having a real wedding—you know, with bridesmaids, limos, and an open bar—and I am okay with never going back there again. Heck, I might even be okay with never marrying Patrick. After all, marriage is just a piece of paper, right?

“I really think Patrick and I have a shot at truly making things work,” I told a family friend last week. “I want a house, a future, and…more babies with him?”

“Do you think you will get married then?” she asked.

“No. Yes. I mean, we are practically an old married couple now so it wouldn’t really matter. Marriage is just a piece of paper. A wedding is just an expensive piece of paper.”

“But I think deep down, you would want a wedding still,” she prods.

“No, almost been there and done that. It won’t—it can’t—happen again,” I try to explain.

“You want a wedding and being married does mean something,” she says with a wink in her eye.

No, no you’re wrong. Everything with Patrick and me is finally almost all okay. We are happy and being married is not important to me anymore. Proclaiming our love and commitment to one another in a wedding ceremony is not necessary. Being married won't magically guarantee he will not let me down again or I will never hurt him. Because I will, and he will, and being married doesn’t change what we will do to each other anyway. It won’t and I don’t want it, I don’t, I...I do.

I do.


  1. My husband and I had the odd experience of growing up together, having met half our lives ago. We dated all through high school and undergrad, lived together for three years, and our finances were mutual. Since our wedding, people are asking, "So, how are things now that you're married?"

    Precisely the same. We have legal protection were the other to bail some years down the road. We had a very fun party with the people who love us, and got to enjoy some alone time on an excellent vacation. But otherwise, life is much like it was for us a year ago, two years ago, three years ago.

    But it's totally worth it.

  2. I've been so busy as of late I've forgotten how much I really enjoy reading your work. My husband and I had the big wedding after 7 months of dating. I'm so glad we went through it all but at the end of the day, it is a piece of paper that binds you together. You have King to bind you...that is much more solid and if you can love each other in the process....even better. That's all that matters.

  3. i'm patiently waiting for another chapter of the king story...

  4. I didn't realize how much getting married meant to me until my husband's sister and his brother got married (not to each other!) in the same year. C and I had been living together and had even bought our own place. We were practically married, but still I'd wanted the whole shebang --the wedding, the cake, the gown, the bridesmaids. It's like I needed that to legitimize 'us' (and not in a legal sense). That's just me, though. I have friends who are totally fine with not ever getting hitched and they've been with their partners for years and have children. To each his own. :)

  5. I had the same attitude for a long time when I realized the chance of having the wedding I wanted had passed, but I will say, having gotten the piece of paper, even in a humble little wedding...that it makes all the difference :). You'll see.

    And I'm with Candice..can't WAIT for another chapter of the Making of King..or more pics of your big boy! He looks like he's almost one, and is ADORABLE as EVER!!

  6. As Buckeroomama said "To each his own."

    I've always wanted to get married for a number of reasons (a lot of them more practical than romantic although the diehard romantic in me cringes at that) and I still can't wait for the day that I do. In the same way, I know so many people who are wonderfully happy just living together, raising children together without being married. It really is a matter of preference. Don't let anyone put pressure on you. You know your own heart.

  7. :) I know you do. Even though it's "just a piece of paper", you want that piece of paper because you can see him clearly in your life now and in the future :)

  8. I hate weddings wish a passion. I love romance, and I love love, but weddings? Can't stand them. Maybe it's me thinking that most are impersonal and fake, but I cringe with every invitation I receive.

    Yet I'm beyond excited to get married. There are no words. I've had relationships in the past that have made me feel like a marriage wouldn't mean much as the next step, but this one is different. I guess that's how I know it's right.

    I think there can be something truly magical to getting married if you want there to be. Follow your heart, no matter the logic.

  9. The day we got married didn't change a thing for us. Our love was the same, our commitment was the same...our desire to be with each other was the same. I woke up the next my same self. Just now married.

    However. I LOVE being married. I love that he is my HUSBAND. I love that we have committed in a public way to always be with each other. Although if I had to do it again, I'd just go to a private little beach and spend half as much as we did, lol.

  10. It's totally up to you and Patrick as to whether or not you get married. And regardless of the title, you know that you love each other. That's what counts. I totally understand how you feel, though. I felt conflicted about the topic. Additionally, people have said some pretty ridiculous things because of my having a baby and being unmarried:

  11. Gary and I went to the Justice of the Peace. Gary thinks it is because of money. We bought a house the same day. The real reason is that I didn't want to be up in front of people.

    I am glad you are happy with your decision. Who needs a big fancy wedding any way?

    : )


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