Five years ago today I married the girl of my dreams, Felicity Marie Fenton (also know as myself). To celebrate this day, I've drafted up a new set of vows (see below) to add to the original vows first printed in our wedding album. Those can be seen HERE.
But first, I'd like to talk about something that happened to me last night.
I fell off my bike. It was a slow, clumsy fall, triggered by gravity and a heavy basket fixed to the front of my handlebars. I was leaving work, and as I was turning left onto 10th avenue, my tires, instead of gliding over the tram tracks as they usually do, wobbled inside the track. Down I went. And on the way I hit my head rather hard on the plastic bumper of a parked car. I stood from the fall, shaking, checking my helmet for any cracks and rotated my neck to make sure I hadn't injured it. Two young guys helped me off of the street onto the sidewalk and asked me if I was ok. I wasn't sure. I took a step forward and an agonizing pain seized my right knee. "Fuck" I said. "I think I really messed up my knee." The young guys brought over an orange plastic chair from the restaurant next door. I sat down and pulled up my pant leg to assess my knee. The knee cap was red and swelling into lumpy mess before my eyes. I told the young guys I'd be ok and they left. I tried to stand up from the chair and yowled like an animal. The pain consumed me. I thought about wild animals and what they do when they break bones (they usually die). I thought about how I was going to take care of Beckett while hobbling on one leg, my rapidly growing and demanding toddler. I thought about little things like making a cup of tea and putting on underpants, and how simple those things are when you have two working knees. I thought about all the people who hobble along every day of their lives and how that hobbling is their life.
A woman in scrubs approached and asked me if I needed anything. "Ice" I said. "And another chair to prop my leg up onto." She grabbed both for me from the restaurant next door and gently helped me out of my shoe and propped my leg up with ice on the chair. She said she had to get back to work at the Vet's office, but assured me she wouldn't leave if I needed her. I told her I'd be fine, that my husband would come and get me. I felt like I couldn't thank her enough and wanted to get her address and send her a gift certificate to a chocolate sauna. But I was too sore and she was in a hurry.
I called Michael. When he answered I began to cry. "I fell off my bike and fucked up my knee. I think it's smashed. My knee is smashed."
Four hours later, after watching random strangers talk about their ailments in the emergency room, I learned that my kneecap was indeed broken. "You have a fractured patella honey." The sweet-faced doctor told me.
And so here I am on the marriage anniversary to myself, more obviously in two parts. Ass in one chair and heavily wrapped leg in another. The ass-in-chair part of me is mostly healthy and content and the leg-in-chair part of me is gimping along, sometimes fearfully. Two parts making up the balanced and blissful union that is life.
Now for the vows:
I will remind you when you are thinking too much about things that don't exist in the moment.
When you stub your toe on the cat in the middle of the night I'll make sure to bring you an ice pack.
When you need space for yourself I will carve it out and give it to you, even if that space is in a plastic bucket, in a dollhouse or in a hotel room in Tokyo.
I will honor your need to create and root you on with the most magnificent pom-poms.
I will help you simplify your life. I'll clean your closet, cook you food from the garden and spend less of your cash on crap you don't need.
I'll persuade you to have fun when you have to file your taxes or clean the gunk out of the bottom drawer in the fridge.
I'll help you remember what is most important.
I'll teach you how to dance using only one leg.
I won't judge you for sitting and watching television about budding fashion designers on the internet.
I'll love all of you without expectations or conditions. I'll love the in-between part of your toes as they dry and crack and produce that smell that reminds you of smoked gouda. I'll love the back of your hair despite how messy it may be. I'll love your bottom lip every time it gets a cold sore. I'll love your ear wax. I'll love your knees - especially the right one.