Banshee Bride

“Have no fear of perfection-you’ll never reach it.” -Salvador Dali

On Groundhog Day 2019, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow and I promised my new husband that for us, it will always be an early spring. 

James proposed on the last day of August. I was busily preparing to catch a flight to Boston for a week long trip with my girlfriends. As I stepped out of the shower, I was greeted by a naked, kneeling man. He grasped a goofy bauble ring between his fingers and his eyes glowed with a warm conviction. 

“You are the love of my life,” he said. “Will you marry me?” 

The moments that followed were among the happiest of my life. It took us only five months to envision and create our Salvador Dali meets Groundhog Day nuptials. 

It was even more extraordinary than it sounds. 

Over a decade ago, at the age of 19, I married the wrong person. Insight is always so astute in retrospect. We had a fine wedding up until the moment that someone replaced the water in the floating flower centerpieces with a handle of whiskey from the open bar. The chaos that ensued only ended when the inebriated groom broke several bones in his hand on a door. 

The next morning, I left my bloodied wedding dress on the floor of our suite. I hoped by doing so I could leave behind the heartbreak, too. Of course it did not work. We were separated within the year. 

This time around, fully confident in my choice of partner, I hoped to elope on the banks of Lake Lousie in Canada. Nothing fancy. Just us, Louise, our love, and our commitment to choose one another every day.

My sweet fiancé, unencumbered by the trauma of a wedding and marriage so disastrous that fiction could not write it so, wanted to celebrate. He wanted to stand next to me, tall and proud. And so we compromised. We settled on an intimate ceremony for immediate family and a cake and cocktail reception for the rest of our nearest and dearest. 

Our wedding was far from perfect. There was a tuxedo mishap, forgotten shoes and literal last minute alterations. We were hungover from the evening before. We mistimed our aisle entrance, leaving us standing awkwardly for what felt like far too long as Bill Withers finished crooning about a very lovely day. We forgot to cut our cake until after some of our guests had already left. And as we did, Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight” played. I regaled our guests with the tragic tale of when James first informed me that “aching head” might not mean what I think it means. 

Mr. Clapton, you old scallawag. 

Our wedding was far from perfect. It was wonderful and unforgettable all the same. And amidst the revelry, it occurred to me that the opportunity for celebration in this life is endless. 

We celebrate marriages and births of course. Sometimes we celebrate the lives of those we have lost, but mostly we just mourn them in silence and solitude. Maybe we celebrate new jobs or the purchase of a home. But these milestone celebrations are few, and there is so much life in-between. 

The life in-between is hard, and it is heavy. But if we care to see, there is extraordinary in the ordinary. At the greatest, most glorious celebration of my life, I realized that the stuff of everyday is worth celebrating just the same. 

A new leaf on a house plant. A birthday, no matter the age. A Monday. A Tuesday. A Wednesday. A Sunday. A passing smile on the street. A paid off credit card. A dinner party. An adventure. A friendship. A breakup. An apology. A trip to just about anywhere. A beautiful book. A hot cup of something. A poured glass of wine. A pile of fresh laundry. A long walk. A beach. A dream. A feeling. Learning to let go.

I used to think I would only be happy when I achieved each of life’s socially mandated milestones. Now I know that no matter what happens next, there will always be cause for celebration. 

15 thoughts on “Banshee Bride

  1. Congratulations on each of you finding your life partner! May your hearts always be filled with love, kindness, and patience. 🥂

  2. Having missed your posts, From time to time I had wondered about where life had taken you. Falling in love is an undeniably incredible experience and I could not be happier for someone that I only know through her transparent blog. Congratulations! You deserve every happiness. God has a plan and may He bless the two of you with a wonderful life together.

  3. Tears of happiness for you in Texas! So excited to see this good news, which is so well deserved! May you always give each other your best and forgive each other your worst, and may each day be an adventure.

  4. You are an incredibly clever, gifted writer. I’m sure others have told you, but would you consider putting your writings into a collection? I also have a ton of stories, as a social worker, and am told that I must write a book. IF a book seems like an overwhelming venture or if a co-writer could help keep one on track, perhaps we should consider writing a book together? I started this comment to write you a compliment, as I really enjoy your blog….you capture social work and LIFE perfectly (mine being equally fucked up at times)….and now I’ve had this idea of co-authoring. It’s probably the wine. We should think about it though. LOL

  5. As a retired MSW who worked exclusively in services to the acute and chronically mentally ill, I have followed your posts with understanding and empathy. I had wondered what happened to you because you haven’t posted in a long time. I was beyond delighted to read this post today…I wish you all the happiness in the world and hope you will keep us informed as life goes on for you.

  6. Congratulations, my friend. I am very happy for you both. Dreams do come true! Here’s to celebrating the extraordinary and the ordinary times of our lives. 💕

  7. You are a beautiful person and also, you were an absolutely gorgeous bride! Blessings to you and your husband. I love to hear from you! As a Social Worker in Iowa, you bring a much needed perspective to life. Please keep on writing. And celebrating LIFE!

  8. Wow all the best for you & as we say in Italian – cent’ani! Enjoy your beautiful life, and your awesome man, you deserve the best, honey. I love your Banshee site, love your work (as a fully retired “old hippie” social worker I’m on the other side of that part of life), love your precious attitude. So this last post about your wedding made me so happy, as I sit here under palm trees reading my morning emails, a snow-bird in Florida (who’d think?? but time happens :-). LOve you, Banshee! Peace, love & all good (a greeting used by St. Francis of Assisi, by the way.)

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