A few weeks ago, I had the best seat in the house: I married my cousin. Actually, let’s clarify the aforementioned phrase: I officiated my cousin’s wedding to her real-life Ken-doll. But letting grammar bygones be bygones, when someone you’ve known since birth actually, finally, legitimately ties the knot, and you’re privileged not only to cheer them on, but you’re also allowed and invited and encouraged to utter a few words into the microphone, it’s nothing short of magical.
Even if you accidentally don’t use your former English teacher eyes to ensure your cut-and-paste of the vows is correctly worded. Because up until that point, everything’s gone smoothly: you’ve welcomed the crowd and you’ve gotten a few chuckles here and there. A homily has been spoken (and, you think, you feel, you really-do-believe that those words formulated in your wordy-insides were written just for them). And you’ve successfully recovered a fumble after pausing a bit too long after asking Ken-doll if he takes Kait to be his lawfully wedded wife.
I do! He’s enthusiastic. He takes this husband thing seriously. But we’re only one sentence in …wait a minute, you think to yourself, are you supposed to say your “I do’s” after every sentence, or merely at the end of the avowing paragraph? You pause again. You’ve only done this once before: you can’t remember such itty, bitty details such as these. Meanwhile, the audience wonders if your eight-month pregnant self has really lost it now – like, emotionally, can’t-handle-it, about-to-break-into-hysterics. You pause some more. You think hard, but between being knocked up and having spoken at camp to middle schoolers in the six days’ previous, you’re starting to feel a little tired. You confer with the judge standing to your right: Uh, how many times does he say “I do?” The judge points a lone index finger upward. You proceed.
And then it’s her turn. As you begin to read the perfectly worded vows of affirmation, the words that have been spoken for centuries, perhaps, by those entering into the sacrament of marriage, you feel a giddy, ethereal sense of elation. Man, I’m good at this marrying stuff, you think to yourself. You, your belly, Ken and Kait, and the rest of the community gathered around surely are Cloud Nine witnesses to this blessed, perfect moment.
“Kaitlin, do you take Ken to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
You look your cousin in the eyes.
You tilt your head to the side, sheepishly, hopelessly, romantically in love with this moment, with your spouse, with the perfection of shared union.
And then it hits you, just as it hits Kait and Ken and one hundred fifty other attendees: Mama didn’t edit her Word document all the way. Oh snaps. A giggle erupts. Laughter fills the outdoor air. You hear a snort, and you whisper a “Help me, Jesus,” but forgetting the microphone is right in front of you, so too the rest of the audience enters into what has suddenly become the holiest of petitions.
But really, you’re grateful. You’re grateful that laughter has finally invaded this place, just as you’re grateful that it was you who made the wordy foible instead of she who wears the lacy white dress. But mostly you’re just grateful that your brain can still operate in lightening-quick speed, ensuring all future nouns and pronouns in the remainder of the paragraph have properly been fixed.
For of this memories are made.
So, need a wedding officiant?
I’m ba-ack! Thanks for your grace as we traveled here, there and everywhere …and as I continue to rest when it comes to growing a small human. So, have you ever had a wordy foible such as this?