When my husband and I got married, we weren’t thinking clearly.

That Christmas, we woke up on an air mattress in his sister’s living room in Ohio, and I turned to him and said, “Want to get married?” He blinked, and nodded.

We’d discussed marriage previously, from multiple vantage points. Both of us have been married before, both went through the lengthy process of divorce (rock on, California), and both of us, while most definitely in love, were also, understandably, gun-shy.

Marriage is riding the same bullet. You hurtle into space on an unknown trajectory you have little to no control over.

Neither of us had been divorced for very long. I was still reeling from the death of my mother. C had recently gone through a not-fun custody arbitration. We were fluttering messes of vulnerability.

But for some reason, bobbing around on that air mattress, I suddenly knew it was time.

My first marriage was Traditional. White dress. White church. Pianist. Religious readings. Bridesmaids and best men and flower girls with petals and a ring bearer. The big procession and hoo hah and oh my god get me out of here. Did I know that day something was wrong? Yes. Did I blithely sail down the aisle on the arm of one man and back on the arm of another? Yes.

Ten years can go so slowly and so fast.

This time, in a small town in Ohio for the holidays, and surrounded by C’s family, the idea of marriage suddenly had shape and form. His first marriage happened while on a Broadway tour and none of his folk were there. I had no desire to relive the paper doll aspect of my first go-around.

Your mom and your aunt can go to town, I said. It’ll be great.

Also, we had C jr with us. She would be an integral part of the process.

After announcing our idea to C’s family, here’s what happened in rapid succession over the next five days:

– Cheering and hugs
– Color scheme courtesy of C’s aunt: turquoise and silver
– Lockdown on the Mayor to perform the ceremony
– Lockdown on the venue which would be the steps of the courthouse
– C jr made two rings out of embroidery floss
– I washed my hair

Throughout the flurry I was blissfully calm. Potluck dinner after the ceremony? Perfect. C jr. would carry a small bouquet? Fantastic. Gone were the days of growing my own flowers for the wedding. Gone was the designing and assembling of wedding invitations. Gone was the preliminary “counseling” with the minister who conducted my first wedding.

The minister had asked me what I would change about my husband-to-be and in a fit of terror that I would answer the question honestly, I blurted I wished he’d do the laundry more.

This time, the only demand I made was that the ceremony be very, very short. No one was giving me away because, dammit, I was the one making this decision. We would stand on the courthouse steps, in jeans, with C jr., in front of a hastily gathered, lovingly supportive group of family and friends, and be married by the same man who cut C’s hair as a child.

We would exchange simple vows, slide on the rings C jr had made, and shiver with delight in the cold Ohio air of December 31.

In two days, we celebrate our five-year anniversary.

Like I said, we weren’t thinking clearly. Thank god.

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