Thursday, February 14, 2008

Going to the Chapel...

Ok, it's Valentine's Day. You already know how Urban Dad and I got together. Now for the wedding story.

It had been seven years since that Auto Show. SEVEN. But the thing is, I was the one just hanging on to how things were. I mean, was it broken? Did it need fixin'?

We had moved in together a year earlier, but I continued to hold out on getting married. I had so rarely ever seen it WORK. I knew only a tiny number of people who could say, 10 years later, "ooooo boy am I glad I did that!" Add the kids he wanted into the equation and my only thought became "no single mom thing for me, thank you."

Finally, on a Thursday in October, at 4am, he was tossing, turning, huffing, puffing. Since he wasn't sleeping, obviously I wasn't going to either. And so the conversation began.

As the conversation went on, it became apparent that this was the "now or never" moment. While he did not use these words, I knew my choices: Marry him and start a family, or let him go and let him find someone else. (If this doesn't sound like the most romantic proposal ever, don't sweat it. Keep in mind that he had been trying for about two years. I think there were three "proposals" during that time.)

Someone else? Oh hell no!

We opted to not tell anyone about our "engagement." I was subbing at Great Big Urban High, so after school, we took off for City Hall to get a marriage license. We planned to get this wedding done this weekend. He had to move now while he had the "yes!" I looked at the plastic "Marriages This Way" sign in the basement and just couldn't do it. We could do better.

On Friday, we asked a friend of ours to officate. He was a security guard at GBUH who was also an ordained Baptist minister. He sometimes teased us about doing a little something in the garden at lunch. He had to leave town for the weekend, though!

Saturday was spent trying to figure out when and where to do this.

Finally, we settled on our living room. Monday afternoon. My mom made plans to attend. Urban Dad had yet to notify anyone, although I kept suggesting his best friend and best friend's wife might like to come. Finally, late Sunday night, he called them. God love them, they cleared the time!

On Monday, Urban Dad asked our security guard/minister, who agreed. And who was also terrified -- he didn't have the right clothes, he'd never done a wedding and wanted time to look things up, etc. We offered him an internet connection and told him not to worry about the rest.

Monday after school, I went home, changed into my nicest suit. We had filled the living room with white roses and lillies. Urban Dad was having a hard time hurrying out of the building without giving anything away. I watched "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and waited.

Finally, our little crew assembled. Our Baptist minister, my Catholic guy, Methodist me and my mom, and our Jewish witnesses. And in all of this diversity, we got the job done. I was shaking so hard afterwards that I needed that glass of champagne.

My mom was so excited to not have to deal with a big wedding that she offered to take us anywhere in Chicago for dinner that we wanted. We opted for the Ritz Carlton. (the restaurant has since closed, so it was a good choice)

On Tuesday, I took the day off and ran around downtown doing the name-change, getting the new license and passport, etc.

On Wednesday, we told people at GBUHS. A teacher eloped with a sub? Word travelled like wildfire, and the behind-our-backs question was "is she pregnant?" Many people shook my hand, congratulated me, and their eyes flicked downward, then back up to my eyes.

Ahhhh, let 'em figure it out.

We haven't looked back since. Sometimes you have to get out of the wading pool, strap on the weights and jump into the deep end.

Seven weeks later, I was pregnant. Urban Kid 1 came in September.

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