“You’re my favorite wife, and I’ve been married four times.” It’s our favorite joke. It took four attempts to legalized our same-sex marriage, and two domestic partnerships, a Jewish wedding, and a legal marriage later, we finally get to receive the benefits of marriage, such as filing our taxes jointly.
It’s been four years since our real wedding, the one under the chuppah with our family and friends present. It had rained the night before, and I worried our outdoor wedding would miss out on the beauty of the Oakland hills. The morning brought sunshine, and it was a beautiful day, complete with goats munching on grass in the next park over. That day, so excited about marrying the most fantastic person in my life, I nuzzled her nose with mine under the chuppah, before it was time for our faces to touch. It was a beautiful celebration of amazing people, and I was so grateful to have accepting family who loved us for who we are.
Last week, for Shavuot, we returned to where we got married and ran the steps with the girls. They were fascinated with the reflecting pool at Joaquin Miller Park, playing at the water’s edge until we called them back. They listened to the nighttime crickets as we sang zemirot (Jewish songs), watching the Bay skyline twinkle with lights. It had been a tough day for us – there was lots of crying and general annoyances – but it was so beautiful in the evening. Sitting on the giant stone steps – the same steps where our guests sat four years before – I marveled at our children’s newness. They have been part of our family for almost five months, but I marveled that they weren’t around for our wedding. Our family now feels incomplete without them.
I am grateful for Kate for so many reasons, including that she is a great co-parent. As the day wears on, my patience lessens, and I rely on my instincts – assert my dominance. You may not treat me like that! That hurts my feelings! I scream in my brain. Such thoughts are useless for parenting a traumatized seven year old, though, and I am so grateful for Kate’s patience, compassion, and ability to love no matter what.
I am also grateful that Kate likes to drink alcohol. For a year I pined for the redheaded beauty, a woman who I wanted to date since the moment I met her. At the time, I had a boyfriend of three years. Every time Kate and I hung out, he affably joked about my crush. By the time of the Nehirim retreat for LGBT Jews and allies, the boyfriend was gone and I was old enough to bring tequila to camp. As the bonfire glowed in the background, Kate’s hand found mine, and my heart was elated. For the two weeks before she was officially my girlfriend, she repeated the mantra that I was too young for her. By month three, we were engaged.
Our relationship has never been by the books. We are extremely silly, but always practical. We lead with our hearts, which is why we decided to adopt children while I was in law school. Kate quit her science job so she could organize religious communities. I quiet my job organizing religious communities so I could go to law school and teach community college. I fell in love with her heart before I fully knew it, and I have never looked back.
Happy anniversary, Kate, the love of my life, my beshert, my better half. I do not know how I was lucky enough to find you, but I am so lucky that we get to be on this ride together. You are my everything.