This year marks the 10th anniversary of my wedding to W. As part of the celebration, I will be documenting our relationship from the proposal up to the wedding, and each year up to our 10th anniversary.
Were where we? Ah, yes: Puerto Rico, 2006-07 holiday break. With a suitcase packed full of goodies only sold stateside, W and I went back home. Our main goal was to enjoy the beach and reserve the reception hall. W’s dad was part of a fraternity that had a very nice catered space with a built in bar. In our culture a party is a success if it has three things: good food, great music, and high-end beverages. As experienced hosts we decided to go for the WOW factor. It had to be, wait for it, Legendary! Between the discounts, amenities and no local/state sales tax we were way ahead budget-wise. I bought a Hot Topic shirt that said “No Snow, No Tax, No Problem”.
Expectations are a funny thing. We both wanted a dream wedding but our views on the subject were completely irreconcilable. I wanted a catholic ceremony but W did not want to get confirmed because he didn’t believe in the Church anymore…. Strike one! In good faith, I capitulated in favor of a civil ceremony with the caveat that he owed me one. After he agreed, we started tracking down people to spread the news which relied heavily on word of mouth because not everyone had access to the internet or mobile phones. After the first pass, the guest list had 325 people!
Shortly after the news went out my engineering team decided to send me on a trip to Japan. 🌏🏭🍣 Due to budget constraints my company could only afford sending us for a half day meeting in June. W didn’t want to tag along since traveling for just one day would be “wasteful” but he quickly changed his mind when my manager approved extending the trip an extra three days to save on airfare. 💺✈🍽🍶
We had always wanted to go to Tokyo, a bright lights, anime and technology paradise. Nerdvana. Between the train from Narita International Airport, the beautiful but rainy Yokohama and the Kirin brewery tour we fell in love with the people and sights. 🤩😍Realizing we hadn’t picked a honeymoon destination, and wanting to keep the travel bug alive, I started to campaign for Barcelona. For some strange reason that did not go over well… Strike two!
The IOU was worthless! W kept saying he wanted to spend his first New Year’s as a married man with HIS family. 🤨😥😤 Unmoved by his resistance to cut the umbilical cord I kept proposing locales:
Paris (overdone); Germany (it snows); Australia (too far); Fiji (might as well stay in the Caribbean); St Maarten (bought the ring there, already done that); San Francisco…(No). I planned to fly us back to the Pacific Northwest the day after the wedding just to spite him. He refused! Ugh! Why was he hijacking all of the aspects of the wedding planning that were important to me? Was it a power play? I have asked him the question a few times throughout out marriage and all he has volunteered has been that 23 to 27 year old W was an a-hole. 🤪🤯
The constant refusal of my wants based on the unknowns from his side of the equation made me wary of getting super excited about the whole affair. For all intents and purposes I wasn’t getting a fair deal. I tried my best to assumed good intent but we all know the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We pinned the discussion for after the engagement event. Future us problems. To complicate matters my grandfather started to look unwell. His ticker (heart) wasn’t in the best shape, a combination of drinking, stress and genetics. Nothing could have ever stopped him before, not even old age.
At a spry 80 years old, this self-made man and Korean War vet was equal part genius and part Energizer Bunny. His brain was razor-sharp and witty, but he had an unexplicable penchant for climbing – and falling off – ladders that drove us crazy. He was the sweetest and boldest gentleman I have ever known. When I got my offer letter Layo, as we called him, packed my bags and encouraged me to take the leap and move 3,000 miles away. “We will be fine, nena. Go chase your dreams. We already made ours come true. Send us pictures via email.” That strong handsome old man, who twirled his grandkids in his arms right after coming home from work, appeared weaker, smaller, and frail in the birthday and holiday pictures I got in return. However, his goofy big smile never wavered.
Call me sentimental but I always felt I’d be lost without him. Guess what he did when I told him this? He gave me a road atlas! This was before Google Maps and GPS was popular. I prayed his health held up even if he couldn’t walk me down the aisle. He was very much a father to me as he was to my mother, his first born daughter. I asked W to move the wedding ceremony, not the reception, up a year. We were already “living in sin”, something my grandpa approved of because portarse bien es aburrido, so it shouldn’t be a big deal. For a man who had been so blasé about proposing his denial of my request, bases on a very dismissively optimistic outlook of the situation hit me hard. We already had the rings – I saw a sale that we couldn’t pass up – which in essence meant we were good to go. 🤔🤔🤔 The official countdown clock read a year and few months to go for the event of the century. 😎
Little did I know that W’s aloof attitude about my grandpa’s health would become the central focus of Strike 3…
The Wedding Trilogy will continue next time on Engagement, Year Three: The Final Countdown.