We hadn't been together for very long before M decided to join us. And getting pregnant didn't make us want to get legally married - we are both of the mindset that we don't need a judicial system to help us define our love and commitment so the idea of a wedding or marriage wasn't something that we'd put on the table as a result of M.
However, her appearance made us realize we wanted to do something to communicate to the world that we'd become a family. We decided that we'd both change our names to a name that fits how we want to live our lives. We labored for months about the right name, and at one point were fairly well set on an acronym for a phrase we like: Truth and Love in Action. Talia sounded like a terrific last name until I (thanking the almighty) said it out loud in a sentence.
Hi, I am Jen Talia. Or worse, Jenny Talia. Nice to meet you.
And we were THIS CLOSE to filing the paperwork. I'll wait till you are done laughing at our stupidity before continuing. Needless to say we went with another option.
Anyways, we were trekking around Central America during my 2nd trimester, feeling the need for a trip before our world changed. While we were in Belize J-Dog started acting a bit suspiciously - disappearing for a while, hushed conversations, etc. I knew something was up but I had no idea what.
One morning he said he had a surprise. We walked over to the ocean and a catamaran was sitting on the dock. He had rented it to take us out into the Caribbean, complete with two old and salty Belizean sailor types. The day was perfect. Water a deep turquoise, visibility for miles. J-Dog asked me to sit down and be serious. I started to giggle and fidget.
He pulled out a piece of paper and a small bag. He had written the most beautiful words about love and partnership and about how he was committed to making this life with me, about how much he loved me and the baby inside, and invited me to make a family with him, for better and worse. He opened the bag and had some wooden rings inside, a few different and inexpensive pieces, yet they suited me perfectly. He said I could wear or not wear them, but knew I liked variety and wanted me to have choices. They were lovely, his words were lovely, and at one point he asked me if I would be his life partner, and I said yes.
He then stood up and yelled to the old Belizean men "She said YES! She said YES!" and they whooped and cheered and brought over a plastic tub of rum punch and toasted our happiness.
Simple, private, and perfect.
We've realized since that while this has made us happy, at some point we might like to have a celebration of sorts - not sure yet what we'd call it - that our friends and family can attend. We'd like to wait till M is a bit older, so she'll remember it and can participate. For now, we have done exactly enough to suit us.
That doesn't mean we don't have to defend our decision to family, or that folks don't get confused when I call him my partner or because of our last name, assume we're married and call him my husband. And none of it matters, because he is all of those things to me anyways. It doesn't mean it'll always be this way, or that we won't choose something else later. It just means we're playing it loose.
He’s the warmest chord I ever heard