On the evening of July 22, 2006, Brad and I were married beneath the south face of Mount Superior.
What a blessing, to share this life with a man I love, respect, adore, learn from, teach, laugh with, and lean on.
Our wedding, a gorgeous and generous gift from my parents, was beautiful and casual; friends played banjos and guitars as I walked down the aisle, a local Mexican place catered, we drank margaritas and Two Buck Chuck.
I loved it. As you can see from this photo*, we had fun.
Our boys were in the wedding, too, with varying degrees of psyche.
Arnie couldn't wait to become a family:
Red had his doubts:
Our dear friend Bill is with us in the first photo. We asked him to marry us, and he got ordained through a “church” on the Internet for the occasion. He offered thoughtful words of advice, two of my closest friends read poems, we exchanged the vows we’d written together, and it was done—-a quick ceremony without much fanfare or fancy.
Lots of people say, "I married my best friend." I probably said it, too. From where I sit now, though, I see that what I knew of Brad when I married him was just a fraction of who he is.
I knew he was kind, but I didn't know the extent to which he'd sacrifice for the people he loves. I knew he was driven, but I'd never seen the stoic focus he can muster when he needs it. I knew he loved animals, but I didn't know how much they loved him back, how easily they let him into their worlds.
About a week ago, hiking to a climbing area in Mammoth Lakes, we noticed a disturbance in a shrub.
"It's a chipmunk," I leaned in for a closer look. "And he's caught on something!"
Brad inspected the little guy, who was still flailing desperately.
"He's caught in fishing wire!" He said, acting fast and throwing a sweatshirt over the chipmunk to calm him down (amazingly, it worked; he stopped scurrying). I ran over to some fishermen and asked to borrow their knife. By the time I'd returned, Brad had removed the sweatshirt, and was crouching low next to the chipmunk, who was calm and staring up at us. I handed Brad the knife, and he'd reached down and freed the chipmunk before the poor thing even had time to get scared.
"Problem solved," Brad said, stuffing his sweatshirt back into his pack and handing me the knife.
He's something special. Many times, like when I see the delight in Arnie's face when Brad comes home from work, or when I meet someone who knew Brad as a scrappy twenty-something who led a hard 5.10 on his first day of climbing, I am humbled that he chose me.
Three years (and one day) ago, I never would have imagined that I was marrying a man with the compassion of a Golden Retriever, the drive of a warrior, the loyalty of a Heeler, and peacefulness of a, um....sea otter? Giant tortoise? Manta ray?
Or maybe, in my heart, I did know. Maybe that's why I felt--and continue to feel--so lucky.
*All photos courtesy of our dear friend Kolin.