Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Do and I Did

“Love is the emblem of eternity: it confounds all notion of time:
effaces all memory of a beginning, all fear of an end.” --Germaine De Stael

If getting married was a sport, I’d be an Olympian! Gene Nelson and I entered into holy matrimony on June 6th. But to tell you the truth, it’s an absolute miracle that we ever crossed the Finish Line. There were a number of obstacles lying in our path.

About a week before the wedding date, Gene asked me what documents we needed to bring with us to the Travis County Clerk’s office to obtain a marriage license. As I looked online, I found a qualifying sentence that deeply disturbed me. It read:

If you have divorced and your divorce was final within the last 30 days,you must bring a certified copy of your divorce decree which states the thirty-day waiting period has been waived.

I just about had a heart attack. My divorce had been granted on February 18th, but in Massachusetts there is a 90-day waiting period before it is finalized by the judge. That meant my divorce was finalized on May 20th. Our wedding date was June 6th…only 17 days after the final divorce date. What was I to do?!

I called my divorce attorney in Massachusetts. He didn’t answer his office phone or his cell phone. I sent him an e-mail. Rather than waiting on him to get back to me, I called my mother to find out the name of the attorney she had originally thought I could use for the divorce.

Nancy Yates Anglin, attorney-at-law in Hamilton, Texas, quietly listened to my story, injecting a few questions here and there. When I finished, she began looking through her law books for information, but said she’d never actually done a waiver to the Texas 30-day waiting period. She didn’t think there would be any problem getting a waiver signed, seeing that I had already sent out invitations, ordered the cake and reserved the church. I was grateful for Nancy’s optimism, and we scheduled an appointment for the next day.

She told me to bring a copy of my divorce papers to my appointment, so I began to search in all the usual places. I couldn’t find them! I drove up to the Ranch to search there. I still couldn’t find them. I gathered up all my files and returned to Austin, searching through them again and again when I arrived. Nothing. I tried to stay optimistic.

I finally heard back from my attorney, who then informed me that the document I’d received from the court was not the final decree. He still had to get that from the court. That information nearly sent me over the edge. He assured me that I was divorced, and he would fax a copy of the decree and other divorce papers to my Texas attorney before my appointment.

When I arrived at Nancy’s office in Hamilton, which is a 1 ½ hour drive from Austin, she informed me that they had not received anything from my divorce attorney. I called him from my cell phone, and he assured me he was on his way to the courthouse. (Did I mention that during the course of my divorce, my attorney had brain surgery and was getting a divorce himself?) My confidence began to waiver when he called me back and let me know that the printer at the Edgartown courthouse was broken. He’d have to go back the next morning. (“And how much is that going to cost me?” I wondered.) By noon the next day, my divorce attorney had the Decree Absolute, had overnighted me a copy and faxed a copy to Nancy.

Meanwhile, Nancy had placed a call to the judge, requesting 10 minutes of her time on the Tuesday before my wedding. She had an opportunity to discuss the matter over the phone and she faxed the judge a copy of the Waiver Order she’d drawn up. The judge agreed to sign it on Tuesday and made time in her schedule. I was told I didn’t need to be at the Coryell County Courthouse in Gatesville, but I drove up there anyway. I wanted that signed piece of paper in my hot, little hands, leaving nothing to chance.

The judge had a good laugh at my expense and ribbed me a bit, all in fun, before signing the order. The judge, in her entire career on the bench, had never encountered such a situation. She wished me much happiness, and as I waited outside the courtroom for my attorney to get the order registered by the County Clerk, I could just barely hear the judge talking about my case with two other female attorneys. The courtroom was atwitter.

The next morning, which was Wednesday, about 10AM, Gene and I met at the Travis County Clerk’s office to file for the marriage license. Couples must obtain a marriage license at least 72 hours prior to the wedding. My wedding was scheduled for 1PM on Saturday. We had just scooted under the wire. Whew!

By that afternoon, Gene was experiencing a Cold Feet Attack. Gene had been speaking to his attorney, who he’d sent a wedding invitation. Gene’s attorney called, whipping up a frenzy, insistent that Gene execute a Pre-Nuptial Agreement because of issues from his last divorce. This heaped a pile of unnecessary anxiety onto Gene’s mound of pre-wedding jitters. [Note: Gene’s attorney did not show up at the wedding….good thing, too.]

Following the question of whether I would sign a pre-nup, to which I agreed, Gene began talking of wanting to take a vacation, and presuming I might not be able to take time off from work, he was already making provisions to go with a friend. The combination of those two items mentioned in one breath 3 days before our wedding, along with my state of PMS, could’ve resulted in severe head trauma for Gene or at least him being slapped seriously baldheaded. But, the meds I take are absolutely marvelous.

“The loving are the daring.” --Bayard Taylor

I chewed on the information he’d laid in my lap for about 30 minutes and then asked if we could talk. I calmly explained to him how I felt and why my feelings were hurt. Gene suddenly shared how much it hurt him when he realized he had hurt my feelings and confessed all the fears he’d had. He told me how much he really loved me. I just had to smile and all those hurt feelings fizzled away. We hugged and cuddled for quite some time, amazed at how the week’s stressful events had wheedled a wedge in between us.

Amazing to both of us, that day was a real turning point for our relationship. Gene no longer wanted a pre-nup, decided to wait and travel when I could go with him, and solidified his commitment and love for me. I had never experienced anyone feeling hurt from unintentionally hurting me. I had never experienced this kind of love from a man. I already knew what a special man Gene was, but it was amazing to see how open and honest communication brought new light to bear on our relationship and elevated our feelings to the next level of love and commitment.

Successfully navigating all the hurdles in our way, Gene and I were able to walk down the aisle together as husband and wife, crossing that Finish Line in peace and harmony and adoration. We both earned our Gold Medals of Love!

“What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined... to strengthen each other... to be at one with each other in silent unspeakable memories.” --George Eliot

We Did and We Do, Y’all!!

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