Well, we're back. Instead of doing it in a comment on that last post let me just say here thank you all for the well wishes and congratulations in both comments and e-mail. I know online relationships can be somewhat impersonal, but it did mean a lot to see my inbox full of good tidings from you all. Thank you very much.
We had a beautiful time; maybe even the best vacation we've taken. It's funny, we were reminded of what we were there for right as we got in. Every trip we take Rob has to drive the car the whole time because he rents it and picks it up while I take care of the kids. Unless you're legally married, you're not automatically added to the rental car contract. In California, this would be the last time that happens. Damn, I'll have to drive next time ;-).
With a bit of change in plans we went to Lego Land right after we got into San Diego. We were just too excited. And, you bet, that was fun, but, with the lines, even the boys ranked it at about 4th on their list the things we did, which is saying something about the rest of the trip.
After Lego Land, a bit of a commercial here, we ate at one of our favorite pizza places in San Diego, Pizza Bella, in "Old Town" (Some of the buildings there are rumored to be over 50 years old! Take that, Paris.). Anyway, Rob and I used to eat there about once a week and it is always good. Get the pizza with the works and the salad with the pesto dressing, delicious. On top of that it has a great courtyard in which the kids can have a sword fight.
The next morning we had our big appointment with the county clerk.
Again, we didn't want to dress up too much, hence the Hawaiian shirts on the boys. I have to say, that gentleman you can barely see there in the background, around his 80's, he and his husband of 51 years got legally married just before us. When I told them we had been together for 16 years, they were, of course, unimpressed and said our family had many wonderful years to go. I love it when the universe adds those little extra bits of beauty to beauty. Life may as well have street signs.
That wonderful couple took our picture as we waited.
I even got butterflies again. Thank goodness the waiting area was populated by children more noisy and antsy than ours :-).
Finally, they brought us into their "chapel", which may have been their old storage room. Nothing fancy, but it served its legal purpose. We made our vows, again, and once again we said "I do." Once again, I choked up, and again I gave him my ring and he gave me his. This time though our boys saw us promise to keep their family together, "forsaking all others"; they held and handed those rings, those symbols of that promise to us. This time we were legally married, bound. While I'll never want to diminish that first day I said "I do" with all those friends and family by our side, I have to admit this day was very special too, in its own way.
And it did feel a bit different to know the state would be there to protect them, from tragedy, even from me. It felt great, in fact, for those couple days.
That, though, is certainly not the end. Off to the beach!
Yes, the beach is great, but the reviews paled in comparison to the tide pools we visited after lunch:
After about 4 hours and 8 coats of sunscreen we had to bribe the boys away from the fish, snails, and crabs with food. This was rated the most fun activity of the trip; save the Lego Land and Sea World money and go to La Jolla's tide pools.
Dinner, well, we had a reservation at our favorite fancy restaurant in San Diego, overlooking the water, but with twin 6-year-olds? We smartly canceled and went to the mall for dinner, yes, on our 13th anniversary/wedding night, where they'd have fun too:
How did I get so lucky? Really.
By far, that was our best anniversary yet. But that's not all. The next day we toured the Midway aircraft carrier, which Alan absolutely loved:
He even got to steer the ship:
Finally, we picked up an In-and-Out burger and went hiking in the spot Rob and I used to always go when we lived there, at Torry Pines State Park:
It was a perfect end to a perfect vacation. We talked a lot about moving back to California even... but we are undeniably Utahns, all our family (the kid's extended family, more importantly) is in Utah, and so on... Anyway, we then got on the plane, landed back home and were no longer legally married.
Last night we easily put the boys to bed, I laid on the couch with my ex, and we watched the Daily Show as we always do just before bed. But I actually felt there, and feel now pretty secure in the knowledge that he won't forever be my legal-ex, even in Utah. No prejudice, misunderstanding, superstition, selfishness or even hate can live up to stark facts of family, maybe even especially in Utah. One has reason to be hopeful, right?