Last month, Jeff and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary with a vow renewal on Maui.
We have survived so many changes in the last 10 years, much of which happened our very first year together. To start off with 10 years ago, we had not one, but 2 weddings with a formal lunch and dinner for 250 guests.
Our wedding even made the New York Times Sunday Styles section!
Funny story about that. I submitted our wedding to the Sunday Styles during an extremely slow clinic day at Children’s Hospital Boston. And, then I totally forgot about it. You had to list the names of your parents, contact phone numbers, your pastor, etc. Like a month later, my dad calls me and says “Someone was trying to steal my identity. He was pretending he was from the New York Times, asking all of these personal questions, what was my name, who was my daughter. But, I knew better” Oops! Should have mentioned it to my parents! A second funny story about that article is that they called me and said they would *likely* run our wedding in the section, though they are not allowed to say so with certainty. However, the nice photo I submitted taken by Derek Wong, was not good, because the photo needed to have our heads at the same height I told the editor – that’s not possible, my husband is 11 inches taller than me! He said, I needed this pic yesterday, so email me something ASAP. So, the day before our wedding, my brother-in-law, Mark, who is NOT a professional photographer took our picture in the backyard at my mother-in-law’s house. The only make up I’m wearing is lipstick, and I don’t even know what I’m wearing. Mark laughs because his photo cred is still the first thing that pops up when you google his name!
During our honeymoon, we were actually negotiating the purchase of our practice in Honolulu (I’m writing a separate post on that), so it wasn’t exactly a relaxing honeymoon. Then it was back to Boston for Jeff to finish his fellowship in Cornea & Refractive Surgery. We made the decision to leave our academic affiliations in Boston and move 6,000 miles away to Hawaii to be closer to Jeff’s family. That first weekend in July that we moved out to Hawaii was the very same weekend we also found out that we were pregnant with our first child! And, on December 31, 2008, we closed on the purchase of our first ever home! Whew! My mother, who is a psychiatrist, said we experienced 5 life-changing events (marriage, moving, changing jobs, getting pregnant and buying a house) all in one year, that usually can cause global depression!
Now, we have 3 children and a thriving practice. I thought it would be a nice celebration of our marriage to renew our wedding vows while we were at the Hawaiian Eye Meeting. Our pastor from our church was willing to fly out to Maui with his wife since it had been his 10 year anniversary the month before.
One of my closest friends, Kathryn, from residency, who was one of my bridesmaids (and I was hers) was going to be speaking at the Hawaiian Eye Meeting and was bringing her entire family too. Katy, was Jeff’s year in residency and she is an accomplished Cornea & Refractive Surgeon and is Director of Refractive Surgery at Harvard’s Mass Eye & Ear Infirmary. We try to see each other at least once a year at conferences. Someone remarked when we were all at a dinner together, how close we seemed even though we don’t see each other that often. She’s just that kind of a friend. She actually delayed her own honeymoon by four months 10 years ago, so that she could come out to Hawaii for our wedding (we were fellows and junior attendings back then, you don’t get a lot of vacation time!)
Though I loved our wedding 10 years ago, there is so much that goes into planning a wedding, especially when you aren’t living in the same state as the wedding! We were living in Boston when planning our wedding in Honolulu. Add on to that, the fact that we were actually planning 2 weddings while taking meetings with lawyers and accountants regarding our practice purchase, you can see why I remember it as a particularly stressful time in my life. I wanted our vow renewal to be about us. I’m not going to lie – marriage takes work, especially when both people are working professionals and I would add, even more so, when they work together! We continuously strive to prioritize our marriage, but there are certain junctions in our life when the kids or work take over and when we need to reset. It’s actually why we’re pretty good about scheduling date nights. We aim for once a week, but sometimes it drops to twice a month, which is still pretty good. I joke that the $80 we pay the sitter once a week to go on that date night is cheaper than a divorce attorney! Marriage takes time and work and if I can offer any advice to other physician couples, it’s to prioritize yourselves and your marriage. Sometimes that can get lost in our life work of caring for others.
When I brought up the vow renewal to my husband, he was a bit reticent at first, but he warmed to the idea. I wanted to keep it simple. My friend, who just happens to be a fabulous hair and makeup stylist had moved to Maui 6 months ago, so she gave me recommendations for a photographer and someone to make the leis. I wanted to write our own vows this time because I felt it would more meaningful since we used traditional vows the first time. The morning of our ceremony, my daughter woke up so excited – “it’s wedding day”!! We went out to brunch and my husband and I were discussing details of the renewal. “You haven’t written your vows?” he asked, “I wrote mine a long time ago.” What?!?! My husband, the quintessential procrastinator had done his homework, but I hadn’t! Yikes, I was in trouble. But, I think it was better that I wrote them that day, reflecting on our relationship and marriage, it was more from the heart.
We did the renewal on a public beach in Wailea and it was perfect and beautiful. The kids didn’t really smile for all of the pics, but that’s life! That sunset though!
But, my favorite part was seeing all of our kids together. This sweet pic of my friend, Katy’s kids and mine. We each have 3 kids – who knows which of them will become an ophthalmologist and keep our legacies going?
Anyone else out there in the same field as their significant other? Do you find a hard time talking about things other than work and the kids?
Photography: Stephanie Betsill Photography
HMU: Amelia Vandament
Leis: Haku Maui