Monday, November 3, 2014

Rewedding….

Sara and I were married in 2006 in our hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.  On our 5th anniversary I wrote about our engagement and wedding and you can read story that here: http://frageelayx.blogspot.com/2011/09/happy-anniversary.html.  Here is a picture from our 5th anniversary.  We found an amazing bed and breakfast near St. Louis in Clarksville, Overlook Farms.  It was an amazing overnight stay and a perfect way to celebrate 5 years together.

Unfortunately in 2006 the only place we could get legally married in the US was Massachusetts and you had to reside there in order to obtain/maintain a legal marriage.  Neither of us wanted to move away from our families, so we had a little ceremony in front of our family and closest friend followed by a celebration a.k.a. reception.  It was an amazing day that wasn’t legal, but that didn’t matter to us as long as we could make a life commitment to each other.  It was the greatest day of my life.

Shortly after we were married we bought our first house in 2007.  We were approved for a loan with Sara’s amazing credit and both our incomes, that wasn’t as hard as we thought it would be.  Once we were settled in we started planning for our 1st baby.  After 1 year and 5 tries Sara got pregnant; it was very emotional roller coaster.  I learned a lot of things about getting pregnant; it’s not that easy as one may think. We welcomed Jackson into our world in 2009, the second greatest day of my life.  

Unlike hetero couples who get married, have children, and automatically get rights…we had to hire an attorney to get all the legal documents to protect us if something were to happen to one or both of us.  Power of attorney, living will, name change, adoption…the list goes on. Since same-sex marriage is not recognized and we have all the “legal” paper work, a judge can still rule not in our favor or best interest if something were to happen to one of us.  Jackson is not biologically mine so we had to follow the Missouri laws on adoption.  It was another emotional roller coaster in addition to the costs of getting pregnant and attorney fees, but on Aug. 18th, 2010 I became Jackson’s second parent making it the third greatest day of my life. 
             
The US has come a long way since 2006 with 21 32 states legalizing same-sex marriage, but there is still a long way to go.  Missouri is now recognizing same-sex marriage established in other jurisdictions, but doesn’t issue marriages licenses to same-sex couples. In June 2013, the Supreme Court struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and required federal government to treat legally married same-sex couples on an equal basis with heterosexual married couples.  The economic impact of this ruling is huge for our family.  I still have state taxes coming out of my paycheck on health insurance that my hetero co-workers do not have to pay for their spouses.  It’s work in progress.

Wikipedia provides great resources if you are interested to learn more about marriage rights and benefits: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights_and_responsibilities_of_marriages_in_the_United_States  and same-sex marriage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_the_United_States

Fast forward to July 2014….our family traveled to Orange County, California for the National Fragile X Conference.   Sara’s parents traveled with us to also attend the conference.  Sara’s brother and sister-in-law live in Los Angeles so as an added bonus we were so lucky to spend some time with them while there.  The icing on the cake while in Orange County Sara and I got legally married.  I married my wife twice.  It was crazy emotional just like the first time.  Yup...you guessed it...the forth greatest day of my life. 

Instead of a reception we headed to the beach, not a bad substitute.  When we arrived at the hotel to get ready for the beach we were greeted in the hotel lobby by a friend of whom we have become very close with from a club we never knew we wanted to join, the great Holly Usrey-Roos.  She greeted us with a huge hug and surprised us with flowers.  It is very comforting to be accepted in our new found family in the World of Fragile X and we have been so lucky to meet so many amazing people in this journey.  I don’t even have the words to explain it, but it means the world to me and my family to be embraced whole heartedly.

Even though our honeymoon the second time around was attending a conference hosted by the National Fragile X foundation and we only saw the sun a few times while in California, I wouldn’t have traded it.  We continue to learn more everyday Living the Fragile X way. The conferences and workshops we attend provide us these great tools to help navigate through each day.  Through our Community Support Network we continue to meet other families like ours who have been there, done that, going thru that, and then some.  So far in the 3 years since Jackson’s diagnosis I have made so many friends who are more like family and for that I am eternally grateful.    

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