We're Getting Married!!!
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Monica and Carol are finalists in the WIN a WEDDING contest from Lavendar Magazine in Minnesota. Read the essays that earned us the finalist spot below, or visit our website at http://carolandmonica.googlepages.com/home.
Over the last ten years this current MBA grad student and her “non-profit sugar mama” have worked hard to support marriage equality and now they themselves have the chance to take the plunge, but they need your help. Vote here: www.lavendermagazine.com
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Please read our story below and vote for us to win
the wedding contest at Lavender Magazine.
These are the questions Carol and I answered in Lavender Magazine’s 2008 Win a Wedding Contest. Our responses caused us to be chosen as one of three finalist couples. We are the only women. Now the contest is in the hands of fair minded people all over the world who will log on to www.lavendermagazine.com
1 Tell us a bit about you (age, occupation, interests, etc.)
Carol is 31 and be proud to be both from the northern suburbs and a grad student working on her MBA. This is quite a shift from her BA in Outdoor Education. She still enjoys the outdoors quite a bit as a marathoner, backpacker, and referee for high school athletics. Monica is 29 and prior to coordinating volunteers for The Aliveness Project (her job of the last 5 years) she also worked for OutFront MN and several electoral campaigns. She loves to volunteer and does so frequently including Rainbow Families, the Red Ribbon Ride, and St. Stephen’s Loaves and Fishes program. She also loves to be outdoors. Carol says “Monica is a smart, beautiful woman with a fun loving attitude that attracts more people than I could ever handle. I am a fiercely independent woman and Monica is the one person who knows how to handle my need for the feeling of freedom. Our relationship is built on trust and open communication. I totally trust her with my heart and I know she trust me with hers.”
2 How and when did you first meet?
Monica writes: We first met ten years ago in college. In an effort to meet other GLBT people in Duluth, Monica (a College of Saint Scholastica student) thought she’d try out for the women’s rugby team at UMD. One of the first drills at practice involved learning how to tackle. Although Carol was about three inches shorter and a good twenty pounds lighter she was an experienced rugger. Athletically and deftly she threw the less than graceful Monica flat on her back. Talk about sweeping her off her feet! It must have done the trick!
3 How long have you been together?
While in college and shortly thereafter our friendship grew but we were never in the same location together for very long. We both dated other people and Carol traveled and studied abroad. It was about five years ago that our friendship began to deepen into who we are today. As friends we had spent a great deal of time discussing our other girlfriends and experiences before we both began to realize, albeit rather shyly, that our true attractions were to each other. When we finally came together the summer of 2003 all of our friends were glad we had successfully realized this for ourselves. It is so much fun to be in love with such a dear and true friend.
4 How and when did you first know you were in love?
Monica writes: I first realized I was in love when it occurred to me that our families had very much become each others. We our both quite close to our very Catholic families. For both of our mothers our coming out periods in the late nineties was very difficult. In our first year together Carol’s mom, Pat, became terminally ill. Our families met, and gained solace in seeing how genuinely Carol and I cared not only for each other, but for each other’s families. Before Pat’s passing, she recognized how deeply and authentically I held Carol in my heart. She validated and said she supported our reality letting me know she trusted me to care for her daughter and the rest of her family. This validation, soon echoed by my own mom, is one of the greatest gifts I’ll ever receive. To me it signifies when I realized our love was truly real and quite likely to last.
5 Tell us how you got engaged, or decided to get married?
We’ve had several less-than-romantic events that have helped to solidify our relationship, or as Carol puts it “make a paper trail”. We have a joint checking account and our cell phones are a “family plan”. We’ve confounded HR departments into creating affidavits so we can file for each other’s insurance plans (but we’re glad they did it)! But one year on our favorite island in the Apostles I dipped two simple silver rings into Lake Superior of course presenting it to her as a sign of my love. We wear them on our ring fingers. Also, last November we finally went with a small group of family down to Minneapolis City Hall to file for our Domestic Partnership which despite the genteel and truly excited clerks it felt rather anti-climatic: “a bit like paying a parking ticket” as Carol puts it. Everyone now keeps asking when we’ll have a real ceremony. My brothers want to be able to hire bagpipers and throw rice!
6 What is your favorite memory from your relationship thus far?
Monica writes: Most of my favorite memories of us have to do with Lake Superior. For our first anniversary we kayaked to a beautiful beach in the Apostle Islands to which we now return for each anniversary. That first year I brought a bottle of wine (yes, in the kayak) which I attempted to “chill” in Lake Superior (trickier than you might think!). Problem was I forgot a corkscrew, so I had to approach other campers on the island pleading to borrow theirs explaining it was our honeymoon! One cheery couple loaned us theirs provided I promised to recycle the bottle- a no brainer- but boy did that wine taste especially good. We love Lake Superior so much that last year we circumnavigated it!
7 Describe your ideal wedding:
Carol writes: My ideal wedding would consist of LOTS of people. I have a very big family and most, if not all, have met Monica. I have never made a formal proclamation “I suppose you are wondering why I brought you here today. I’m gay, and Monica’s my girlfriend.” This has never happened, but everyone, especially Grandma, gets it. Monica has been at every family event from Christmas to births and birthdays, my Mom’s funeral to Swarm games. Ideally our ceremony would be rather formal. We’d like to have it in a church and preferably a Catholic church even though we know that may not be possible. I would like the ceremony to be sincere, thought- provoking, and joyous. But I also think weddings should be a great reason to party it up with all of your circles of family and friends. We would want everyone to have a great time!
8 Any nicknames for each other? What are they? Any story behind them?
Carol writes: Sweetpants. I don’t know why I started calling her that, or at least a PG story as to where it came from but I do have a story about the nickname. In my cell phone I have her parent’s number categorized as “Monica home”. On an older cell phone a few years back the screen would simply say the name of the contact and then an icon of a tiny mobile or a tiny house. One evening as my phone rang I didn’t pay enough attention to the icon and answered the phone “Hi sweet pants!” Only problem is that it wasn’t Monica, it was her Mom! She replied “It’s so nice that you called me sweetie”. I didn’t correct her on the “pants” part! Monica often calls me “Sweetpea”, which I think is just a derivation of my name for her.
9 What makes you want to spend the rest of your lives together?
We’ve lived apart long distance, and we’ve lived together. We’ve experienced both death and new life. We’ve had our disagreements and we always work hard to resolve them. We’re already living the rest of our lives together each day. We’re just so lucky to have fallen in love with someone we loved as a friend first, because it seems to make everything else just fall in line. Monica says “I know she’s the one for me because she so often makes the deepest part of me smile”.
10 In your own words, define marriage.
Importantly, the word “marriage” conveys a social understanding accepted most everywhere in the world. Most people won’t question one’s introduction to another “this is my wife…” We know we have every right to be part of that. We hope the way we live and love proves that to those who may have doubts. We believe marriage is a contract of two hearts who agree to hold each other in the beauty and the difficulty of life’s craziness, and both the certainties and the surprises of each day.
Thanks for the opportunity just to write this. We enjoyed the exercise regardless of whether you choose us as finalists or not. I truly do have the most incredible girl in the world! (a note we wrote to the panel at Lavender).
Thanks for taking a moment to read our short essays! Please help us gather votes from computers all over the world! www.lavendermagazine.com