Happy Mother’s Day
THE ADVERSARYMothers are hardest to forgive.
Life is the fruit they long to hand you,
Ripe on a plate. And while you live,
Relentlessly they understand you.
Today is my third anniversary. My gift for Ted is something I made myself: a plastic mesh bag for holding little pieces of soap. This will allow him to use up the tiny slivers of Irish Spring and Lever 2000 accumulate in the shower because he can’t stand the waste of just tossing them. I have every confidence that Ted is going to be delighted with this gift.
It would be wrong to say that Ted’s sense of thrift is one of the things I initially found attractive about him, but it is one of the reasons I married him. I believe that love and sex are vital parts of a good relationship, but those things are easy—I mean, idiot teens can manage that much—but the successful day-to-day operation of long-term monogamy requires more than passion. I knew before I got married that I really should be with someone who is responsible about money, because if I married someone with my own spendthrift ways, we would be broke all the time. This might seem cold and calculating, but I figured that it would be impossible to sustain even the most feverish passion in a climate of chronic fiscal misery.
Ted and I have a lot in common—a fondness for murder ballads and Thai food, antipathy towards Republicans and baby gear featuring licensed characters—but the things we don’t have in common are, I think, just as important to our marriage. We complement each other. We help each other and balance each other out. We’re stronger together than we are apart.
Ted and I have known each other for awhile now. We’re both in our late 30s. We just had a baby. Anyone familiar with two out of three of these phenomena will understand the ways in which our relationship does not currently resemble what we had when we first started dating. I may occasionally heave a little sigh for those carefree days, but, given the chance, I wouldn’t trade what we have now for what we had then. We have a daughter now, of course, but I also like our union better the more we keep working at it. I think that Ted and I are both better people today than we were three years ago, and I know that I love him even more than I did on the day that I married him.
Happy anniversary, babe.
Frances Elizabeth Jernigan-Clayton
With much drama and excitement—amniotic deluge! plummeting fetal heart rate! emergency c-section!—Frances Elizabeth Jernigan-Clayton was born the afternoon of Wednesday, July 12. She weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces, and she has a wonderfully large head, just like her daddy. Consensus among the nurses was, with a noggin that big, the surgical delivery might have been a blessing in disguise. Frances is a natural when it comes to nursing, she and her father enjoy sticking out their tongues at each other, and everyone who has met her agrees that she is, really, just the best baby ever.
[MORE PHOTOS AT FLICKR.]
This Day in Matrimonial History
Bride Nicole Kidman
Groom Keith Urban
Date June 25, 2006
Location Cardinal Cerretti Memorial Chapel on St. Patrick’s Estate, Sydney
Matron of Honor Antonia Kidman, television personality
Best Man Shane Urban, groom’s brother
Dress Ivory Empire-line silk organza-and-lace column with one micropleated puff sleeve by Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga
Bride Jessica Jernigan
Groom Ted Clayton
Date June 25, 2004
Location Washtenaw County Courthouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Maid of Honor Kate Felmet, pediatrician
Best Man Eric Kos, professor
Dress Pink and white seersucker strapless sheath with matching jacket by J. Crew
Marriage: True of False?
It takes me awhile to work my way through the Sunday New York Times, which is why I didn’t get to Stephanie Coontz’s op-ed piece on marriage until today.
Coontz is the director of public education for the Council on Contemporary Families and the author of Marriage, a History, and her pop quiz is jam-packed with useful information. Should you, for example, find yourself arguing with someone about “traditional” marriage, you might counter by pointing out that the form of marriage that has been approved by more societies than any other through the ages and around the world is not marriage between a man and a woman, but between a man and many women—check the Bible! I’m not advocating polygamy. I’m just saying that those folks against gay marriage need to come up with a better argument than “tradition”.
While we’re on the subject of the Bible, it’s fun to know that born-again Christians are just as likely to divorce as atheists and agnostics. Indeed, 23% of born-again Christians have divorced twice, and, among Pentecostals, the divorce rate is 40%. If anybody tries to tell you that “family values” are necessarily Christian values—or vice versa—these are the statistics to brandish.
And anyone who’s worried that she’s too smart to marry—there seems to be a lot of that going around—might like to know that college-educated women are actually more likely to marry and less likely to divorce than women with less education. Take that, Maureen Dowd.
Saturday, June 25, was my first anniversary. It was also the day of Mt. Pleasant’s citywide festival of yard sales, so we celebrated by participating one of our shared passions: rooting through other people’s discarded crap. Ted added some rare, pre-pulltop specimens to his beer-can collection for 10¢ a pop. I got some swell old aprons and several excellent gardening books. Then we ate eggs at Agnes’s Wonderland Diner.
The Wedding Planner: Roll Credits
The Christmas-to-Valentine’s Day corridor is a popular time for wedding engagements, so today seems like the perfect moment to give one last shout-out to some of the artisans who helped make my own nuptial festivities so awesome.
Anyone getting married in the Ann Arbor-area might want to check out an article I wrote for Current magazine, in which I sang the praises of my seamstress, my aesthetician, the jeweler who made my engagement ring, and other local tradespeople.
I would also like to thank Fond-Regards, the folks who made our lovely invitations. Robert, the designer with whom I worked, totally understood my vision, and he was quite patient with all my anal-retentive tinkering. When I told him that Ted and I wanted to include excerpts from our first email exchange (I found my husband through an electronic personals ad), he came up with the charming idea of printing the excerpts on tiny cards and tucking them into equally adorable envelopes. Brilliant! Fond-Regards was also the only letterpress outfit that gave us a price that was realistic for anyone who is neither an aristocrat nor the heir of a wealthy industrialist
Ted and I had two wedding receptions, both of them in Northeastern Ohio (I’m from Stow, and most of my family lives in Akron and environs). Our picnic was made possible by my family’s Herculean cooking efforts, and by Miss Williams of Southern Hands Catering. She was absolutely open to my menu suggestions—her iteration of okra pancakes was perfect—and she wasn’t kidding when she said that cobblers were her specialty.
We also had a cocktail party, and we have the kind owners and staff of Zephyr Pub (in Kent) to thank for their hospitality. My sister tends bar there, and she was able to secure the whole establishment for our friends and family for most of the evening, and she got one of her co-workers to spin cds for us. I think everyone had a swell time, but I believe that my grandma Reece gets the prize for hardiest partier: she had so much fun dancing and drinking bloody marys that she insisted we return to the Zephyr for her birthday.
Ted and I and a few of our friends stayed at the Jeremiah B. King Guest House, a cozy little establishment in Hudson. The accommodations were totally pleasing, our hostesses were utterly amiable, and the breakfasts kicked ass. I would stay there every time I visit family if my mom wouldn’t be insulted.
One of my bridal desires was to wear a skirt with a bustle to the picnic. I planned to make this skirt myself, but I realized that I was in over my head when I showed the pattern I had chosen to my seamstress and she said, “Oh, this is complicated.” I took my pattern and my fabric with me to Ohio, hoping that my mom could help me out. She did: by taking the project to a local seamstress willing to work at lightning speed. When I showed up at I Do Bridal & Formal to get measured, the young lady who would make my skirt exclaimed, “I love bustles!” What are the odds of that?
The day before the festivities commenced, the manicurist at Clips (in Stow) squeezed me in for a pedi and a much-needed eyebrow-plucking. Tony, the owner of Clips, cut my hair throughout high school, and it was a pleasure to go back to the salon.
Finally, I would like to thank Rachel Flowers and the foxy ladies of The Beauty Lounge (in Akron) for my super bachelorette party. The Beauty Lounge is a great space for a party, and I can think of few experiences I have enjoyed more than getting my nails done while gently tipsy on white wine and surrounded by my best girls.
Wedding Album: Update
So, slowly but surely, I’ve been adding photos to the wedding reception albums, pictures of both the cocktail party and the picnic. Ted and I have a ton of photos, and it seems like, every time I flip through them, I notice a great one I hadn’t noticed before. I’ve also gotten some new photos from family and friends, and I’ve thrown a few of those in, too.
Golly, it was a good time.
Wedding Album: Cocktails
After the picnic, everyone had a chance to sleep off the roast pig and Budweiser and change into their eveningwear before the cocktail-party phase of the Jernigan-Clayton wedding extravaganza. Goodness, what a time! There was a lot of dancing, and, yes, some drinking. Ted and my dad bonded over the pool table. There were tears, there was laughter, and—most assuredly—a whole lot of love.
Wedding Album: Picnic
In addition to being Thanksgiving—the first one I will be celebrating in my very own home—Thursday is my fivemonthiversary. I am marking this seldom-recognized marital milestone by posting photos from my wedding reception. Today, I begin with the picnic portion of the Jernigan-Clayton nuptial festivities.
Ah, what a wonderful time it was. I discovered that the most amazing thing about weddings is that people from all parts of one’s life come together in a big, happy, nearly-surreal swirl. It’s amazing and delightful, and, really, it’s too bad that it doesn’t happen more often. Thanks, again, to all my friends who made the trip to Ohio to be with me and Ted. Every time I look at the photos, I am filled with gratitude all over again.