I loved my wedding. It was a happy day, a fun day, an exhausting day. It was the point at which our separate lives became our life. But we didn't really get to start living that joint life until the honeymoon.
Honeymoons get a bad rap, I think. We refer to the first few weeks at a new school or a new job as the "honeymoon period", implying that our eyes are blinded by the glare of something fresh and new, and we don't really see the reality. Either that, or honeymoons are assumed to be all about sex, which is an exhausting and unrealistic assumption.
My honeymoon didn't fit the above stereotypes, and I doubt that many do. My honeymoon was special to me, though, because it was our first chance to live life as a married couple. I got to practice using the phrase, "my husband," on store clerks and waitresses, so that it wouldn't feel awkward anymore when I came home to people who knew the pre-married me. We got to find out which side of the bed we liked to sleep on, and whether or not we snored. (As an aside, even to this day, we keep switching sides of the bed. In fact, just last night, we switched again so that my husband could sleep by the open window.) It's when I realized that I can't wait for the date to end anymore to go to the bathroom, and you get to see the side of each other that you had remained blissfully ignorant of throughout the courtship.
My honeymoon was far from idyllic. We forgot to pack the tent, so we ended up detouring to a KOA so we could stay in a kabin. We forgot to pack sheets, so we ended up having to buy a set of cheap Wal-Mart sheets to use on the KOA bed. We lost power and had to buy some emergency flashlights and a fluorescent lantern. We tried to camp in Southern New Jersey during a heat wave, and ended up giving up and staying with all the cousins at the air-conditioned shore house instead. Jer got sick. We spent a night sleeping in a rest area parking lot.
But my honeymoon was when we set the groundwork for Being Married, and I think a less than idyllic experience might be the best possible way to do that. I have fond associations with everything that we acquired, or first started using, on our honeymoon. And I might not care about having nice things, but I have always cared deeply about keeping sentimental things.
So I mourned briefly when I used up the Honeymoon Hand Cream, and when I finished the Honeymoon Shampoo. When one of the youth left the Honeymoon Frisbee behind after a youth group cookout, I put on a brave face and said it was okay, because we still had the Honeymoon Folding Chairs and the Honeymoon Lantern. The Honeymoon Air Mattress didn't even survive the honeymoon (I know what you're thinking, but it was popped by PINE NEEDLES). The Honeymoon Sheets were cheap and quickly became pilled and uncomfortable, but I keep them around for those times when I am too lazy to wash the good sheets in time to put them back on the bed.
But of all my honeymoon memorabilia, my favourite was the Honeymoon Pajamas. My mom bought the Honeymoon Pajamas for me as a wedding gift. They were my favourite style of pajamas - stretchy, t-shirt fabric, cotton tank top; drawstring, dress-shirt fabric, cotton pants. Maybe it's because they were such a great pair of pajamas, and maybe it's because they were the first pajamas I ever wore as a married woman, but they were very favourite pair. There was a flower on the front of the shirt, which cracked and crumbled a little more every time I washed it, until one day, I sat in front of a movie and picked every last piece of the flower off, leaving a pile of plastic crumbs on the floor and a plain, flowerless pajama top. The pants became thinner and thinner, until you could almost see through them, but I kept them in the pajama rotation, because I loved them so much. Gradually, as I acquired more pajamas, I wore the Honeymoon Pajamas less and less often, in order to extend their life just a little more, but I knew that, inevitably, they would have to be phased out.
Last night, I decided to wear the Honeymoon Pajamas, and when I woke up this morning to take the dog outside, I felt an uncomfortable breeze on the back of my leg, and looked down to see an enormous tear all the way across the backside of those oh-so-comfortable Honeymoon Pajama bottoms, where the fabric had worn so thin that it finally, simply gave out.
Rest in peace, Honeymoon Pajamas.