Last Week #22 | Ron Swanson Officiated Our Wedding

 Last week, Nick Offerman (AKA Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation) officiated my and Eli's wedding. Before I get into the (absolutely incredible) details, first, let me just tell you why this is significant.

1. I often jokingly call the Parks & Recreation theme song my antidepressant, because for a few dark months in early 2014, it pretty much was. I had watched the show when it first aired, but lost track of it during high school. Post-high school, however, during a very depressing winter when I had nothing else to do, I revisited it and watched three seasons in about a month. From that point on, the show was my drug of choice.

2. When Eli and I first started talking, it was via text, and we were cripplingly awkward with each other, I think because neither of us had ever been this interested in and attracted to another person before. So we started giving each other compliments in the only nerdy way we could think of to tell each other we wanted to kiss each other’s faces. We started Ann Perkins complimenting each other. If you're unfamiliar, it looks a little something like this: 

3. One night, we both took quizzes to see which Parks & Recreation characters we were. I got Leslie, and he got Ben. Then, I took another quiz. “Which Parks & Rec character would be ‘Ya Boo’?” I got Ben, and I sent it to him with the smirk emoji. That was flirting to us.

4. When we finally said I love you, Eli said it the normal way, but I said, “I love you and I like you.” Not because I wanted to be like Ben and Leslie, (even though I definitely do), but because that was how I felt. Love and like were two different things in my mind, and I felt both. Later, Eli would put it perfectly: “I like you to the point of loving you without losing any of the liking you.” 

Basically, Parks & Recreation is super freaking important to our relationship, and to us as individuals. I take waffles seriously. And on Wednesday night, Ron Swanson officiated our wedding. We went to Nick Offerman & Megan Mullally's Summer of 69 Show (no apostrophe) and were just enjoying the beautiful weirdness that was the show when they asked for a volunteer couple from the audience. The next thing I knew Eli was raising his huge arms and we were being beckoned onstage by two of our favorite actors. The rest is kind of a blur, but I shook Nick Offerman's hand and he complimented my lavender hair and I hugged Megan Mullally and Nick kept talking about Eli's man bun and we played a compatibility game where we were challenged to answer questions in precisely the same way...and we pretty much crushed it. Not to brag, but we answered all but one question the same way, all while standing in the presence of two people we routinely watch on Netflix while cuddling. Then Nick Offerman stood between us and asked us one final question... "Do you, Eli, take Fran to be your lawfully wedded wife..." He then presented us with rings and that is how I got married onstage to my absolute favorite person by Ron freakin' Swanson.

The funny thing about this whole story is, I've recently been plagued by a question that this experience completely put to rest. The question is this-- when you're happy, can you experience as much true joy in new shows and music and art and life experiences as when you are not? Is there some inherent connection that you make with culture when you're lonely and sad that you don't make when you're satisfied? I was thinking about the connection I made to Parks & Recreation when I was depressed, and worrying that I'd never find such happiness in another show or movie again, because I'd already found it in a person. And I know, any logical, rational person would say-- but Fran, this is so much better! You've made a connection with a real, tangible human who can register your love and give love in return! But you don't understand. My connection with music and stories and television shows is what makes me, me

The notion that somehow those connections wouldn't be as strong in light of my finding Eli is completely terrifying to me. I think these fears can honestly be linked to an experience I had a few weeks ago. On a sleepy Monday morning recently, I was watching a terrible young adult reality show on YouTube to wake myself up, as you do, and everyone was lamenting the fact that summer is almost over. And for the first time in my life, I realized that the end of summer doesn't mean everything sucks again. Everything in my life will pretty much stay the same, no matter the season. But then of course I started worrying that normalcy is bad and regularity equals stagnation, lack of inspiration, boredom and indifference.

Now I realize that's so not true. Of course not. Now, I get the privilege of experiencing new shows and extraordinary life experiences with someone who loves them and me just as much. Last week I finally realized that just because I have a big girl job that doesn't mean I or my life is anything close to boring. Because I have someone in my life who is willing to seek out the weird and extraordinary with me.