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Fairy tales

Ten years ago today, I became Mrs. Shawn Moffatt. But since I use my maiden name professionally, people often call my husband Shawn Mizzell. The fact that he doesn't care is one of the many things I love about him. After the ceremony, we rode in a horse drawn carriage to the reception. This photo appeared in Charleston magazine and captures the fairy tale essence of the moment. I was manicured and polished and wore a beautiful gown with a flowing veil. To add a dose of reality, there's my friend, Page, in the background, carrying all my crap. We had a good laugh at that.


It was a beautiful day, but it passed as quickly as it came. Months before the wedding, I'd have dreams the day had arrived and I wasn't prepared. I'd wake up, relieved to discover that I still had time to plan, to make everything "perfect." When I think about June 10, 2000, I can still hear the bag pipes and pipe organ playing as I walked down the aisle, and the soloist singing the Lord's Prayer a cappella from the balcony. I'm tearing up just writing this.

Fairy tale moments quickly give way to the realities of life. For example, during the ceremony, someone was breaking into cars-- my parent's included. Everyone did their best to keep that detail from me, but I found out anyway.

I've had years to process my wedding day and filter out all those tiny little glitches from my memories. I choose to remember all of the wonderful things... how we said our own vows and how my husband's voice quivered when he spoke to me. How despite my objections, the groomsmen dressed up like the Village People and did the YMCA. Slightly tacky, but totally hilarious.

Ten years later, being Mrs. Shawn Moffatt is one of the few things I'm sure of. I dressed up like Cinderella, but we are equal partners. I'm not sure why the marriage works for him. But I know why it works for me. Of course, I love him, but sustaining a marriage takes more than that, I think.

Years ago we had reached a crossroads in our work and in our lives. It was sparked by a cross-country move-- the move that inspired this blog. We were having an honest conversation about the things we wanted out of life, and at the time, we weren't sure if we wanted the same things. We weren't fighting or talking about breaking up or anything like that. But we were at a critical point in our marriage... when suddenly, everything felt so... hard.

"So what do we do about that?" I asked.

Without pausing he said, "Well, I want to stay married to you."

It was in that moment that we realized that we were committed. Not just to each other but to all things we both need to feel happy and whole in life. Who we are inside and outside of the marriage. As a couple and as individuals. We've both made sacrifices for the other. But we have each other's best interests at heart, and that has helped us navigate the challenges that come with building a life together.

Or as Shawn so eloquently puts it, neither one of us is crazy at the same time.

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