“You are what you create, so create awesomeness.”
I hate being sappy (so of course, I’m being sappy) but I love a good wedding. And this one was better than good. It was enchanting and uplifting and joyful and spiritual and—well, it was everything a wedding should be.
It also made it possible for me to do something I love—write a happy follow-up to a popular column.
The joining together of Davi-Ann “Noe” Mendiola and Neenz Faleafine in legal matrimony was a long time coming. When I profiled Neenz, Noe and her kids Jayden and Chelsea in MidWeek in 2013 they had already been together as a family for eight years. They were watching—and hoping– as the Hawaii legislature debated marriage equality.
They’d already watched in awe as the country lurched, and then sprinted, toward an era of social change. What finally made it possible was the dismantling of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
“When the Supreme Court made their ruling (striking down key parts of DOMA),” Neenz told me then, “in my heart I thought, this could really happen. This could happen in my lifetime.”
And so it did.
This was only my second same-sex wedding and it confirmed what I’ve suspected all along. And that is, when you get down to the nuts and bolts of it, a wedding is a wedding is a wedding. All the essential parts were there—joy, tears and deep, deep happiness. Love and friendship. And a heckuva party.
In fact, other than buying a card for the “Bride and Bride,” the biggest difference I observed between this any other wedding was the heightened sense of gratitude shared by all. No one was taking this profound act for granted.
“Love is the best thing in the world. Don’t lose it.”
Noe promised, “In the presence of our children, our family and our friends, I willingly and wholeheartedly bind myself to you with these wedding vows. I vow to be present and always listen to you with compassion, even when I’m (angry) or blinded by my false pride.
“I vow to eagerly learn from you for you have taught me so much that has made me who I am today.
“I vow to encourage and support you and accept your support in return…
“I vow to equally share the parent title of Chelsea and Jayden for you have loved them and accepted them as your very own.
“I vow to hold you and comfort you in times of sickness and sorrow. Everyday, for the rest of our lives, I vow to love you with actions, and not just words, for tomorrow is never promised.”
And Neenz answered, “I speak from my heart and I know there are two commitments I will make: I promise to be gentle with you and the children.
“And most importantly, I promise to be impeccable with my word. I love you very much.”
That says it all, doesn’t it?
Well, almost all. There were two more vows.
Jayden, 11 years old, said, “Love is the best thing in the world. Don’t lose it.”
And Chelsea, 19 years old, said, “You are what you create, so create awesomeness.”
They’d made themselves into a family long before the wedding day. But now Neenz and Noe are legally married. Together, they have created “awesomeness” and their very own happily ever onward.