A special moment… 2 artists – 1 heart

I will love you as long as you let me

Sunday we gathered on our front lawn to profess our love and intentions to each other.  It was intimate and touching.  A day that I will reflect upon for years to come.

We chained a lock around  the willow tree we planted and will throw away the key.  We learned of this ritual – where lovers place a lock onto the walking bridge, Pont des Arts, in Paris and toss the key into the Seine symbolizing that they have given each other their hearts and throw away the key so that no other can unlock and steal their hearts away.

Filled with love in my heart and tears in my eyes, I professed my feelings to Jene:

“When we met nearly 6 years ago, I had no expectations.  I glossed over your bio 3 times before contacting you through Yahoo personals.  I was drawn to you and at the same time, the intense look in your eyes made me click away.  There was something about you that make me feel uneasy.  It was your honesty.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to get away with playing any dating games.  Your bio was lengthy and yet direct.  You held no punches.  This was who you were.

Could I dare to be nothing other then who I am.  You made me question myself.  Who am I?  I wasn’t the mother anymore to Danielle – she no longer needed me in that role.  The girls no longer needed my support in the way they did when they lived with me.  I wasn’t their protector – that was Matt’s role.

I was buried under so many layers for so many years, getting lost in the roles I had needed to be that I wasn’t sure if the Mary I had become was the Mary I wanted to be.  I knew you would get to the core quickly and I didn’t know what would be left when the layers were stripped away.  Within months you peeled each layer of protection I had placed since my trust had been shattered by my first major heartbreak.  You even share the birthday of my ex.  I guess you came into my life to repair the damage that was done so long ago.

In our slow pace of getting to know each other, we both opened up our hearts to each other, trusting each other more as time went on.
I want to thank Rosa for pushing me into online dating.  Pat and Danielle for their encouraging support when I said I can’t do this.  Not to mention the laughter when I told them that our paths had crossed 30 years ago.  And to Grace who said that at least I know you are not an axe murderer.  I had balked at the thought of dating or wanting / needing a man in my life.  My life was good, it was full.   Denise told me that my life was not too full and so I entered into a relationship or whatever we called it with an open mind and heart.  I stopped wondering where it would lead – instead I would just enjoy what it is.  At least I would try.   And now my life is better and fuller.

My love / our love grew slowly emitting a warmth that was easy to get close to.  Respect for our individuality and fear of losing our independence only strengthened our feelings for each other, allowing us to appreciate who we are and enabled us to remember that we are different, think differently, react differently and that it is okay.

I hope I never forget that  – because it is our unique personalities that somehow mesh well together.
I cherish all the moments we had and the future ones to come but most of all I cherish what we have NOW.

I love you today and want to spend the rest of my life loving you.

Marriage wasn’t something I thought about.  We’ve been committed to each other for years.  You are my friend, my biggest fan, you’ve helped me follow my dreams and you pick me up when I’m down.

I am your biggest fan, I’ve helped you follow your dreams and I stand here before our families and dearest friends so that they can bear witness as I profess my undying love to you.

I want to continue our journey through life with you by my side.  I love you and am so glad that your ‘5 mile outside the city’ limit didn’t deter you from pursuing me.  So I will take your hand in marriage and entwine my heart with yours forever.  I love you and promise to love you as long as you let me.  I give you my heart and vow to throw away the key.   So that we can build upon dreams that we can share and memories that will have until death do us part.

Io t’amo and I place this ring upon your finger symbolizing the circle of my love that will surround you.


Jene is often a man of few words, but his heart was full and this is what his devotion was:

Life leads us down some strange and different roads at times and we never really know what to expect.  In this case it was Route 4 in New Jersey.  Who knew what I’d find there, traveling out of my comfort zone.

This woman wasn’t my type, too normal, I thought; yet when peeling away the layers of time and people there was a tender little girl, full of love and understanding.

What do you say to the woman who’s changed your life by being part of it?

What do you say to the woman who’s taught you to love again?

What do you say to the woman who’s actualizing your dreams?

Thank you comes to mind as the best but inadequate.

How could two different people affect each other in such a way as to make one whole?  That’s how you make me feel.

I had forgotten, well actually given up on the idea of finding a soul mate and thought well this is it, the end of the line.  But before me stands the person who has opened up my heart once more.

I have learned to love again….. more importantly, learned how to let someone love me, not an easy task for me.

You have given me a gift…  well many gifts every day I look into your eyes…… and see how open you are………  Almost naked.

Standing there freely without questions – willingly following me though many of my follies and unrealized dreams…. nurturing me into adulthood.

I stand before you, our friends and family a better person than when we first met because you are in my life.  You feed me every day with your positive energy.  My energizer bunny.

This day is very exciting for me to exchange vows, to have and to hold something so dear in my heart as your love.  To wear your ring on my finger and you mine.  An eternity is a long, long time but with you by my side, it’s just a wink.

I touch you……… Holding your hand but actually hold your heart which you wear in different places at times – but always open.

I feel your warmth………  smell your hair (even though I might not notice you’ve had your hair done for days), and thoroughly enjoy touching you.

It must be love we share because we drive each other nuts at times….  but then we walk hand in hand to our next adventure knowing how we really feel towards each other.

You’ve made my journey that much more joyful then I’d ever imagined possible.        As a child wanting to grow up, laying in bed at night, thinking, wondering  about the future princess of my dreams, what she would be like ———- I had no idea ——– here you are.

After traveling the many roads to get here, I wouldn’t change a thing because before me stands the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, my honey bunch.

I want to spend the rest of my days taking care of you……… touching your tender body……..  seeing you smile……….listening to your voice, because I know it will be fun.

Just being with you has enriched my life.

When I asked you what your dreams were, I never imagined I would be part of them…… nor how rich and vast the landscape was.  Full of so many hills and valleys like the tears that flowed from your eyes as you remembered who you were.  That was a lovely moment although I wasn’t sure what happened ———- I thought –  did I break something?  No, you showed me something precious, delicate…… that neither one of us had seen…  you for a very long time.  Out of the mouths of babes come words of wisdom and I was ignorant as to ourselves and your buried treasure.

I’ve learned that love comes in many flavors and in different way and has no time limits……  I like your flavor…….  Seems that when one gives up the chase to find the great whatever we think we want… what we need reveals itself to us, which is what has happened with you… my gift for being a good boy.  So this day is very much like Christmas morning under the tree.

When we planted Sweet Willy two years ago, I never imagined we’d be standing here today making vows to love, cherish and honor each other.  We already do that by being together.

That day in the cemetery I knew that I wanted to do something more than just be here with you.  I wanted to tell the world….. no shout it out…. wake up the dead…….  That I found my true love and she had found me.

Being with you has opened up my life in more ways than I’d ever imagined…..  Made me stop and smell the flowers……  Explore the outside and inner world we inhabit – with you by my side.

This speech would have been shorter had you not shown me yours.  When you first showed me yours, I was smitten and you had me.  I tried hard not to fall too hard but to no avail.

Here you are and here I am.  I LOVE YOU.  Your love has shown me how to be more open, generous and giving…. that I have to give to you….  your gift to me.

You’re right………..  I am so lucky to have you in my life.


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Filed under Jene Youtt, labor of love, Mary Durante Wehrhahn, photography, wedding photography

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