my wedding vows.

After everyone had left on Saturday evening, John told me I was too talented a writer to be wasting my time with academia. <3<3

When I was sixteen and studying abroad in Spain, I used to write just to know that I was still here, still there. I used to write pages and pages wondering who I was and trying to figure out where I was. There’s a song that haunted me during those days, Ani DiFranco’s “Hour Follows Hour.” She sings that “hour follows hour like water in a river, and from one to the next we don’t know what each hour will deliver… maybe the most that we can do is just to see each other through.” It was this last line that seemed especially to follow me. Even if all that we could do was as little as seeing each other through, it seemed like something and something I didn’t have. I’d write desperately hoping for something or someone and on the darkest nights, I was lost, sure I was without even the stars to watch over me.

When I was twenty and living in Philadelphia, I no longer wrote in journals as regularly as I once had. I no longer spent so many desolate nights trying to find myself in words that I was sure were all I had. There were still nights like that and there were still words like that, but there were also these: “when I bought this book I thought so clearly that my struggles would be about BEING A WRITER. I had no idea having a boyfriend would be this hard.” I was still scared, but it was as much of being together as it was of being alone.

At twenty eight and making a home in Chicago, all of these questions returned to me. They returned literally in the form of a package from my mom filled with a decades worth of notebooks; and they returned figuratively in the form of existential questions I hadn’t considered this strongly in nearly ten years. Though I didn’t say it out loud, I wondered if we would make it and I can’t say that I was always sure, I can’t say that I’m always so sure even now. I’m not always an easy person to be around, much less to live with, much less to spend the rest of your life with.

Writing these stories down, offering these reflections on my wedding day, I’m trying to highlight the holes the man next to me has filled in my life over the past eight years. But there are other names that are silently spoken as well. My sisters who listened to Ani DiFranco with me. Our mom who reminded me that writing in journals is being a writer. My best friend and maid of honor who I followed to Philadelphia, who in fact introduced John and I, and who was there to listen and more importantly was there to talk whether I had anything to say or not. Thus, while I take this opportunity to thank John for all he’s been through with me, I also want to thank the other people in this room as well. I, Mabel Rosenheck, take you John and you my friends and family, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health… I may not know much more about who I am and where I’m going than I did when I was sixteen, and I may not be sure either how to be a writer or how to be a wife, but if you’ll have me, I’m here to see you through it, and if that’s the most that we can do, at least it’s something.