On November 14, 2015 our life together became official. A sun in the sky, frost on the ground, see your breath in the air, perfect Fall day. But our story together started years before that. A Saturday night that started waiting tables and folding boxes ended with very little time spent working and hours spent in the office talking to Joe.
Some days, to find the words that capture the feelings, or to even try and understand the intricate web the emotions weave, feels hard, exhausting. It would be easier if Joe were here and I could just post a little snippet of however we chose to celebrate. It would just be easier. Wouldn’t it all. The understatement of my life. Today, I can’t post a quick new picture of us. We can’t clink glasses with a cheers to 7 years and a here’s to a million more. So, instead, I’ll relive one of my favorite parts to our story - Our song.
Our song, like many, comes with vivid memories and a light hearted meaning. In the early days of dating Joe, I was working at his family’s restaurant. Oldies often played on the radio as we closed up and Elvis was always in the rotation. Tables wiped down and chairs up for the night, as I swept the floor, Joe’s brother Mike liked to put his own spin on a song. “I can’t help falling in love with Joe Abateee” he’d sing to me. I’d laugh and roll my eyes. I was 18. It was so new. The L word was in neither of our vocabularies. Weeks turned to months. Months to years. And then we found ourselves planning a wedding and picking a song. A golden oldie, ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ by Elvis Presley, four years after the Tuesday night clean up serenades, made perfect sense.
Joe insisted it could only be the Elvis version our Dj would play for our first dance (after letting me make all the choices for our day, I let him have this one). With last minute details and discussions checked off the list, the day arrived. That night, as we walked into our reception as husband and wife, the crowd quieted and the Dj announced our first dance. The first few notes floated through the speakers and we looked around at our family and friends, we very quickly locked eyes with each other. We were… confused? I hadn’t remembered a ukulele in this version, or in the song at all for that matter. Within a minute we were hysterical. It wasn’t our song! I had told our Dj the name of our song was ‘Fools Rush In’ as those are lyrics in our song. And what do ya know? Elvis does in fact have a lovely little song with that exact title. It just wasn’t the right song. It wasn’t our song.
After a minute or two, we stopped our first dance and made our way with belly laughter and huge smiles to our table to start the speeches. The whole day had gone off without a hitch. It couldn’t have gone perfectly smooth, right? Shortly after the speeches, we attempted our first dance for a second time. With our real song, ‘Can’t help falling in love’ and it was the kind of perfect with just the right amount of hot mess that Joe and I continued to welcome over and over in our life together.
Over the years, I would often look back at that night and smile. It truly summed us up, summed our life up. We were far from perfection. We met our challenges with laughter and I like to think that, at the end of every day, we couldn’t help falling just a little bit more in love.
Happy Anniversary Joe Abate. I love you forever and three kisses after that