A personal prelude for ceremony in a Brooklyn home

Connected by a common passion for using unions to achieve a more inclusive society, Shaun and Kate met in a Chicago cafe last (last) August. A national union organizing director, Shaun was swooping in to help her small school union solidify its campaign. Kate noticed Shaun’s trademark fedora with a smile and felt a spark. Wary of insipid small talk, however, Shaun remained sharply intense and serious as they sat in virtual silence. It was an awkward first meeting.

Nonetheless, later that evening, Kate thought to herself: “I could marry that guy.” Adapting the attitude of a sleuth, she used his business card to track him down. She friended him on Facebook. Nearly everyday they chatted about politics, art, cooking, culture, music, travel, and all the other “big” things in the world. She realized the relationship could prove to be a great match.

Shaun was more ambiguous and hesitated. At once embarrassed and flattered by the attentions of a pretty and stylish Kate, taboos about dating a co-worker—mixing work and play—confronted his conscience. When Kate inquired when Shaun would finally ask her out, he gulped and explained, as gently as possible, about the “code”–no dating workers that one is organizing. Kate commenced negotiations. And, not too long from then and upon consulting Alan and Carrie who gave their support, Shaun took the risk. After all, any union organizer understands that many sincere joys only arrive when we take tempered chances. Soon linked again by work in D.C., they escaped the normal pool table dinner for a cloak and dagger style restaurant. And sealed their future with a kiss.

The memories multiplied. Last winter, in the contented calm of Kate’s apartment, Kate whispered to a sleepy Shaun “this is perfect.” He agreed so much that he proposed Kate depart from her home city and live in Brooklyn. To the questioning statement of “come live with me,” Kate paused—but not for too long.

They made plans for her to visit and play house. While the rest of New York groaned about the slow recovery of the city after the December 26th blizzard, Kate and Shaun reveled about being stuck in his apartment for three days by making fancy cocktails and dinners. The days felt a little surreal. But both knew the tranquility of relaxing in each other’s company should become a daily reality. Indeed, with the later merging of things and lives, Shaun’s apartment became “our” apartment.

Kate and Shaun, you have experienced more than one adventure since meeting. You even survived a long car trip along Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles as equal co-pilots with many opinions about directions. You collected funny sculptures of Abraham Lincoln and climbed a hard-to-spot lengthy staircase up a cliff to venerate an astounding view. You adopted a catchphrase as a private joke–the call and response “with it?” “for it!”, which you gleamed from a weird bumper sticker passed on the nine day trip. Through every venture, you became more mutually attuned, attached, and dedicated.

In your many travels and the intimacy of your home, you have discovered balance. Kate may own thirty pairs of shoes, but Shaun only has two to go with his ritualistic adornment of black socks. Kate has helped soften Shaun’s tough, intellectual exterior; she has helped him become more goofy to enjoy life. Shaun has inspired Kate to further pursue and expand her career; he encourages her to explore and grow. In other words, each learns more about the world through the other’s perspective. The attributes of one complement the other.

Together, you feel great momentum. Whenever you think about the prospect of a future as a family, excitement radiates through both. In fact, Shaun comes home every week with a comment about how those around him have noticed how happier he has become with Kate in his daily life. As the anniversaries pass, continue to show this same affection and kindness towards each other.

Shaun, Kate appreciates your solemn, yet keen wit and your impersonations of the Swedish Chef muppet. She loves that you show off your “kiss the cook” apron for guests. You not only bring home flowers; you wonder whether or not she likes them in what appears to be a quest for the best bouquet. Kate feels strengthened by your ambition and the brightness of your mind. She loves how easily her life has merged with your own.

Kate, Shaun appreciates your intelligence and your commitment to social justice. He trusts you: you are a very strong, reliable judge of character. He admires your art work and is quite fond of the funny art created by your students, such as the portrait of Betty Ford and the papier mache busts they make for each other. He loves the way you redecorated the apartment you now share together. In short, you are Shaun’s compass.

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