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A Year In Review

In case you have not been reading our Blog. Let me get you up to date. Aaron and I met 4 years ago in June of 2017 when he was in the States working for the summer. We were crazy about each other. It was not until January of 2020 that we saw each other again, when I went to visit him in Dublin. At the end of our two week visit I told him I loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. We decided I would come back to visit him again in April.

The Pandemic started and I knew I would have to get back to Ireland sooner as travel was coming to a halt. When I came back in March neither one of us had ever even entertained the idea that we would be getting married let alone to each other.

Gay couple, Aaron and Mike visit together for the first time in 2and1/2 years,

I am sure most of last year is a blur to most people. I am not even sure how the idea of getting married really came about. I remember the weather getting warmer as Aaron and I grew closer and closer. It was so great being able to get out of our, "little cage," and begin taking walks. I remember one vividly. It was a sunny day and a warm enough one that we stopped at a coffee shop that is known for its chocolates. Aaron bought us a bag of chocolates and coffees which we brought to the park to eat and drink, I wish I could remember how the conversation evolved but somehow we started talking about what would happen if I moved to Dublin from New York. Would we live together first or get married first. We decided we would try living together first and then get married. At this point I think it was a pipe dream for both of us. What was nicest though was the fact that we were having this dream together. It wasn't one of us wishing the other person would do this, it was both of us having the same dream and it happened so fucking naturally that I cannot even remember how the conversation came about.

For the next week all I thought about was how much I wanted to be with Aaron. It was about two weeks later that I proposed to Aaron. How I wished I kept some sort of diary or calendar. My advice to anyone reading this is to try and do it. Even if you just write two sentences a day. It will help you remember so many important turning points in your life. Life is made up of only a handful of truly defining moments and capturing them is a true wonder.

For the two weeks after our talk in the park the wheels in my brain would not stop spinning. We were with each other basically 24 hours a day. Most of that time I was in heaven. He would look at me and I would melt. I had never met anyone like Aaron. We would talk, laugh, lie together, tell each other everything. I really believe our hearts and minds were totally open for the other. I was never more of myself with anyone in my whole life. Somehow my brain started to tell me that I had to marry him, The only life I wanted was with him. I have always second guessed myself and I was doing it now. My brain was asking my heart why I had to marry him. For the next week or so I went over every reason in my head and there were so many, I had to start writing them down.

Finally I knew I had to propose. I did not want to just propose though, It was funny, for some reason I had to let Aaron know all the reasons I loved him. A simple, " I LOVE YOU. WILL YOU MARRY ME," would not do. I also knew I would not be able to tell him since I already had about 25 reasons written down and would never be able to tell him all without crying. It was just some random day and we were going to be off on one of our jaunts to the store or somewhere else that was open during the lockdown and something in my heart said now is the time. I ran upstairs finished writing my proposal and when Aaron came in the room I gave it to him.

I really had no idea what his answer was going to be. It was an odd feeling I had. I would have been crushed if he had said no, but I was happy in the sense that I could let another person know how much I loved them, wanted them and how important that they were to my life. I knew I had never felt so totally in love like this before and it was and still is the greatest feeling in the world. It was important Aaron know this regardless of his answer. After reading the card Aaron asked me, “Are you asking me to marry you?” Of course, we all know his answer. It was yes. Not even, let me think about it. The best part about it was neither one of us ever dreamed we would be getting married.

Now we were like little kids, not knowing what to do since neither one of us ever thought we’d be getting married. What's next we wondered. We decided to keep it just between us for a while. I think we wanted to become used to the idea and relish our love for each other before sharing the news with our family and friends.

The one thing we did agree on was that we probably should get some wedding rings. I had always loved The Cartier Trinity Ring and showed pictures of it to Aaron who also loved it. It is three bands of gold, white, yellow and rose. The white symbolizes enduring friendship, the yellow loyalty and the rose true love. I honestly thought this was the perfect fit for us on how it represented our relationship.

Gay couple, Aaron and MIke show their e ngagement rings.

Suddenly things were turning real. I had no idea what to do. Everything seems quite easy when you can just pick up a phone and call someone. However, lockdown again. I had immigration lawyers who of course were barely working and their hands were tied because all the government offices were closed. I had an apartment in New York that I had to get out off. I had a house full of furniture and other stuff that accumulates after living in the same place for 20 years. I was not sure if I left the country if they would let me back in since my Visa was up. Now that we were getting married we wanted our own place. What a pain in the ass. Was I up for it? I wasn't looking forward to it. I hated doing shit like this but I had loved Aaron for 4 years and wanted to have a fresh start with him. He was everything I could ever want.

Now it was Aaron's turn. If you read, "Aaron's Story," one of our Blog posts you will know that until he told his mother and step-father he was getting married they had no idea he was gay. So now in one breath he had to tell them he was gay, engaged and going to marry someone much older than himself. Quite a bit to take in for unsuspecting parents. I know they were shocked but they still seemed very happy for him. They wanted to arrange a video call as soon as possible with us so they could meet me. After Aaron sent a picture of us both to his mother she said didn’t realize that I’d be so much older, but when Aaron talked to her she knew it was from the heart and how much we really did love each other and was completely accepting. He was so happy and quite blown away with their reaction. I was so happy for him. The same thing happened with all of his straight friends, I do not think he was prepared for how much everyone loved him and accepted him. I am sure Aaron is so happy now that he can truly be himself with everyone and not just the few people who knew he was gay.

Now it was my turn to tell my family and friends. Everyone I told was truly happy for me. They could all hear the excitement in my voice when I told them the news and about Aaron. Most were shocked though as I had never talked of Aaron to most of them, When Aaron left New York the summer we met we were not on good terms and I tried my best not to think of him. It hurt too much and I hoped to put him out of my mind, When he called me three months later I was ecstatic. I still tried not to think about him as I thought the differences in our ages and the miles between us just made things to difficult. Obviously my plan did not work. When I came to Dublin in January and was with Aaron again I realized that I was always looking for him in everyone I dated. I told him then I loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.

Now that everyone important to us heard the news we were ready to begin our new life. First things first we could not wait to finally get our own place. New York or Dublin. I left it to Aaron. He was just starting his career and I wanted him to be wherever he felt was the best place to be. I am lucky enough to be able to work from wherever I am. He decided on Dublin. The hunt for apartments was just about to begin.

I am saying it again and probably a few more times but during Covid nothing is easy. Dublin was virtually closed down. Most people were not working and so many restrictions were in place. We needed masks and even gloves in some places. At this point we were not the best in remembering either of these items even at the best of times we are clumsy and forgetful and if we did remember we usually lost them somewhere along the way. Special appointments were needed everywhere and it was sometimes a week before we could see a place we liked. Most places would not even let us use the bathroom and trust me when we use the bathroom we have to use it. It got to the point where I would secret some toilet paper with us incase we needed it. Luckily in most places the realtor would not come in the apartment with us. If they did and I needed the bathroom I would have Aaron occupy the realtor while I snuck off. We became experts at finding the best alleys to take leaks in.

After looking in a few different areas we both agreed on the part of town we would like to live in. Now which apartment. There were two places that we both liked. Unfortunately I liked one and Aaron liked the other. Both trying to be considerate of the other he said we should take the place I liked and I said we should take the place he liked. The place we ended up taking was my first choice and we both love it and can imagine staying here quite a few years. We can not imagine being elsewhere. Funnily enough on one of the first days we were looking I saw a building across the river and told him if thats an apartment building that's where I want to live. We live here now.

Picture of Mike and Aaron's new apartment.

Things were moving along, but the hard part was just beginning It is not easy being a foreigner trying to marry a national in Ireland. Just about all the government offices in the United States and Ireland were closed. In Ireland the amount of paperwork they wanted from me was crazy. I cannot remember it all but it must have taken me a few weeks to get everything together even though it felt like months.

Before getting an appointment for your marriage interview I had to get two documents from America. The easiest was my birth certificate. Trust me though still not easy when all government offices are closed. It probably took at least 30 emails and 6 weeks to get my birth certificate. Under ordinary circumstances I could have picked up the phone and had it Fedexed within a week. Not once in my life have I ever been asked for an original birth certificate. The next one was a killer it was called, “Letter or Certificate of Freedom to Marry.” The most ridiculous of all things I had to get a notarized letter from the courts in America saying I was free to marry and had never been married before. Again everything closed. Tried for about 2 months. Finally the woman who was going to do our marriage interview took pity on us, again because of lockdown and said she would take an affidavit from my law firm here. She even gave us an appointment for our interview before I got everything to her, It pays to be sweet sometimes, We now had our appointment for our interview. In the interview they try and make sure one is getting married for the right reasons and not for immigration purposes etc. We also finally had a date for our wedding October 7th.

It was hard to believe we got engaged in May and it was now July 1, and we were finally moving to our own place. Now I decided it was time to get out of my place in New York. It cost a fortune to keep it and I had not really been there since January. I hired movers by email and gave myself five days to get to New York and back with the move complete. When I left Dublin I had no idea if they would let me back in the country due to travel restrictions but there was no way I would let them keep me out.

When I got off the plane in New York there were people taking your temperature as you got off the plane. Holy shit I thought what if I have a fever. At this point I was half asleep and not even the thinking of the consequences of being told I could not enter the States. Luck was on my side, and there was no problems.

New York was not the city that I had left in January. It was like a ghost town, deserted, This would only make my job easier. All of my friends had left the city. So no time would be wasted saying goodbyes. I had to complete the move in four days. Not sure quite how I did it and only one major fuck up. The last thing the movers were taking out of my place was a painting about 12 feet long and 61/2 feet high. I had not given the painting any thought since I assumed anything that I had moved in would surely be able to be moved out. First the movers tried the elevator, no luck,they thought of riding it down on top of the elevator but no insurance for that, then they tried the stairs, which they said they did not have enough men for. To make a long story short I had to leave it in apartment and it was only when I was back in Dublin that I was able to hire an art moving company and four men to move it costing me a fortune. I learned an important lesson, no more big art!

Picture of empty subway in New York as Covid is going on.

Going back to Dublin was the same as going to New York. I heard they would be taking your temperature again. This time I was prepared. Before landing I took aspirin to lower a fever if I had one and a valium to relax me. It was the thought of not being allowed in more than anything that made me feel hot and anxious. No problem I walked off the plane, through immigration with no problems. This was a relief since when I came in March they were reluctant to let me in the country. I got in a taxi to go to our new home. I was a little nervous this was the first time Aaron and I had been separated for probably longer then 6 hours since the Pandemic had started. What if he had time to think and changed his mind about getting married, I got home, of course he was sleeping, I climbed into bed, curled myself around him and knew I was just being stupid.

The day of the marriage interview came. Aaron and I were pretty excited, After this interview everything we had worked so hard for the last few months would be put to rest and we could plan our wedding. When we went into the interview room. Sylvia the woman conducting the interview was very sweet. We liked her very much, she had really been an immense help for the whole process. We chit chatted for a few minutes and then she told me to leave the room while she spoke to Aaron. Now I was scared. I did not realize this was going to be like a test. Dumb me did not bring a phone so I had no distractions and bit my lip as I wondered if Aaron would pass the test.

Aaron came out with a grin on his face so I knew it went well and I went in. Sylvia started to ask me some questions. None too difficult but I am not one who pays the greatest attention to things. She wanted to know Aaron’s mother name. Which relatives of his I had met. She wanted to know the color of our front door. For the last one I honestly started laughing because I hadn’t the slightest clue. After about 15 minutes she asked Aaron to come back in. We passed. I don’t think there was any doubt of our flunking as Sylvia could see the love between us, It sparkles. I can’t believe I just said that.

Aaron was totally excited now, He wanted to go into full planning mode and didn’t know where to start. He wanted a stag party, a rehearsal dinner, a wedding reception and an after party. I was trying to keep my mouth shut but was totally freaking out. Aaron along with his best friend Luke were busy planning a stag party. I can’t remember now but I believe the lockdown must have eased up a bit as they were thinking of several different options. Should they go abroad or stay in Ireland, what they would do, where they would stay and so on. All of these plans included days of partying and Luke and Aaron were imaging how all of Aaron’s straight friends would get along with the gay ones but Aaron said crazy fun people just get along with crazy fun people and was excited about what would unfold. Although I would not have gone I think they were lucky it never materialized again due to Covid.

As we started to plan the wedding Aaron unnerved me quite a bit with his enthusiasm. The guest list grew and grew, seemed to get fancier, and the more he talked about it the wilder it would be. How all of his friends would be partying and shagging each other everywhere and telling me how much all of the Irish drink at weddings. All I could think of was all my brothers and sisters and relatives and friends trying to get over their jet lag with all of this going on. Don’t get me wrong, my family and friends love to drink and have a good time I just don’t think they were capable of keeping up with the Irish. We were both a bit sad when we realized none lf these things would be taking place but we enjoyed our little wedding as it was.

Regardless of what kind of wedding we were going to have we had to discuss the wedding attire. I would have been in anything looking nice. Not so with Aaron, he wanted to wear a tux Even though I had one I hate wearing it. He explained to me he was only getting married once and it was important to him to look his best. I told him if he wanted to look his best he would just be wearing his jock as far as I was concerned. He laughed but did not agree. We finally agreed I could wear a suit and he would wear a tux that matched. In the end the fact that he wanted to look so good only endeared me more to him. We hit every store in Dublin and he finally found a beautiful timeless tux that he could even wear as a suit if he wanted, I was a bit scared as he wanted to buy it a size smaller than he was as he gained a few pounds during lockdown and thought this would give him the incentive to take it off. As usual he succeeded.

Gay couple, Aaron and Mike on their wedding day.

When Aaron and I started talking about planning a wedding we figured we would have it the first week in September. My family quickly nixed that idea. They all wanted to come but the Pandemic situation was still too unknown. As it was nobody would have been here so it was for the best. When Sylvia told us Oct 7, we decided to plan a small wedding and have a large reception another time since at this point nobody seemed to have any ideas when things would be back to normal. We decided we were going to have a rehearsal dinner at a restaurant near our house and a dinner at one of our favorite restaurants after the ceremony. Little did we realize that about 2 weeks before our wedding we would go into phase 4 or 5, who can remember anymore and only 6 people would be allowed to our wedding celebration. The six people were Aaron and I, Aaron’s mother and stepfather, his brother and his best friend.

Now that wedding party 1 was cancelled I had 2 weeks to plan wedding 2. It was made a bit easier to plan because only hotels restaurants could be open. I decided I would try the three best hotels and make a decision. We decided on one of the oldest nicest hotels in the city and they happened to have a great wedding planner who did everything. I was a bit worried because Aaron wanted to take the presidential suite at another hotel and have it catered in the suite. He had left the decision making to me. At the same time I wanted to make him happy I also wanted to make the best choice, Luckily when I took him to meet the wedding planner he was quite pleased with the venue and what the food would be. He also loved the bridal suite that we were going to stay in for 3 nights since travel within Ireland and banned.

We managed to get everything done despite all the obstacles in our way and had about a week to go before the wedding. We were still waiting for our wedding bands which should have been done about a month ago but due to an error on their part were still being engraved.

The wedding day was here. We were being married in a civil ceremony and for the last few months all I been saying was I cannot wait for October 7, at 1:30 when we would be married. The day of the wedding we were all ready to go, even early. When we arrived someone came running outside and asked us if we were the Flynn-Shore party. I told him yes. He told us to hurry as we were late. The wedding was for 1:00 PM. I could not belief that I had fucked up the most important day of my life. But I had to laugh as it was such typical Aaron and Mike fuck up missing the start of their wedding. It ended up working out fine, just a little bit more exciting than I expected.

Gay couple, Aaron and MIke getting married.

Months now have passed and everyday is just as exciting as the next with the crazy, clumsy hunk of a man I call my husband.

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