Stronger Together

"But there's a full moon rising / Let's go dancin' in the light / We know where the music's playing / Let's go out and feel the night. // Because I'm still in love with you / I want to see you dance again / Because I'm still in love with you / On this harvest moon." - Neil Young


Every year when October rolls around I am swept over by a wave of romantic notions about partnerships and marriage.  I’d like you to imagine me swaying to an endless loop of Neil Young's “Harvest Moon,” here.    

I recall images of my grandparents who were wed in 1950 and celebrated 48 years of marriage, always managing to seem like best friends sharing an inside joke. They were married in October, under a fat autumn moon. My mother also married my father in October, an intimate service (bride, groom, minister) in a wooded area on the grounds of an art museum in Indiana. It was 1979, she wore a gorgeous flower crown and she hired a professional photographer (always the move). The golden colors swarm them and the photos are vintage perfection: warm, glowing and slightly fuzzy. 

My mom got remarried in October of 2000. I was fifteen and I got to be a bridesmaid for her, which was special because I adore my step-dad. My sister Whitney got married in October ten years later, on the top of a picturesque mountain in New Hampshire. I met Emile that same October, and after 4 years together, we also got married in the weeks following the Harvest Moon.  

Needless to say, it’s hard for me to make it through the month of October without doing some meaningful reflecting on the love and weddings that have been part of my personal life.

This month, I was thinking especially about my sister, Whitney, and what the last 6 years of marriage has meant for her, and her family. Before my sister met her husband, she was raising her son in Philadelphia and miraculously going to school full time. She was fulfilled in many parts of her life, but had trouble bringing a partner into her busy schedule, something I’m sure many people identify with. She ultimately made a brave choice to move away from the hustle and racket of the city and relocated to a small town in Massachusetts. It was there that she met Ian.

When I reflect on that time and all the changes that followed their fateful meeting (she randomly landed under the same roof as him, since his mother was her landlord), I am reminded that mixing two lives together can produce incredible results. How lovely it is to witness the coming together of two aimless souls and watch them become one strong directional arrow pointed into the future.

I watched as Whitney’s life transformed. First, a house with a gorgeous deck overlooking the trees, then another son, countless hours of yoga, two degrees, and a few trips across the world; all proof that two individuals can produce powerfully when intentionally aligned. When someone is trying to be their best self to gain the respect of their partner, their partner then reflects that desire. A partnership can move forward something stalled, and a great partner can unlock the potential and strength of their other.

We often are able to promote and encourage the partners in our lives more than we can self-advocate. We see all the best things in those we love, and are doubtful and critical about our own abilities. Partnerships are wonderful because of the support they offer, but also because of the friction and tension that they produce, which create vibrations enacting change. I wouldn’t ever have had the confidence and conviction to start my own company with out the bolstering of my husband, Emile. Similarly, without the strong partnership between Kate and I, Clark & Kelly would not buzz with the electricity we both feel.

There was a super moon last Sunday and Kate and I watched it hang in the sky over the wedding for our clients Jess + Joe (at Race and Religious, a stunning venue here in New Orleans). A moving October wedding feels right at home in my thoughts, and Jess + Joe’s partnership certainly exemplifies the benefits of partnering up. Being in their company, at this emotional juncture, stirred up again the desire to acknowledge my own tribe. Perhaps we should all take stock of the crucial partnerships (friendships, romances, family and business) in our lives and fortify them with gratitude more often.  Perhaps the big moon will encourage us.

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