Measuring cups. Check. Four hand towels. Check. A crockpot. Check. Gift-wrapping? Yes, please.
With a few clicks of a mouse or a quick trip to the store, wedding gift shopping is complete for most guests, an item marked off their to-do list.
But what if newlyweds asked you for more time? Could you fulfill that request?
Time is a precious commodity. Think of how often you hear people say that there simply aren't enough hours in a day. For someone living with cystic fibrosis, the concern goes beyond the hours in a day; instead, it's about the number of days. How many days will there be? How many tomorrows? How much time?
When I was 9 years old, I decided I was never going to get married. That may sound a bit premature for a kid, but I was just grasping my life with CF. Knowing that marriage is a lifelong commitment, it didn't seem fair to burden someone else with my uncertain future. I thought I was making the selfless choice by ensuring I would not get married.
As I grew older, I remained committed to my decision. That is, until I met the person who chose to love me, without hesitation.
Ramon and I met in December 2011; I was 25 years old. Within days, I knew I'd met the person I wanted to be with forever. I just didn't know what our “forever” would entail. Nobody knows what the future will hold, but life with a chronic illness adds another layer of complexity. While we both had (and still have) anxiety when we think too far into the future, it encouraged us to enjoy the present. Despite our concerns, our love for each other overpowered our fears and we decided on a lifetime together.
On Dec. 20, 2015 -- on the four-year anniversary of the day we met -- Ramon and I tied the knot at a small, casual ceremony. The day was simple yet magical; we didn't need anything fancy as long as we had each other.
After we announced our marriage, our family and friends started inquiring about gift requests. The answer was a no-brainer: we wanted time and the gift of tomorrow. For us and for so many with CF, time means medical advancements and steps toward a cure.
In April 2016, we created a wedding registry of “future memories.” “Future memories” may sound contradictory but we knew we needed more tomorrows to build our life together. Through the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, we created a passion fundraising event, a customized page to tell our love story and explain our wish for donations to the Foundation -- a request for more time for Ramon and me. The response was overwhelming.
In three months, we raised more than $25,000 in celebration of our new life together. Our donors ranged from childhood friends to colleagues to complete strangers. We could barely keep up with writing thank-you notes as the donations poured in; we were so grateful for the love and support we received. Ramon and I take comfort knowing that we've received a gift that will live on beyond the two of us. Every donation toward a cure for CF gives us the thing we desire the most: time.
Our linens may not match and we may have to mix things by hand, but our hearts are full of love and a promise for the future.