The Year

It’s been over a year since I walked down that aisle I’ve always claimed I’d be dragged down (kicking and screaming.) I did not kick or scream. Nor was I dragged. Actually, according to most witnesses, I might have been seen skipping. Nah. I’ll deny it.

They say the first year is the hardest. Well, some say that. Others say it’s the honeymoon year. I’ll side with the latter. It’s been good. But he’s a good guy. Who else would I lock it in with? I’m almost relieved I found someone that I don’t have that nagging feeling in my mind that I’ll end up supremely unhappy someday. I’ve always had that feeling. And I’ve always been right. So I’ve always had peace walking away. But with this dude? Still enjoy the hugs and cuddles and spending all day together.

We recalled some wedding memories and laughed about them. Many things did go wrong (like the best man leaving the groom behind at home due to miscommunications) and my last minute lipstick smear all the way down my white veil (everyone was freaking out except me, under the flurry of Bounce wipes, clorox pens, H2O2 and a hundred “Oh My Gosh”es by my wonderful makeup artist. (I love you, Sarah. You are amazing.) But in the end there was no wrong, the groom was on time, no one noticed my veil, my dad did NOT get his request to have the venue’s two great danes to walk down the aisle with us (although he did decide to get up and check out the fireworks when they called him to the dance floor for the father-daughter dance), and no one caught on fire during the sparklers exit. Oh, and there were no terrible cicadas flying in people’s faces. Don’t ask if you don’t remember.

I cherish these memories, but I cherish the future too. Having someone on my team is a good feeling. Not that I didn’t enjoy singlehood. I did. Every moment, although there were always doubters. I was not lonely for wedded companionship. I enjoyed being able to travel and having my heart not tied when I traipsed around the world. These are memories I’ll also cherish.

Here’s to a year and to many more.

Scat(tered)

Today was the last day of school for the kiddos.

These past few weeks were crazy. It’s crazy for any teacher, but ask a good special education teacher how the last few weeks of school are and you may catch a crazy glint in their eye. It’s crazy. But I like it. I’m getting better at something, and it’s helping a student’s future. Productive work, yes.

There was a FaceBook thing a while back that had a list of MBTI personality traits and their supposed ‘worst nightmare.’ I resounded with most of them, but mine was particularly irksome. Something to do with working for something very unproductive while needing to get instruction from people who had no idea what they were doing.

Um… I guess that’s education most days of the week. But at least I feel productive some of the time.

Anyway, the kiddos are gone. Lots of hugs. Some teary little eyes. Lots of questions of whether I’ll be seen again next year. I’ll miss them. One of them thrives on hugs. She comes and gets her ‘power hug’ from me throughout the day. God knows we need power hugs. Another kiddo saw her do it and started requesting some himself. Sure, kiddo. Power hugs for everyone. Some teachers don’t believe in hugging their kids. I am not one of them. I will hug those suckers because who knows how much they need it?

You’d think I’d be relieved with kiddos being gone. No… not really. There are teacher work days (at least I am not sitting around in a circle discussing dress code. That is, however, another conversation for people who knew me years ago.) I have to pack up my room because we are doing a glorious shuffle at the behest of our principal. I am a little sad. I liked how I decorated my room (I used to be very spartan in my decorating but somewhere along the line I broke and found myself with a very large sun, blue skies, and little cutout clouds on my bulletin boards.) I had good help.

I also have classes to take. I like learning. But not when it impedes my chill time. I’d like to Matrix it up and upload thousands of gigs of data into my brain and walk away satisfied. I KNOW KUNG FU!

Also, I don’t know how, this time last year, I was doing IEP writing, cleaning, packing our house to move, and doing wedding planning all at once. Actually, I think I know how. I was insane. No sane person would have made it. Nope. So thank you, little god of insanity, for dragging me through that phase.

Speaking of which…. it’ll be a year later this month. Sometimes I am still amazed that I found someone who cares so much about my happiness. I can see it actually hurting him when I am hurt, or sad, or disappointed. It makes me happy to see him light up when he’s made me happy. I guess it’s a good deal, to find someone who is happy to see you happy, and who makes you happy when you see him happy that he’s made you happy.

Outie!

Re-find

I’ve been reactive lately. Something I hate. I always prefer to be proactive, forward thinking, ahead of the game, predictive and gracious, but not this. Not a reactor to circumstance, a person lashing out at things seemingly out of control. I’ve been road raging more, glaring at stickers on the bumpers of cars, veering away from empathy and defaulting towards prejudice and distance. This is not me. But this is not the America I know. The fringe has become the center, the ignorable narcissist the leader of the free world. 

I’m losing my grip. Things seem too unpredictable, reality suddenly doesn’t seem right anymore, and the trajectory of the way I thought things would go is all askew. 

In school today, the principal made an announcement, as he does every morning: “Gooood morning…!” But after the typical news about the ballet club, soccer practice, and new bus assignments, he said in the same tone of voice as if he was talking about who made the winning shot in the basketball game last week, “We here at S— Middle School just want to remind everyone that you are safe here. In these uncertain times, with the new executive order, we want to remind everyone that we will never ask you for any documents, or where your parents’ visa is from. You are safe and welcome here as part of our school family. Have a great day!”

And I bit my lip and yelled at myself so I wouldn’t cry. Grateful for grace, from public schools to public servants, from private citizens who effect change to outspoken demonstrators, from children who reach out their hands to grown ups who stand for justice. I am encouraged and renewed. I’m glad to hear these voices once silent and complacent through times of peace now emboldened by injustice. 

Keep pushing forward. Let us find ourselves again. 


Yesterdays 

You know what’s sad? Empty tomorrows. I can deal with sad yesterdays; every day is a step away, whether you want it that way or not. But the empty tomorrows are what hurts. 

Giving thanks has the flip side of remembering many things. This year, I thought of my many friends who are gone… I think of laughs we will never have again, stories never known by others, just one-sided now. Sometimes I still have stories I want to share, but realize that I can’t. 

I’m grateful for what I had, but there is no joy or peace, and perhaps there shouldn’t be. Not because of a heaven, but because grief is real, and not to be reasoned away. 

I’m grateful for the love I have now, and for the man giving it to me. I’m grateful for yesterday, no matter how distant that day is becoming in our rear view mirrors. 

But tomorrow is filled with days where we learn to live without. 

Hi!

Yes, I am happy to report that through all this radio silence, I AM ALIVE!

Yes, I am happy. Yes, I am frenetically busy. Yes, I watched just part of the presidential debates until I realized I can’t handle seeing more childish behavior after work hours.

To answer your question, married life is great! (I never thought that “how’s married life?” would be the greeting that replaces “how are you?”)

Off I go! Writing more later.

MWS (4): The Confession

Before I start on the big question of “Should I purchase my dress from China?” I want to clarify something. I said before that I never dreamed of my wedding. I was kindly reminded by a friend that I did in fact have wedding day dreams. I’ve had this particular one for years, even. Everyone knew it and I was unabashed to share it. Here’s to my friends who knew these dreams. You guys are the real MVPs. Here goes:

My dream wedding gown was dark wash jeans, a nice white t-shirt (never worn before, of course, I’m not a savage), and high heels. I’d prance down whatever aisle I needed to (city hall!) with a bunch of specially selected friends and go out to eat at Red Robin afterwards (yum) and just celebrate. Receptions would follow, grand and delicious, on at least 2 different locations so friends wouldn’t be inconvenienced to travel to a faraway venue.

Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? Notice that these plans didn’t include flavors of cake, color wheels, pinterest, or wedding dresses from China (this post is coming, I promise.) It was simple, inextravagant, cheap, and people-centric versus ME-centric.

#dreamsdashed

Oh, and I also told some people that my future husband-to-be would have to drag me down the aisle kicking and screaming. Because he’d want it more than I did, and I knew how hard marriage can be, more than anyone. Even him.

Maybe my concept of what marriage was has changed. I will admit that my idea of nuptuals wasn’t the best. I’d heard plenty of unhappy stories from women who felt trapped in their marriages and I vowed I would not be one of those women. Whatever it took, I always yanked those rose-colored glasses off my face whenever I felt the world turning too flowery. Men typically had to work very hard to earn trust, particularly because by now, I’d developed a pretty keen eye for red flags and a pretty resolute will to walk away from anything and anyone, no matter how difficult.

And so I lived. No, I did not WAIT. People talk about ‘waiting for marriage’ like a person’s life is incomplete without a spouse. A blank space yearning for fulfillment. My parents’ greatest hope for me was that their hopeless daughter would find someone who would take care of her and grow old with her. I always figured I would have plenty of friends and animals to keep me company. And Jesus. What more can a girl need?

Turns out in this wide world there is someone I can trust, love, and walk with. Someone who thinks I am beautiful. Someone kind, gentle, and noble. Someone I don’t have to analyze and second-guess. And I’m marrying him, folks. In a big white dress. In a couple of dresses, actually.

Before I finish, I want to reiterate that my love language is service. It is hard for me to ask people to do things for me, and when they do, I am always floored. I would prefer to pay someone to do something (hence, wedding planner) than to ask for goodwill. I would prefer to serve on my wedding day than to be served. But there is humility in being served. You’d think kings and queens are poor examples of it, and they might be, but true services is double-edged. It is not only knowing how to serve, but knowing how to be served.

served

Thanks Jesus. For serious.

#I’veBeenServed

 

MWS (3): The Insanity

I am not a smart woman.

When NT and I started getting serious, we both kinda knew where this was headed. But like some weird mental blockage, I just never thought I needed to plan for this. I mean, these things happen on their own right??

Now I am not (and never was) that girl who dreamed of her wedding day since she was a child. I never had a dream dress, or a dream venue, or a dream table setting for my sweetheart table (I didn’t even know what that was until I had to make decisions about it!)

Speaking of decisions. I am tired of making them. What color, what flavor, how many, how little, how much, who, what, where, when… hooooooooooooooooow do I do this without losing myself? And why did I think working full time at a new job and wedding planning would go well together? I don’t know. I have a full week after school is done before I walk down that result-of-multiple-decisions isle, and we just signed a lease that puts the move in date DURING THAT WEEK.

So full time at a new job, moving, wedding planning, meh.

MEH, right?!

Look, I don’t stress out over stuff. I’ve jumped out of planes. By myself. With just a backpack full of nylon on my back as insurance against dying. I’ve wrangled wild horses (in the form of middle school and high school students.) I’ve endured much more stressful, time-consuming, managerial duties that had multiple moving pieces. I’ve spoken in front of hundreds of people and helped coordinate events that had hundreds of people.

But wedding planning? Did I mention I even hired a wedding planner? Seriously, guys. Real talk time. Get a wedding planner. Even if it’s a day-of planner. (They come in full, partial, and day-of varieties.) It was the most important decision I’ve made besides picking the venue. And don’t choose a friend. You want someone you can be a banshee fresh out of banshee school with and still be ok because you know, professionalism. You want to be able to blame someone if things go wrong and never have to look them in the eye and harbor ill-will and resentment because your bridezilla dream from when you were 10 didn’t come through as planned because she couldn’t find those white elephants that didn’t poop. I don’t have dreams like that but when poor Jacklyn doesn’t reply to my  harried texts within TWO POINT FIVE seconds I start palpitating.

Wedding planning is not the most difficult thing I’ve had to do. But it is far more stressful than I thought it was going to be, even with a wedding planner by my side, and a fiance who is really spectacular. When I am freaking out, he redirects me to thoughts of beautiful Maine coons (anyone have one we can adopt?) and miniature schnauzers (my favorite breed of dog) and mews and boofs in my ear until my heart rate goes down to something that doesn’t sound like Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee.

Yes, I embedded the soundtrack of my last few weeks for ya’lls enjoyment.

I am reminded that this event, contrary to what everyone keeps saying, is NOT just about ME, or US, but about bringing friends together and having a good time together. It does not have to be perfect, and people will not remember if I forgot to add goofy spectacles to the selfie station. It is about being married, being together, and celebrating a union that extends far beyond a few hours in June.

wedding

As is life. Life is more than a few hours. The hours I’ve stressed about things in have long passed, and I’ve made it through events I never thought I would live through unscathed. I might have scars, but they are beautiful too.

And as I said, running theme: my friends keep me sane. So grateful for the lot of them, particularly L, who has been throwing herself into “indiscriminate and reckless helping” amid her own son graduating middle school! And friends who say they will help me do my hair. And try on my wedding gown. And haul flowers so I don’t have to pay them to deliver. And do some amazing calligraphy. And so much more. This is what makes it worth it. Feeling that love because of the servitude of my wonderful friends to whom I am indebted!

Next Up: my Wedding Dress from China