Sunday, September 16, 2012

A view from the Bride's eyes. What you'll be seeing and what I'll be 'seeing'...


Six days until I marry my best friend, my soul mate, the true love of my life.  Yes, it's sappy and trite, but it's true.

We know the guests will have a blast!  They will laugh.  They will cry.  They will quite possibly pee their pants.  They will dance the night away.  They will be well-prepared for this pre-apocalyptic event!  Hopefully, no zombies...

We've put a tremendous amount of preparation into our wedding day.  It's been meticulously planned.  Not just because we're both Type A somewhat OCD control freaks, either!  Okay, maybe a little bit because of that.

It's because this day is about us.  It's about a marriage.  It's about love.  It's about two NOT becoming one, but vowing to walk together, supporting each other, respecting each other, drawing out the light inside of each other, challenging each other to be everything we were meant to be.  It's about the partnership. It's about the journey that led us to this day, the challenges we've overcome and the pure joy we feel when we are together.  It's not a beginning so much as a continuation.  A declaration to the world we belong together.

So what you'll see is a bride and groom, assorted family and friends 'doing the wedding thing'.  Except we hope you see more than that for it is so much more than that.

You'll hear songs chosen for their lyrics and depth of meaning to us rather than because they are traditional, sound nice or 'work'.  You'll see rituals with our own personal 'spin' on them because they are about us, not because this is how weddings are 'done'.  Trust me, this has given our wedding coordinator a bit of stress since cookie cutter weddings are all the rage it would seem!  You'll see a blend of the traditional with the spiritual and a few very non-traditional elements, yet very 'us'.

You'll see the union of two people who are truly meant to be together.  Who endured tremendous challenges along their way to each other. Who have not entered into this union lightly or without great thought, discussion and introspection. Who've worked hard to dance with their demons and follow their hearts even when their heads (and initially their friends) encouraged them to walk away.  It's about love, honestly, open-communication, respect and partnership. It's about a relationship that transcends the physical and the emotional.  It's a celebration of us!

You'll see it's not just about the union of us in marriage.  For that's really just a formality. It's a piece of paper saying the state recognizes us as married.  We are already 'married' in our hearts and in our souls.  It's also about the blending of a family.  About Joe's transition to husband and step-father.

There is a lot of symbolism in our wedding day.  It's conscious and deeply meaningful to us.  We hope our guests will be mindful of it, too.

We marry on the day of the Autumnal Equinox.  A time of equal day and night.  Symbolic of the equality in our relationship.  It is a time of harvest.  To rejoice in the abundance of love and support we have in our lives and in our presence that day.  In a spiritual sense, the solstices and equinoxes are times when the 'veil' between 'heaven' and earth is believed to be lifted.  When communication between those in the next place and those here on earth might be a bit easier, if you are of that belief.  We're fairly certain our friends and family in spirit will be present.  We encourage them to be mindful of 'signs'.  It's a time of tremendous color and contrast.  The beauty of the season is not lost on us.  We are hopeful Mother Nature smiles upon us as well.

September 22nd is a day of birth and death in my family.  The beloved Packard family matriarch, Agnes, died this day in 1996.  I remember her telling me just a few days before she died she was going to 'golf with Jesus!"  My other grandmother, Virginia, will be celebrating her 86th birthday with us.  She is my only living grandparent and the only grandparent attending the wedding.  Joe has one surviving grandmother, but she is unable to make the trip.  It is also the anniversary of another set of friends, Beardo and Jess.  Married by the same wonderful person who is marrying us.  Theirs was the first wedding I attended as Joe's 'girlfriend'.  Serendipity?

We will acknowledge those present with us and those who are with us only in spirit.  How blessed we will be to have so much love around us!

You'll see an empty chair with some pink and purple flowers and a little sign that says 'reserved for an angel'.  For my daughter, Meggie.  Who I've no doubt will be present in some capacity.  I'll carry a small photo of her on my bouquet.  I will walk down the aisle with my boys, very mindful of her role in this day.  She is an integral part of my life, and therefore my day.  She is as much my child as her brothers are and deserves to be acknowledged as such. They, of course, will fight about who gets 'her' food!

We will celebrate in dance.  There are many expressions of love.  The symbolism for us is great.  We met on a dance floor.  At a wedding.  That couple, Wendy and Mike, will be in attendance at ours.  The reading we've chosen is one read at that wedding.  We loved the reading and it's meaning, but we also loved the connection it provides for us on a symbolic level.  It will be read by a mutual friend who we had no idea had been a mutual friend until we met each other.  It seems a fitting role.

Our first dance is a Viennese Waltz.  It is a traditionally romantic and flowing yet fast paced dance.  Kinda like us!  One I've wanted to learn since I was a little girl.  You know, the whole Cinderella goes to the ball thing.  I used to watch ballroom dancing on PBS and it was one of my favorite dances to watch.  Our song was chosen because of the meaning of the lyrics to us.  Turned out it was a Viennese Waltz.  Go figure...Our dance was choreographed by our dance instructor to bring out the expression of some of those lyrics and convey the emotion of the song.  Our dance is not one of technical perfection by any means, but it is one of love, connection and partnership.  It's been 9 months in the making.  Huh.  Yeah.  The only 9 month gestation you're gonna see from us!

So while you will see two people celebrate their union in marriage and see the love abound, I will be seeing much more than that. I will see the symbolism in everything.  I will see the 43 years of my life that brought me to this moment that is so right and exactly where I am supposed to be.  I will see and marry my soul mate.  I will feel, give and share love. I will laugh with pure joy and cry tears of happiness.  The words we speak are truly from the heart.

I will see my two boys, handsome and probably a bit awkward and embarrassed at the attention, yet thrilled to share their mommy with their new step-father.  I will be filled with pride for them.  For the young men they are becoming.  I will see the traumas of their past and how Joe and our relationship has helped to nurture them and guide them to be present for and share the joy of this day.  When they walk me to Joe, everything that led to this day I will be mindful of, but I will see only Joe.  Don't think for a moment they are also not mindful of their sister and her place in all of this, for they are.  Mostly, if you ask them, they are all about the food!

I will see that empty chair and feel a blend of sadness and gratitude, for the gifts she gave me in her life and in her death.  For the courage and strength to follow my heart and honor my soul.  I will remember she taught me to savor the moment, to live life fearlessly and with joy and exuberance.  To do the things you love, again and again!

I will feel joy.  Overwhelming peace and joy.  Nothing has ever felt so right.

When we dance, I will hear the music but feel the connection of our hearts.  I will be unaware of much else.  I will follow his lead.  I will trust.  I will fly.  We!

And then, there will be cake!!!!  I LOVE cake!

We hope our guests have an amazing time.  We hope they can see beyond the ceremonial things to the deeper meaning underneath.  We hope they can see what brought us to this day, to each other and why we are getting married.  We are so blessed and grateful to have this opportunity, to have found each other, to have this love, light and laughter so abundant in our lives.

Though not a religious person, Corinthians has always been dear to me.  I've read it many a time at other people's weddings.  This passage in particular, resonates with me.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

New International Version (NIV)
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dear family, Mom is on strike. Have a great day!

That's it. I need a wife.  Or sleep.  Or cake.  Yes.  I need cake.  With wine.  Lots of wine.  And a vacation.  A very, very, long vacation.

I can't have any of those things right now, so I'm on strike.  There ungrateful family I bust my ass for, take that!

Indulge my selfish tantrum, will you?  Ready?  Go!

Why is it so hard for those around me to think like me?  If you know me as well as you do, wouldn't you know how to make me happy?  It's not hard.  Do what I ask.  It's simple, really.

Wouldn't you know when I say something I'd like, say, for my birthday, you should pay attention?  Because I really don't ask for much and I bust my ass giving of myself, my time, my energy, my thoughtfulness to others?  Because I sacrifice MY time and don't get to do the things I want to do for fun in order for others around me to be able to get to do what they want.  Because having things in order and making people happy is what I want for them and for me, for the world, really.  Peace, love and happiness.  Right.  Piece of cake.  Not.

Clearly I never appreciated my mother enough.  Mom, I'm sorry.  You rock.  This whole work full time, feed your family, arrange your life to accommodate theirs, support their hobbies and pursuits and give up your own and lose sleep, self-nurturing and any time to accomplish anything remotely fun or productive in one sitting if at all is exhausting.  It's a thankless and unpaid job.  It's 24/7/365 for years and years and years....

Sure, the family is thankful they get fed, have a somewhat clean house, clean clothes to wear, get to where they need to go and back again and their 'special' days are remembered in a special way.  They don't have any idea how challenging (or expensive financially, emotionally, or spiritually) it is to manage it all because they don't do it.  I know I didn't when I was the kid.  I've always been the S.O. that holds it all together and everyone has always been all to willing to let that happen, therefore my 'other half', no matter who it has been, has never known what it's like to be 'super-mom' or even just the woman who does the planning.  They all seem happy to be absolved of decision making and responsibility.  Lovely.  We're on our way to creating a wonderful future.

Let me tell you, it's exhausting.  It's never-ending.  And I need a break!!!!!!  IF I had the energy, I'd be rolling around on the floor kicking and screaming like a toddler right about now.  They are so lucky they can do that!  It's such a fabulous expression of frustration and release of emotion.  Kids are smart.  That can be a double edged sword...That's a different blog entry.

Telling me not to worry does not help.  Telling me it will 'all get done', doesn't help.  Telling me 'it will be okay'  does not make me feel any better. Telling me you will help but not telling me how or when doesn't ease my anxiety and stress.  I know how much time it takes, I know what's on my list and what the deadlines are. I know I can't sleep and get it all done.  I.  Can't.  Do.  It.

Case in point.  The dinner I started to make myself (after my family forgot I said I'd make grilled cheese for them) 3.5 hours ago is still on the stove.  Cold.  Because I keep getting distracted by various things and people who live in this house and had to be picked up from the soccer practice I was not informed of until this afternoon.  Now they made dinner for themselves.  Did they offer to make any for me?  Nope.  Now I'm so frustrated I've lost my appetite and my desire to work on my gazillion item to do list.  This does not bode well...

Hello wall.  Meet my absolutely dejected and woefully selfish tear-stained face.  *thud*

All I wanted was someone to pay attention, to think for a moment, "What would Kim do?  What would she really like?"  "What can I do for HER?"  Who does that?  No one.  That's who.  Not without prodding.  Not without suggestion.  Not without direct instruction.  Hell, even with all of that, it doesn't happen.

When I said quite clearly all I wanted was to not have to do my usual 'responsibilities', that was really what I wanted.  Basically, for someone else to make the sacrifices for a day.  To do what I do so I didn't have to.  To plan the meals, make the breakfast, lunch and dinner, get the kids up and and out so I could sleep for a change, to do the pick ups and drop offs and to procure my favorite cake.  A card would be nice.  Some words from the heart that show me that I hold some place of honor in your heart.  I like to give cards.  I like to get cards.  Meaningful ones.  Not a 'here is a card because you want a damn card' card.  Is that too much to ask?  Or maybe too much to expect one to remember?  Is it too much to expect that planning it for a day I don't have to work all day might be even nicer so I get an entire day of pampering or just a break instead of 2 hours?

The answer, if you are wondering, to all of the above, is apparently yes.  Was it just forgotten?  Was is presumed "Oh, she doesn't want that."  Maybe, but that doesn't make me feel any better.  Maybe she DOES want to be celebrated once in a while.  Just a little.  She wants someone to remember HER special day.

I want it to be all about me!  Just for one freakin' day a year.  Ok, two.  Mother's day I should have off as well, as should all mothers!

Now, you probably say it's my own damn fault.  My expectations are too high.  I was the one what had the kids and let them be involved in all these sports.  I'm the one who set the bar by just doing it all in the first place and not demanding help on a regular basis.  I have my reasons and they are valid.  Why should I expect someone who is not legally or genetically tied to them (or even those that are for that matter) to participate in my hell on a regular basis?  I shouldn't.  And I'm not expecting that or asking for it.  I'm asking for ONE day.

Perhaps I'm being irrational.  Clearly, I'm irritated.  You would be too if you saw my calendar and lived my life.  I'm sure many of you have similar stress and I hear you.

I am getting married to the love of my life in less than 3 weeks.  I do not want to have this level of busy-ness and stress in my life right now.  I want to enjoy the process, I want to relax, I want to be present for all of it. I feel so disconnected from everyone and everything because all I do is go, go go.  It's so hard to be present, remember and enjoy life when you can't do everything you need to do and no one is doing it for you.

It kills me to have to ask for help.  It kills me to not be able to do it all.  It kills me that I have these feelings and expectations.  It kills me that I'm being so God damn selfish.  It kills me that I am even writing this because dammit I'm not *that* girl, except right now, I am.

Is starting a one-woman revolt the answer?  I've been on strike before.  It wakes them up for a few hours.  It's a long walk to soccer practice.  Eventually, we'll run out of food.  Eventually, their clothes will all be dirty.  Eventually, they'll notice I'm not around.  They'll need to find someone else to help them with their homework or their fail out of school.  Eventually their soccer coaches will start sending nasty emails because they are not at practice.  Eventually the electricity will be shut off.  Eventually they will wonder where the heck I went.  Maybe they'll even show gratitude and respect and do more....Maybe I'm delusional.

Or maybe someone will just drop a house on me.  Don't make me get my flying monkeys...

I dare you.  Cross my one woman picket line.  Please.  I beg of you.

Calgon, take me away!