Dave and I have a song, a song I love, and one we’ll be dancing to at the wedding this weekend. This isn’t that song. 🙂 But it’s a very nice one. And I think we’re going to have lots of songs over the years — songs for singing along to in the car, songs for dancing, songs that make us laugh. I have a feeling this song is always going to remind me of the year we got married, and all the happiness I know is going to come. It also makes me think of all the wonderful couples I know, the ones whose happiness makes me smile, and how very much I wish them the best. And if this all seems a little sappy, well, I’m three days out, here. 🙂 You should kind of expect it.
So I’ve been counting down to our wedding day for months, sometimes posting about it on Facebook. Eight months to go, five months… one month. But I’ve had a secret the whole time: it’s a fake-out. Oh, the wedding is really on November 9, don’t be silly. But that isn’t the day I’m really anxious for. Secretly, I’ve been aiming a few weeks earlier, for this Saturday, for October 26. That’s the day Dave comes here and then doesn’t go away. At least, not without me.
It’s been three years and about four months since we got together — wonderful times, of course, but also years of goodbyes and counting the days until we see each other again, occasional time zone difficulties and calls, texts, Skype and email. I’ve cried in an airport, at last count, sixty-four times. Every minute we’re together is wonderful and every minute we spend apart I’m looking forward to the next time. And it’s finally done. No more picking him up at the airport and trying not to think about how I’ll be right back there in a few days, dropping him off. No more planning visits. No more goodbyes.
Obviously, we’ll be apart sometimes. Dave still loves Vegas, and I still like to see my friends, and we’ll do things apart, sometimes for a stretch of days. So yes, there’ll be airports and goodbyes in our future, but it’s not the same. Not at all. We won’t ever be leaving each other just to go back to separate homes anymore. From now on, my home will be his home, and his home will be mine, and that’s the place we’ll both always be coming back to, wherever we go. It’s been such a long time coming but we’re finally here, and I couldn’t be happier. So no more countdowns for me, after this weekend. We’re going to have a lovely wedding, but I’ll already have the one thing I’ve wanted all this time.
My wedding is four weeks away. I’m 41 years old, and I’ve been waiting for this for quite a few of those years. So I’m not going to apologize for being excited, anxious, or even a little wedding-obsessed. I’m no bridezilla, but it is my turn.
It took a long time to find the right guy. I didn’t kiss a lot of frogs, per se — I just waited, hoping he was out there, but not willing to settle if he wasn’t. And Dave is more wonderful than anything I could have imagined, and worth all of that wait. And then some. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a little lonely sometimes.
I’ve never begrudged my friends or my family their turns. I’ve been genuinely happy for each of them as they found love, got married, had kids, did whatever it was that made them happy. I’ve been to their showers and weddings and christenings with a glad heart, and truly wished them well. But you hit a certain age, where the showers all turn to weddings, and those turn to christenings, and then it’s the birthday parties, and then graduations… and you’re still soldiering on, on your own. Thinking, I don’t want to be greedy or ask for too much, but I wish I wasn’t always the one attending. At some point, just once at least, I’d like to be the one celebrating.
So it’s my turn. Just this one day, me and Dave. And after that we’ll go to christenings and graduations and other weddings, just as glad for our friends and family as we were before. Just doing it together, which makes all the difference.
Yesterday was three months to the wedding (we like counting down to things, if you couldn’t tell) and we celebrated by going to Jared’s to pick out my wedding ring. As a side note, there’s an experience for you. You walk in the door and they insist on taking you on a tour of the facility, even when you say what you’re there for. “Our company was founded in blah blah… here our our watches… our corporation has a strong commitment to excellence… these our our newest pieces…” Yeah, I don’t need the tour. I was in this place all the time when it was a Don Pablo’s. Unless you’ve still got the tortilla chip warmer in the back, I don’t need to see anything else.
So then they sit you down and start showing you rings with enormous stones on them, even though you said you’re just there for a band, and even though your fiance has already bought you a ginormous and if I say so amazing diamond and sapphire ring that, frankly, weighs down your finger enough already. My ring is awesome, and I will say that, even if it’s bragging. I’m going to include a picture here, too, because damn it, that’s one of the perks of being engaged, imho. As my cousin said once, “When you’re engaged, it’s pretty much all ‘Let me see the ring’ and “When’s the wedding?’. No one is going to ask you about much of anything else during that time, so you might as well enjoy it.” And I do. Dave had this made, with a stone he picked out specially, and it means the world to me. But, I’m an LM, and I’m not looking to add more bling. Just a band. At Jared, however, they must give you a tour of the diamond mines first; it’s required.
Finally, after our trip through the catacombs ended, they found us a very nice and simple band that is just what we were looking for, and that matches the one I got for Dave. It’s funny. I’d thought about skipping a wedding ring entirely, but in the end, I wanted one. I started thinking about the ceremony, and that nice moment when I’ll put the band I picked out for him on his finger, and I want him to do the same for me, on mine. What that moment symbolizes means everything to me. Honestly, we could use ring pops, really, and it would mean the same thing. But these will last longer. 🙂
I’ve been thinking about my mother more this past year, as the wedding and the move gets closer. There are times it’s very hard to do all of this without her. There are times I know she would be very happy for me, and there are times I acknowledge that the move would be a lot harder for both of us, if she was still here. But all of that, I know, is perfectly natural. I know I’ll think of Mom on my wedding day, and I’ll probably think of her even more when I drive away from the house we shared. It’ll be hard, but it’s okay. It’s supposed to be, in a good way.
What’s hardest to remember about Mom, though, isn’t okay — it’s the times things were so awful for her, so difficult. Her life was harder than it should have been. Don’t get me wrong: she would have been the first one to say that she had a lot of joy, and a lot of love. But she deserved less heartache, less loss, and less fear. She kept so much of that from me when I was a younger. I didn’t know how poor we were, how tough we had it, how precariously we were getting by. She took care of me, and she was scared so I didn’t have to be. I asked her how she did it, once, and said I was sorry she’d had to worry about me, and not just herself. She said having me to take care of was what kept her going, and what helped her. I hope that was true. I hope I helped. I told her as often as I could that she did good, that she made sure I had what I needed, that I knew she’d always done the best she could with the absolutely shitty hand she’d been dealt. I hope she believed me, but I know, like all of us, she still looked back with hindsight, castigated herself for not doing better, second-guessed her every mistake.
So I have to imagine if I could see her for just one day, or have just a minute to tell her one more thing, it wouldn’t end up being about my wedding dress, or about the tuxedos I chose because they’re just like the ones worn at hers, or the dinner we picked out that was one of her favorite meals. I’d want her to know all those things, but more importantly, I’d try my best one more time to make her realize that she was the best mother anyone could have asked for, and that she needed to stop blaming herself for sins that weren’t her own. Those are what’s worth remembering.
Last year I read 54 new books, from start to finish. Some were shorter than others, but some were hugely long, so on the whole it was a record I was proud of. And I definitely enjoyed myself, finding new authors, a new series or two, reading all the big titles that came out in the past year or so. It meant I always had something to say about whatever anyone was reading, and it was fun zooming past my goal of 52-books-in-a-year. This year, though, I’ve read a fraction of that. And this summer, I’m being really lazy and rereading. I love to reread my favorite books. Some are comfortable old favorites from teen years, or fantasy novels that take me away from everyday humdrum. My favorite reread of all, though, is Anna Karenina.
I first read it towards the end of high school, many moons ago. I also don’t know how often I’ve reread it since. If I had to count, I’d put it close to double digits, and since it’s a pretty long book, that’s saying something. Why do I keep going back to it? The language is lovely, and the descriptions are beautiful. The story is compelling and tragic. Anna, though, has never been very sympathetic to me, and Vronsky less so. Watching their doomed trajectory is fascinating, but it’s Levin I love, and through him, Kitty. Without a doubt my favorite literary passage, anywhere, is the scene where Levin harvests the grass and hay with the peasants who work his farm, every minuscule detail of it. It’s not the tragedy but the everyday simplicity that I keep coming back for.
Maybe that’s why I’m rereading Anna Karenina this summer. True, it starts with disappointment and indecision for Levin, but in the end, it’s nothing but love and contentment. That’s what I want. The ugly, impassioned, hurtful way Anna and Vronsky crash through the lives of everyone around them is the kind of drama I never could see the value of, in literature or out of it. Give me a sweet couple who hurts no one at all by being wonderfully in love any day.
Dave and I met each other for the first time three days and three years ago. It’s also the day we fell in love, became a couple, and our lives together began. It was not, however, the day we started being friends. That happened much earlier.
We met on the Internet. But we didn’t meet, you know, on the Internet. Not in the dating-site kind of way. We met on something called a newsgroup, or Usenet, that an alarming number of you probably weren’t alive to see or weren’t aware of at the time. Back when the Interwebs Was Young, folks liked to talk to each other about their favorite subjects, just like they do now — but there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no web sites, really, just text, and so, via newsgroups, you could post about your favorite topics, shows, what have you. They’re still around, sorta. And you can read the archives of them on Google Groups. But the point is, back in the day, there was nothing for a couple of The West Wing fans to do but to lurk around the alt.tv.the-west-wing newsgroup, in order to get their weekly post-episode fix. I used to post these weekly recaps of a sort, called “Random Thoughts”, after every episode. Dave, it turns out, used to read them. One day he contacted me, via email. He asked to borrow some videotapes (ha!) I had, of past episodes. I let him (I confess, a little reluctantly — I hate lending my stuff) and we started emailing each other. One day we started calling each other, too. And then, for about ten years, we emailed, called, and eventually texted each other, a lot.
Yes, I said ten years. I looked forward to those emails every day, and I loved talking to him for hours. The years went by and nothing changed, and then one day in 2010 I realized he was my favorite person in the world to talk to. That I loved the sound of his voice. That I missed him when he was away, or busy. That I was jealous of the idea of him being with another girl. I told my best friend, Tom, and he pointed out the obvious, that I had feelings for this guy, and that I needed to do something about it. He was right. So about a month later, I did.
Dave was pretty dense and didn’t get what I was trying to say to him until I’d hit him over the head with it, but he came around fast, then. A few weeks later we saw each other for the first time, there in that airport, and by the end of that day I knew I wanted to love him forever. Luckily, I gather he felt the same. So now it’s three years and three days later, our wedding is four and a half months away, and forever is already here.
And that’s how we met. 🙂