Wedding Bells Are A Ringin’

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is: 

Tell us about your wedding . . . or the last wedding you attended.

It was submitted by: http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

My first thought when I read my “Secret Subject” was which one?  I’ve had 2 weddings.  Awkward.  I briefly entertained the idea of sharing the juicy details of my super secret wedding to Adam Levine, but the restraining order prenup forbids it.

I’m just happy Adam is back to looking like his sexy self.  Impending fatherhood does his body good.

Anyway, I digress.  Weddings.  I don’t remember the last one I attended, so I guess I’ll talk about mine, both of them.  They couldn’t have been more different, just like the men I chose as grooms.

Tom AND Jerry.

Unknown

Not made up names.  My ex and current husband carry the same names as the cartoon I grew up watching.  I snicker every time I inadvertently use both their names in the same sentence.

I was barely 21 when I married the first time, and we were engaged for a very long 18 months.  I was obsessed with weddings in general.  Even as a child, I was transfixed by the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.  I loved books, movies and tv shows about weddings.  I couldn’t get enough, my whole life I dreamed of what that day would be like. I watched Father of the Bride, the one with Steve Martin, probably a million and one times before my Christmas wedding in ’92.  They used to have these wedding shows on the TLC network (I have no idea if they still do), and I watched them religiously.  I loved hearing the engagement stories and watching as they planned their dream weddings.  I could have stayed in the engagement period forever.  I wanted a very traditional wedding.  I wanted to feel like a princess on my very special day.  My family didn’t belong to a particular church but my groom-to-be was Catholic.  Ironically, I wanted to get married in the church I belong to now, but none of us were members at the time, so we couldn’t.  The very same church where I would meet, hubby #2.  We ended up getting married in the Catholic church that my groom grew up attending.  Not my first, second or even third choice but I made the best of it. An omen?

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  I knew I wanted to get married during the festive season.  My bridesmaids dresses were dark green, poinsettia’s everywhere.  Since I didn’t grow up Catholic, didn’t know anyone who was Catholic, I was unaware that purple was the liturgical color of Advent.  Purple.  Very Violet.  Also means penance, humility and melancholy.  I should have done my research…this was clearly an omen.  Not a good one.

Most of the wedding was a complete blur.  I don’t remember the food, the music or the people.  I do have one distinct memory.  I remember after we were pronounced man and wife, I heard catcalls and whistling coming from the back of the church.  It made me smile.  My new sister-in-law, my favorite of his 5 siblings, and probably one of the very few on his side of the family truly happy at our blessed union.  She would go on to die tragically in a car accident less than a year later.  I think of her often, and her memory always brings a smile to my face.  She did more for me than she’ll ever know.  I think she would have been sad that we didn’t make it for the long haul.  She was definitely our biggest cheerleader, at least as far as I knew.  She always made me feel like a part of the family anyway.  She was a life-force, and I still miss her.  I wish my girls could have known her.

The other thing I remember is the priest who married us.  He shattered all my stereotypes of what a priest would be like, act like.  I don’t know what I thought exactly, but the Father that greeted us for our pre-marriage counseling sessions, smoking a cigarette and telling inappropriate jokes and hilarious stories, was nothing I would ever have expected.  I instantly fell in love with him.  I heard from many people after the wedding, that he gave one of the best ceremony “sermons” they’d ever heard.  He took the time to get to know us, and his message and words definitely reflected that knowledge and insight.  I was very sad to learn that he passed away recently.

I remember my dress and permed hair.  Mostly, I remember how skinny I was and I remember thinking I wasn’t skinny at the time.  My future fat self should go back in time and slap that stupid skinny girl silly.

IMG_0533

See all that Christmas greenery clashing with the purple/violet…sigh.  Or are you distracted by that sexy perm and ginormous bow on my behind?

I don’t understand why my girls don’t want to wear this dress for their own weddings…it’s a mystery.  That shiny satin.  The puffy shoulders.  All that beading and lace.  Timeless is the word.  Am I right or am I right?  I know, right.

Anyway, things didn’t work out how I planned.  My life took a million different turns, each more unexpected than the next.  I wouldn’t change any of it, because it finally brought me my soulmate and partner for life (cause I’m not getting divorced again, so he’ll literally have to die to get out of it – a fact I remind him daily).

My second wedding was a much smaller affair, only family.  My parents had a beautiful backyard, a place where I loved spending time, so I knew immediately I wanted to get married there.  While it lacked the fanfare, pomp and circumstance of my first wedding, I remember almost every detail like it happened yesterday.  I couldn’t wait to make this particular man my husband.  There are certainly days when I need to call on the emotions of that day, remember all the reasons I fell in love with him and merged our two families.  I knew that my life would never be the same.

Our wedding day was sweet, romantic and full of promise.  We were surrounded by the people who loved us most, especially our three beautiful girls.  It was a warm, sunny, fragrant and beautiful day in May.  Even though I remember every detail and emotion I felt on that day, we frequently forget the actual day itself.  One year, I had to pull out our marriage certificate to confirm our anniversary.  We often go half the day thru before we realize, “oh hey, it’s our anniversary today!”  We also struggle to remember how many years it’s been.  I choose to see that as a good thing.

67 percent of 2nd marriages end in divorce.  Those aren’t good odds.  Blending two families is extremely hard work.  There are certainly moments when I wanted to throw in the towel.  No one dreams of their second wedding.  I married the first time intending it to be forever.  Forever didn’t work out so well, but I wouldn’t change a thing.  I’ve been judged rather harshly by some for being divorced but no one was harder on me than I was on myself.  I felt like a failure.  I felt quite strongly that I had let my girls down, let my family down, let myself down.  It’s not a subject I like to talk about or share.  It’s something I’ve carried with a certain degree of shame and embarrassment.

But on that day in May, all I felt was hope.  I felt loved, protected and cherished.  I knew the road would be bumpy, challenging and would at times feel insurmountable, but with that man at my side, I felt like we could conquer the world, overcome every obstacle life would throw at us.  I was excited.  Invigorated with purpose and direction.  He continues to challenge me, encourage me and inspire me.  I love him more each day, even the bad days when he drives me crazy and I want to punch him in the throat.  It would be a loving punch.  So much LOVE packed into that punch. So. Much. Love.

I wanted to punch him this morning, but lower than the throat this time.  Lucky for him, I was writing this blog and being forced to remember all the reasons I married him.  It probably saved his life. Seriously.

FullSizeRender

My babies!  Where has the time gone.

I love this family so much (including you man-child).  In the time honored words of Tom Cruise…

They complete me.

This reminds me…we need an updated family photo.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado

http://www.southernbellecharm.com

http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com

The Bergham Chronicles

http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

The Lieber Family

http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com

Confessions of a Part Time Working Mom

http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Luckiest Girl Alive

“Marriage is the highest state of friendship. If happy, it lessens our cares by dividing them, at the same time that it doubles our pleasures by mutual participation.” Samuel Richardson

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is: 

What is the luckiest thing that has ever happened to you?

It was submitted by: http://thelieberfamily.com

When I received my prompt, I was so relieved.  Whew!  An easy one! The day I met my husband is definitely the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me.

All week, I’ve been writing this blog post in my head.  That’s how I do it.  I compose a general outline in my head before committing my ideas to paper.  It was going to be epic!

A beautiful tribute…

The love story to end all love stories!

Except today, I’m pissed at him. Like really angry. Suddenly, I’m not feeling so lucky. My feelings have been hurt. My brain is filled with all the things I find annoying and aggravating about him.

I tried prayer:

“Dear God,

I’m having a hard time loving my husband today. He’s a jerk. I mean really, don’t you see this, I mean you created him.  I’m not blaming you per se…but I mean… No, no I’m sorry God, this is not how I meant for this prayer to go. I’m struggling today. I need some divine wisdom, a calming touch, a deep breath.  Actually, you probably just need to hold me back from punching him in the face. ‘Cause THAT would feel good! I mean, it would feel terrible. Obviously, I don’t really mean that.  Except that you can see into my heart and you know that I actually do mean that exactly. I’m a terrible person.  An awful wife. Who thinks like this, I’m not a violent person. See what he does to me! I’m just really angry, and I need some help putting things into perspective.  Remind me why I love him? What?  You can’t think of anything either can you? Why so quiet?! Thank you for the beautiful weather today by the way. I opened the windows and usually that calms me, but today all I see is dog hair swirling around in the breezes. I should go vacuum. I don’t feel like this little talk is helping. No offense.  I’m sure you’re trying.  It’s me, not you. I want to be angry. It’s fueling my indignation.

We’ll try again later.  

Sorry.  

Amen.

P.S. You agree I’m right and he’s wrong though, right? Just checking…”

I went back through my workbook from a Bible Study on forgiveness I took, hoping and praying for inspiration. Everything I read just makes me more angry, because I quite strongly believe that I’m the injured party here.  My big offense was waking up this morning! Sorry my BREATHING angered you honey, tell me how I can make it up to you please?!?! Ugh!

Adam Levine never treated me like this when we were pretend married.

b58fe7dcbb10acc6

Round and round I go. A vicious circle, never-ending. I tried meditation.  I took a long walk. Still angry. I indulged in a very Gone With The Wind moment, standing in my front lawn, shaking my fist at the sky. I felt very dignified, but I probably just looked deranged to any onlookers.

I wonder how many calories anger burns?

Oh goodness, he’s trying to call me right now.  I’m not going to answer, that’ll show him.  OMG he’s calling again. I’m ignoring you!  How does it feel?!?  Hmmmmm?

Now he’s texting me.  Sigh.

“Hello??” he says.

The nerve.

I remember when I first met my husband.  Our complicated history is not something I talk about very openly.

I had two concerns about dating him:

  1. he’s short
  2. he’s “churchboy” (my nickname for him)

I could probably best be described as agnostic when we met, which coincidentally happened to be at church.

I was a single mother. My divorce had been extremely difficult on me, both financially and emotionally.  I had 2 little girls and everything I’d ever dreamed or wanted for them (and for myself) had been shattered.  I was desperate for connection.  I was lonely. I didn’t have any family close by and any friends I kept from the divorce were single and interested in single-life pursuits, not changing diapers and wiping noses.

I remember giving my girls a bath and I just started crying.  It had been a rough day. An exceptionally rough day, and I just couldn’t pretend to be happy and cheerful in that one moment. I was watching them giggle and play and I just felt overwhelming sadness. This isn’t how my life was supposed to work out.  This was not the plan. In the blink of an eye, I found myself overcome with feelings of grief and guilt. I gazed upon their little blonde heads and felt with absolute certainty that I had ruined their lives forever. I should have done more, said more, been more…

My baby daughter looks up at me, with her big blue eyes, touches my arm and says: “It’s okay mommy, God loves you.”

The next Sunday, we got dressed up and went to church.

Where I met, “churchboy.”

I remember the first outing I attended with the church singles group was a family camping trip. We were all sitting down to dinner, and my future husband starts pulling out all of this tupperware, which he hands to the cutest little girl ever. I fell in love with her the minute I saw her. She was wearing overalls and sporting the most adorable braided pigtails adorned with girlie clips. She was 6 months older than my youngest and 2 years younger than my oldest. She looked so much like her daddy and boy did she adore him. In this tupperware, he had packed some chicken breast and asparagus tips…honestly, who packs asparagus tips to go camping! I suddenly felt the need to hide my bag of Cheetos and PB&J sandwiches.

He had a hole in his shirt though, which I found endearing.

Blending a family is no easy task. We experienced more than our fair share of challenges.

He was everything I never even knew I wanted or needed.

We dodged obstacle after obstacle, hurdle after hurdle. We somehow met each challenge, not always with dignity or grace. We each made terrible missteps, huge mistakes. We each carried pain from our previous relationships. We wore our grudges like armor, our fear like a mask. Our children needed to make adjustments. Sacrifices were necessary on all sides. On the outside looking in, we were a wildly successful blended family, hardly anyone even knew we’d both been married previously or that the girls weren’t all biological sisters.  The truth was ugly.  We were a hot mess. Battle lines were drawn daily.  His and hers. There were days I felt the rifts were as wide, if not wider, than the Grand Canyon, infinitely deep. Wounds barely had time to scab over before we were ripping them open again. We lashed out. We struggled. We fought. We questioned daily our decisions, our marriage, this idea that we thought we could ever make it all work.

Yet, we were both committed to doing exactly that, making it all work.  Somehow it did, it has. He’s my best friend. As mad at him as I am in this moment, I wouldn’t change a thing and I still believe with my whole heart that meeting him was the best and luckiest thing that has and will ever happen to me. We did struggle, but we also loved, laughed, hoped, dreamed and vowed to never give up.  We knew we had something special, something worth fighting for, no matter what.

Our faith journey has been rocky. We haven’t always stayed on the same page, I veered off the beaten track more than once. He remained steadfast and true in his belief, in his patience in the face of my doubts and fears. He never made me feel stupid or inadequate. My faith, or lack thereof, didn’t scare him. He loved me and he believed in me and he knew I would work it out and he’d made the decision to walk beside me as I navigated thru the twisty confusion my uncertainty and unbelief created in my heart and mind. He prayed for me. I envied his strength and convictions. I still do.

As it turns out, finding my faith was the easy part.  Living it out on a daily basis, now that’s hard. I wonder if God ever wants to punch me in the face? Probably. Sometimes I want to punch me in the face.

My feelings are still hurt, but now I’m also feeling nostalgic.  And dare I say it…loving.  Ugh!  It’s true, I’m thinking warm and gooey thoughts about the man whose head I wanted to rip off a moment ago. I mean, I’d still punch him, but maybe just on the shoulder…all affectionate-like. Ish.

He’s not perfect, but neither am I.

He is my best friend. He’s my person.

He changed my life. Meeting him, loving him, marrying him was the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me.

Thank you God. Thank you for bringing us together. Thank you for creating something beautiful out of the ruins of our mutual divorces and the inevitable fallout. Thank you for placing him into my life at the perfect moment. Thank you for blessing me, loving me, forgiving me. Thank you for opening my heart.

My cup indeed overflows.

Amen.

10014298_10202081916555588_2035955957127499743_o

“Marriage – a book of which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters in prose.” Beverley Nichols

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

http://www.BakingInATornado.com

http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/

http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/

http://dinoheromommy.com/

http://www.southernbellecharm.com

http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

http://thelieberfamily.com

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com

http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com

http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com