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The One with the Things That Matter

6 Feb

On Saturday, the futhubs and I went to premarital counseling– which has been grand, btw.  Lots of vulnerability, often a lot of tears, and even discomfort when it comes to ‘digging down deep.’  It’s good stuff.  Real talk.  And incredibly humbling.  It’s not super easy to go in and lay all your problems on the table.  This is how we’ve been interacting.  This is what we’ve been fighting about lately.  This is what I said.  This is how I reacted (instead of responded).

I’m super thankful that our premarital counselors are such gracious people who also keep it real.  They’re really honest about the problems they’ve had (and still sometimes have) in their marriage and, in their honesty, remind the futhubs and I that we’re not crazy.  That we’re just as broken as anyone else.  That understanding requires compassion.  That love is a choice and it is healing.

Anyhow, after sharing with our counselors about how stressed we’ve both been, they asked us both to do this exercise.  “Close your eyes and imagine that the wedding planning is all done.  It’s the day after your wedding and you’re reflecting back on this whole wedding planning process.  What are the things that were really important?  In other words, in the whole scheme of things, what is important to you right now?  What do you value?”

This is what we said.  (Our counselor jotted these down).

Wedding Planning Values

Notice that neither one of us wrote a thing about napkin colors.  Or flowers.  Neither one of us wrote about trying to please our parents.  There was no mention of decorations, the guestbook, or attendant gifts.  Or ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE WEDDING ITSELF.  In fact, every single thing we said was a relational value.  We value our relationship as a couple and as a soon-to-be family.  We each value our relationship with the Lord and we want Him to be a part of this whole process.

These are the things that matter to me, to him, and to us.  Real life is right now.  And this is what’s important.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

In the wedding planning process, what are the main values that you’re holding onto?  (Or that you held onto?  Or that you wish you held onto?)

The One with the Blubbering

31 Jan

What else are you stressed out about?” asked the futhubs gently, as he stroked my hair.

Handmade Wedding Invitation

DIY Invite - Image via Wikipedia

All the things,” I whispered.  And then it came pouring out like Pandora’s box of wedding craziness.  Wedding decorations.  Favors.  Figuring out flowers.  All the inserts to go with our wedding invitations.  Wedding invitations!  Wording them.  Setting a deadline for one of our groomsmen to design it.  Getting them printed in time.  Inviting people over for an assembly line.  Getting them sent out.  Having time to send out multiple rounds of invitations.  Where to stay the night before the wedding.  Where to put the out-of-towner bridesmaids.  Not knowing how to ‘DIY’ anything at all.  Wanting our wedding to be pretty without pinching our wallets more than we already have.

“And it’s so stupid because I look at all these wedding blogs and see all these themed weddings –  and I’d love for our wedding invitations to have a cohesive theme that carries through the ceremony and the reception – but I don’t know how to do it.  And I’m frustrated at myself because I know that that’s not important and who CARES if our wedding is themed and ‘blog-worthy.’  But I just want it to feel pretty.”  (Ah, yes.  That would be me waving the crazy-bride flag.  Nice and high now.  Also, I started off sputtering and totally ended up blubbering).

The futhubs murmurred something akin to, “My poor girl!”  And he took me in his arms.  He kissed my face and whispered in my ear:

“The theme for our wedding is us.  I love you.  And I would marry you in any kind of wedding.  Pinwheel-themed, gothic, Halloween, whatever…  I’m just so excited to marry you.

The rest of that stuff, you don’t have to worry so much about.  You can worry or you can pray about it– you don’t have to do both.  Our God is a God who provides.  It’ll all work out.  I promise.

…more blubbering on my part.  Gah!  He’s right.  And he’s so frigging patient with me.  haha.  I’m grateful to be with someone who’ll hold me when I’m overwhelmed, listen kindly, lift my chin, and give me honest, loving truth.  I love this man.

The One with the Breakfast Tradition

27 Jan

Purchased: two bags of baby spinach, a block of smoked gouda, a carton of eggs, a sack of clementines, one bouquet of wild flowers, and a card.

In about 5 hours I’m going to wake up and do what I’ve done every morning that I’ve been home on this date.  I’m going to wake up early, clang around some pots and pans in the kitchen, whip up a gorgeous and scrumptious meal, lay it out all fancy on our family’s “You’re the Best” plate, and serve it to a certain someone in bed on a breakfast tray.

It’s my mom‘s birthday today.  And this breakfast tradition has made her happy since… forever.  And I’ve loved it– all of it, the entire process, every year.  Setting my alarm impossibly early so that I’d beat her downstairs.  Rummaging through the cupboards to find the right cooking gear, always unintentionally making a huge racket in the process. 😛 Finding new ways to fold the napkin all fancy; she likes it when I do that.  Figuring out how to make instant coffee taste drinkable.  (Still can’t brew a real pot of coffee to save my life).  Realizing it takes a whole mess of eggs to make an egg-whites only omelette.  Adding splashes of color with a single flower.  A sliced and fanned out strawberry.

Birthday Breakfast 2009

I just love the look on her face.  ‘Beaming’ is the word that comes to mind.  And suddenly she seems more like a young girl.  “Sit with me,” she always says, offering food off her plate.  (I just realized Papa always makes his way downstairs.  “I don’t like to eat in bed,” he says.  But maybe he wants to give us our time).  Because we just sit there my mom and I, talking and laughing by ourselves, splitting the bites between the two of us.  Until finally I say something like, “I better go make Papa something; he must be hungry.”  And she’ll just wrinkle her nose at me for a second, as if in childish protest, give my hand a squeeze and say, “Thank you!  I love this.  I look forward to this every year!”

Every year.  Each time it goes down more or less exactly like this.  I’m not sure why I felt the need to write about it… except for the fact that this will be the last year that I do this for my mom.  The last year that I wake up in the morning in the same house and give her this gift of a home-cooked breakfast, of time.  Together.

Our relationship is just so… complicated.  I even got into an argument with the futhubs tonight about it as we were wedding planning at his place.  I got upset with him for something he said because I felt like he was making an indirect jab at my parents.  (He wasn’t at all; I found out later).  And I got super defensive and protective of them.  But after we talked it out (read: I cried it out), I realized that… I’m crazy.  I always vent to the futhubs about how my mom is unreasonable, demanding, and sometimes a little cruel.  But if he even says one word that sounds even remotely like it’s against her, I immediately fly into action ready to defend.  I throw up a shield with the words: “I know my mom’s crazy, but only I get to say so, dagnabbit!

Even on this blog whenever I vent about the latest conversation with my mom, in the same paragraph I want to jump to defend her honor.  To tell you that she only says what she says and does what she does because she doesn’t know how else to show me that she loves me.  She doesn’t know how to be vulnerable when she’s upset.  So she fights with me because she feels like I’m going off and getting married and she’s ‘losing me’– her ‘baby.’  Because if she says it outloud, she’ll start crying.  And sometimes she does say it outloud.  And on rare occasions she’ll even let me see the tears.

And sometimes on her birthday I get to spend a whole morning laughing and talking with her, seeing her as the young, joyful woman she must have once been.  And I think, “What a gift!” It’s like I’ve been given a secret: that in my mom’s heart of hearts she’s just a young woman like me.  A young woman who loves to laugh.  Who hates goodbyes and can’t stand change and loves so much she’ll think her heart will break.  It’s like for one morning a year, we somehow understand each other.

And maybe I’m being stupidly sentimental and overly nostalgic (or just plain PMSy and emotional ’cause, not gonna lie, it’s totally about to be that time of the month).  Maybe I’m making all this so much more dramatic than it needs to be.  But I’m thankful for today.  Every year.  I’m thankful for my mom.  She’s a firecracker and a frigging handful, but I love her to death.

And dagnabbit I’m every bit as crazy as she is sometimes.

The One with the Happiness Definitions

26 Jan

Today happiness is…

  • sleeping in to a ridiculous hour.  And on that note, comforters!
  • having heart-to-heart catch-up sessions with friends via FaceTime.
  • a visit from my adorable little nephew, who doesn’t speak much yet but loves to hug my legs. : )
  • hotpot on a cold night.
  • finding out that my futhubs secretly hunted down this blog and read it because he knew that I’d be encouraged by the hits.  hahaha.  That man!  He knows me and loves me.  And he is so, so sweet.  ❤
  • ridiculous youtube videos like this.  And this.  They make me smile and laugh like no other.  (Psst… futhubs, if you’re reading this, how about you try that dance on for size? : )
  • reading the blogs of other women who lay their lives out on a page; they both encourage and inspire me.
  • Moroccan mint tea with honey.  And timtam slams.  (Treat yo’ self 2012).

    Tim Tam Slamming

    Image by Kevin via Flickr

  • family.  Knowing that I have a family in which everyone truly loves one another– even if we show it in different ways.  Sometimes crazy ways.  (And I confess: I am often part of the crazy).  haha.  But to quote Lilo & Stitch: “[My family] is small and broken… but good.  Yeah.  Still good.”

What brings you happiness these days?

The One with the Giddy Futhubs

25 Jan

I’ve never seen him so giddy.

But let’s take it back a step.  Last week a package came in the mail from Amazon: the wedding band for my betrothed.  (I love the word ‘betrothed.’  It just sounds so romantic.  Also, who knew Amazon sold wedding bands?  : ) Anyhow, I was debating whether or not to hold off on showing him the ring until our wedding day.  But then I couldn’t wait.  It had come in the mail and it was bright and gleaming and in a cushy box and– ahh!  How could I not?

The Futhubs' Ring

So as the futhubs was serenading me on the guitar with the song we’d chosen for our processional (eeeee : ) I got down on one knee and asked him to marry me.  He stopped short, whipped off his guitar, and I slid the ring onto his finger.  “Wow.  This is perfect!” he said.  He took me up in his arms and whispered, “We’re getting married!”

Hours later he was still fiddling with the ring– repeatedly taking it off and putting it back on to admire the fit (on his right hand though, since he wants to wait til our wedding day to wear it on the left).  Days later my futhubs was still playing show-and-tell with everyone we saw telling them about his new wedding band.  At church this past Sunday, I caught him sliding it around on his finger as our pastor gave his sermon.  It’s adorable how much he loves this ring.  And I love that he doesn’t care whether or not a guy is ‘supposed’ to get this excited about his wedding band– I love that he just is.

And I’m so glad that we both can enjoy different elements of this wedding planning process.  And that we’re both stoked about wearing rings that symbolize our love and commitment to one another.

Plus, they’re shiny.  And nice to look at.  : )

P.S. The futhubs’ ring was beautifully made, a perfect fit, exactly what he wanted, AND under $20.  Boo-frickin-yah.  Eat that, wedding industry.