Since London I have pretty much been buried under paper – cardstock to more exact – in the form of rsvps, placecards, thank you notes, and holiday cards. That may not seem like much, but add it to name change forms and lesson plans, and student work and what it really amounts to is a lot of trees. I may love paper but every now and again it gets in the way of everything else. Even though there are two more bags of paper seeking my attention right now, I have decided to table it for this morning in favor of a little personal reflection on my messy beautiful life, which at this very moment could also be describing weather.
I’m a morning person, a habit I picked up from Dad much to the chagrin of my mom. I think I love mornings so much because there is a stillness in those early hours before the rest of the world wakes up. And it’s even better this time of year when the soft glow of the Christmas lights bring some added cheer. Even though the house is messy with paper, gifts, and trappings of life; it feels more welcoming than chaotic. And I love it. Good thing, because since we put our luggage away at the end of August life has been a whirlwind as evidence by the remnants of the last few months strewn about.
After London, school started and that comes with paper galore and responsibility to match. It’s always the busiest time of the year as you get to re-acclimate to the job and get to know your students. In the midst of planning for school I was also wedding planning. As you know I already planned for a summer wedding of 2019 and was now unraveling those plans to piece together a beautiful fall wedding in the matter of weeks. It didn’t feel real until I stepped out on the platform at David’s Bridal wearing an ivory white gown with lace applique, pearl buttons down the back and a scalloped train. After the first twirl I was hooked. I tried on several other dresses that day but that very first dress was what my fairytale wedding dreams were made of. I walked out of David’s spending double what I had intended and happier than I expected. It was the first of many things in the weeks to follow that I would probably say that very same thing about.
My bridesmaids and maid of honor planned a simply gorgeous shower at my favorite restaurant. It was perfect, they thought of every little detail. It was a wonderful day surrounded by the love of family and friends, loud laughter, and incredible food. I wish everyone could have an experience like this one, there is so much hope and love and well wishes in one place you can’t help but smile from ear to hear and bask in the magic of it all.
This whole wedding experience was filled with magic metaphorically speaking and well kind of literally speaking too. My bridesmaids planned a trip to the wizarding world of Harry Potter at Universal in Florida for my Bachelorette weekend. It was a truly unforgettable weekend from start to finish. Tammy, Steph and I boarded the plane on Friday morning and landed in Tampa early in the afternoon. As I sat in the middle seat wearing my bride to be sash, it felt a little surreal. I couldn’t wait to celebrate with my best friends and soon to be sister in law. The weekend was more than I could ever hope for. I wore a white, Harry Potter inspired bride tee stating that I found a Keeper but in reality I found some a long time ago in the form of fierce female friends. I can only hope for everyone to be so lucky. We saw the sights, laughed over cocktails, experienced Ybor city, tried our hand at wizarding and relaxed poolside. It was the absolute best way to spend Columbus day weekend.
Things were crazy in between, trying to keep up with work and wedding planning. Good thing I always remember the adage about diamonds being created under pressure, it serves as good motivation to shine on. I admittedly couldn’t have done without my army of girlfriends who helped me get everything into place.
The Thursday before the wedding, I packed Jax’s backpack with everything he needed to spend the weekend with friends. He came with his own set of papers. Good thing his pupsitters for the weekend already knew I was crazy / obsessed with my dog. They were watching him because so are they, so I knew he was in good hands. And when we saw him again his humans would be married as cheesy at that sounds.
That Friday I took my girls to the spa for a day of massages and manicures, a much needed ritual before the big day. We toasted champagne and ate goodies from the Patisserie. We spent the afternoon setting up the ceremony space, which I finally decided should be inside due to potential rain. It looked beautiful when we were done, donned in mums and other fall flowers backed by a wooden a large wooden pallet declaring LOVE. It was really all coming together. The rehearsal was messy and beautiful as they usually are. We followed it up with a dinner at a nearby restaurant surrounded by our closest family and friends. As Josh and I were handing out gifts, I realized how truly blessed we are in this life to have so many people who mean the world to us. It was an amazing evening and as I went to bed that night in the hotel suite, I was blissfully happy and maybe a little champagne happy.
The next day went by like a blink of an eye. People told me it would but it didn’t seem possible; they were right. Hair and make up was on tap first, so there we sat in our matching robes sipping mimosas talking about eyelash extensions and highlighting foundation. People were in and out of the suite and the chaos seemed calming to me. I wasn’t nervous at all until I found myself standing on the other side of the door from my soon to be husband. The nervousness all faded away as My mom, dad, and I tripped through the door way over my train and down the aisle to my beautiful friend singing “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” to Josh. The ceremony was exactly as it should have been. And it seemed the universe agreed from the rainbow overhead on the way in, the sun coming out as we gave our vows, and the random cellphone cheering just as were pronounced. Sometimes you just know! The rest of the evening was incredible. There is no way to describe the feeling of love in that moment. It is all encompassing and euphoric. We danced the night away. Josh even rapped “Ice Ice Baby” to his sister/ Best Man beat boxing in the background. By the end of the night my dress was torn and my heart was full, evidence of an amazing evening. It was everything I hoped for and then some.
The next morning we woke up and had brunch with some of our family before heading home. When we got back to the house, it somehow felt different now that we were husband and wife. We didn’t have a lot of time to dwell on it because I wanted to put back on our wedding clothes and get some pictures with Jax, after all he completes our little family. And after that we were bound for Boston to deal with the not so fairy tale story of my refractory Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Boston was a bit of a bust, albeit it worked out in our favor. The PET scan machine was down so I never got to have the test done, but because I had been feeling so well my oncologist agreed to give me a ten week window to just live accordingly and be married. Which is exactly what I’ve been doing since- living a messy beautiful life. We celebrated a week, a month, Halloween, Thanksgiving, our first snow fall of the season, decorating, date nights and more. I’m facing Boston again in a couple of weeks and am aware that this time I’ll probably have to do something about my Hodgkins and while I’m admittedly terrified I’m still hopeful for all the things we have left to celebrate in this messy beautiful life.