Like Nothing Had Ever Happened

It started like any ordinary day.

And that’s the thing – these days, most days were just that – ordinary.  Sure, some moments stuck out for better or for worse, but they were mostly spent in the monotony of keeping her kid safe, clothed, fed, occupied.

As she lied in bed, she could hear her son happily babbling over the baby monitor.  He rarely woke up in a bad mood.  She got up and started her usual routine of making the bed, getting dressed, dragging a brush through her hair, and then she went to go get her son.

As soon as she opened his bedroom door, the stale odor of his poopy diaper floated out to greet her.  And then she could see, under her smiling, blond baby boy, that his crib sheet was quite soiled.

She sighed.

First things first, she thought, Diaper change, then strip the bed, then laundry.

As it turned out, the leak was so bad that this kid, who normally only got two baths a week, needed a quick one from the waist down.  He was delighted.  She was already exhausted.

She got all the dirty things in a pile, shoved them in the washer, threw in some extra OxyClean, and got the boy downstairs for breakfast and to move on with the day.  And not a moment too soon, because being pregnant with baby number two meant that breakfast needed to come asap in order to stave off the dizzy spells.  And all that bending over for the sheets and bath weren’t doing her any favors, either.

Breakfast was uneventful, but since the pre-breakfast cleanup took so long, she decided to just stay home and play inside between breakfast and lunch.  Hopefully they could get to the water features after lunch and before nap.

When the washer was done, both mom and son trekked back upstairs to transfer everything to the dryer.

The toddler had run off to play somewhere and mom opened the washer to discover that the poop stains had gotten worse, not better.  Upon frustrated inspection, she found that matter from the leaked diaper had stayed inside the pajamas and had been let loose inside the washer to wreak further havoc.  Everything would now have to be hand-treated and rewashed.

Just as she was silently swearing to herself, there was a loud crash.  It sounded like breaking glass, but it also didn’t register.  What the hell could he have gotten into? was her immediate thought as she turned to find him.

He was in his room, looking stunned and standing next to a floor lamp that was now entirely on the floor.  Glass was everywhere.  Both were barefoot.

She burst into tears.

He burst into tears.

She tiptoed across the carpet, picked him up, tiptoed back across the glass minefield and immediately went downstairs, leaving everything just where it was.  Poop stains and broken glass.

Feeling completely overwhelmed, she called her husband at work and a fresh round of tears choked her words as she tried to explain what had happened and that she needed him to come home.

Please help.  I can’t do this.

A mercifully short 15 minutes later, her husband was upstairs being amazing by cleaning up the mess.

It looks like a crime scene up here! he called down the stairs.

No shit.

He explained that he looked up the proper way to clean up mercury, because he didn’t want to stir up all the yucky particles.

Oh, fuck!  The actual bulb broke, too?!  I thought it was just the glass of the lamp.  I didn’t even look.  Good thing we got out of there and I didn’t even try to clean up.  Ugh.

He cleaned.  Mom and son had lunch.  They didn’t make it to the water features that day.  Instead, they played in the kiddie pool in their yard.  Not knowing the changed plans, the son had fun just the same.  Right in time for a nap, the dad had the room all clean.  No glass, new sheets.  Like nothing had ever happened.

The dad (thankyouthankyouthankyou) went back to work and the mom spent the quiet nap time working the stains out of the load of laundry by hand. As if the stains were demons and the sheets were motherhood.

She washed the load again.  This time, the stains came out.

Like nothing had ever happened.


Three Years Later

On Tuesday my partner and I celebrate three years of marriage.

I want to say it’s been all rainbows and unicorn farts, but it hasn’t.  Well, there have been farts, but not those of the unicorn variety.  It’s been…loving and supportive and stable and hilarious and the kind of tenderness that brings one to tears.  But it’s also been the biggest challenge in our relationship since moving out of state and having a kid and basically having our whole world flipped upside down.  And now we’re about to flip it once again with baby number two.  Woo-boy.  I’m sure glad I have him by my side for all this.

But enough about our marriage.  The anniversary gets us thinking about our wedding and all the bittersweet feelings that go with it.  I blogged about it (read it here) to help me cope at the time and then the post got Freshly Pressed, which I initially had mixed feelings about.  On one hand, getting recognized for my writing is always nice, but I was worried that the feedback I got would just make me feel worse.

Overall, the good outweighed the bad and I felt so validated knowing that many, many other people felt similar letdowns as a result of their weddings.  My comment section became a big virtual group therapy session.  We shared horror stories and shared what helped make us feel better.  I thanked people for reading and supporting and commenting.  People thanked me for writing because it made them feel less invalidated, less sad, less alone.  I am glad that I wrote what I wrote.

What interests me now, and what prompted me to write about this again, is that that blog post has been by far my most popular post.  To this day – almost three full years later – it still gets about 3-10 hits a day, on average.  Every day.  And occasionally, people still comment with their own stories.

It makes me feel so sad when I read what people have Googled to get themselves to my wedding blog post.  Things like, “my wedding was a disaster,” and “I can’t get over how my wedding went,” or “I’m depressed about my wedding.”  This sucks!  Part of me feels validated because, again, I am definitely not alone in how I feel about my wedding.  However, part of me feels like a sucker.  I fell for the whole wedding-industrial complex.  I got wrapped up around expectations that were handed to me (and that I readily accepted) by society, spent a hell of a lot of money, put tons of eggs into the basket of one blissful day, only to have it crash down all around me. What does this say about our society that this post-wedding blues phenomenon is so common?!

Would I do things differently?  A few, but not many.  I admit, even now, I still just wanted the fun, expensive party that I could enjoy with all my friends and family.

In the months following my wedding, I responded to the many comments readers posted.  Some were unsolicited advice (one of my least favorite kinds of feedback), others were words of sympathy and encouragement, and many were similar horror stories.  Because I was going through my own grieving process, I found it difficult to respond to others who were suffering as I was. Reading those comments brought up my own yucky feelings that I was still wading through (or trying to forget – depending on the day) and it was uncomfortable.  It stung.  Each new story was a reminder that I’d always look back on that day with some amount of sadness, grief, regret.  Even today, a random comment that gets posted brings it all back, just a little bit.

While responding to these comments, I found myself wanting to slip into a therapist role as I typed.  Of course, that role feels natural to me, and it also protected me because it created distance between myself and my feelings.  Now that I am much more at peace with how my wedding went and how I feel about it, reading and answering the comments is easier.  Easier, but not pain-free.

My brother made us a wonderful video from the raw footage a relative took at our wedding, and only recently did my husband and I muster up enough courage to actually watch it, almost three years after the day.  Of course it brought back some of the yucky feelings.  The grief.  But.  It also reminded me that I actually managed to have fun that day.  And the ceremony was wonderfully moving.  And I looked beautiful.  And we were so in love.  I couldn’t deny it – the proof was right there on camera!  Whew.

In all the discussion with readers about how to heal and move on from these experiences, we often talked about having a do-over.  A “corrective experience” as therapists put it.  I pictured the two of us on a beach in Hawaii with an officiant and a photographer.  No one else.  I have flowers in my hair.  The wind is whipping my white cotton sundress around.  The sun is setting.  We’re laughing and holding hands.  And no one can take away our joy.

Maybe someday.  I say maybe, because I don’t want to get too hung up on expectations.


My Push Prison

I’m calling to Brian from the other room as I struggle to research items to put on our baby registry.  I’ve found an interesting link that I clicked on.

Me: Hey Brian!  Have you ever heard of a push present?!

B (yelling from the other room): A PUSH PRISON?!

Me:  Ha, close, but no.  A push present.

B: yeah, no.

Me:  See, people feel the need to create arbitrary obligations for people to buy others presents for any reason whatsoever.  Supposedly, you’re supposed to buy me something in exchange for pushing your kid out of my vag.

B:  Uh, I am?

Me:  Yeah, and I clicked on this link to see what the customary gifts are.  (I show him the link and it’s cheap watches and jewelry)

B: (making a smarmy face) Ooooh, wow, hey.  Here, trophy wife, is a gold watch for pushing a tiny creature out of your vagina.  Thanks!

Me:  No, a trophy wife can’t have your baby, because if her body is ruined, she’s no longer a trophy.

B:  But that’s what mistresses are for.

Me:  I think we’ve lost sight of the point of this conversation.


A Corrective Experience

Last Thursday, Brian and I got to have a mini wedding redo, and it was pretty amazing.


But first – a HUGE shout-out and THANK YOU to everyone who read my Freshly Pressed post, new followers (henceforth called Psychos), and especially everyone who left a supportive comment.  It really meant a lot to know that I wasn’t alone in my post-wedding grief.


During our wedding, as soon as my photographer realized how sick I was, she told me not to worry, that we would come back and take pictures at some later date, and I am so thankful she told me that right away, because then I could focus on just getting through the wedding knowing we’d (Brian and I) have a bit of a second chance.

I took a few hours off work so that I could get myself all pretty and ready for the photo shoot.  Soon after the wedding, I had chopped all my hair off, and it was fun for me to play around with my new ‘do and get all dolled up.

I pinned the same ivory lace that had been in my hair for the wedding up under my curls so that it peeked out.  I wore the same pearl earrings my parents gave me for Christmas.  I affixed the same fake eyelashes, with some difficulty and perhaps a few swear words.

I was worried about how I would feel once I got my dress back on.  First of all, I was a tiny bit worried that my dress wouldn’t zip – it was tight to begin with and I didn’t hold back on those cruise buffets and dessert menus – but mostly I was worried that I would just burst into tears and cry my eyelashes off.

The whole process of getting ready was actually very sweet.  Brian and I didn’t see each other on our wedding day until I was actually walking down the aisle, and for this redo we got to be with each other and help each other get ready.  Brian had to help me step into my dress and hook me up in the back, and while this was the reverse of what our wedding night should have been, I enjoyed the experience.

And don’t worry, cuz the dress fit just fine, and I didn’t burst into tears.  I was actually…excited.  I was happy to get to wear my dress again, I was happy to get my picture taken again, and I was so relieved that it was just going to be us.  No family, no vendors, no pressure, no distractions.

We drove back out into the country to the wedding venue, and we commented on how much we love those surroundings, and how freaking beautiful our wedding venue is.  My dress was stuffed into the car all around me, and we had the AC blasting up my skirt.  It was like sitting on a fluffy, scratchy, but beautiful cloud.

We had a lot of fun during the quick photo shoot.  We got driven to the hilltop in a red convertible Cadillac and had our picture taken under the oak tree as the sun grazed the top of the surrounding hills.  We brought ice cream and sprinkles in a cooler and had the photographer get shots of us feeding each other ice cream.  We were just going to dance to our first dance song playing on my iphone when a staff person offered to plug it into their sound system.  As soon as “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones came on, tears filled my eyes.  Those few moments we twirled around in circles really meant a lot to me, and to Brian.  That song was the first song to which we ever danced, back on our 3rd date 10 years ago.

After the shoot was finished, we decided to continue our mini celebration and we went out for drinks in a local restaurant.  Between the car and the restaurant, we heard no fewer than 10 cries of “Congratulations!” yelled from cars, passers by, and other diners.  That recognition and joy made me feel so good.  It reminded me how captivated I am by weddings in general, that I can’t help but stop and stare when I see two people starting the rest of their lives with such love, joy, and hope for the future.  I wonder if these people felt the same way towards us?

We ordered our drinks and sat down outside near the live band that was playing, and we just chatted and took in the scenery, beaming at each other like…two kids in love with alcohol in their systems.

The band was awesome, by the way.  They played some current covers, and some originals, and they played all the music to Super Mario Bros on electric guitar.  FTW.  And then I heard the beginnings of “At Last,” and the lead singer said, “This one’s for you two” looking straight at us.  We did what any normal, intoxicated, in-love couple would do and we got up and danced.  It was so lovely, I can’t even describe it.  I do remember whispering to Brian, “This is what therapists call a corrective experience!” and he laughed because I am a huge nerd…and he’s stuck with me now.

After a while, we got up to leave – it was a school night, after all – and after we made our way between all the tables, applause broke out amongst most of the restaurant-goers.  I broke into a smile and gave a curtsy before we left and headed to the car.

I am very, very thankful we got to have that little redo.  It did wonders for my mood and how I feel about the wedding overall.  It gave me some closure and now we get to move on to much more important and happier things.

Transitional periods are hard

Hello there, Psychos.

I’ve missed you.  Well, I have and I haven’t.  It [my honeymoon] was actually a very nice break from blogging, from wedding crap, from my job, from the world.

I was able [read: forced] to completely unplug whilst on a giant ass boat in the middle of the Mediterranean, and it felt good.  Wireless was crazy expensive on the boat, and the only things I used my phone for was as an alarm clock and to stitch together amazing panoramas of European villages I want to retire to (in like 5 years).

But it’s interesting, because now that I am back, I want to write, I feel the need to write, but I don’t know what to write about.  I also want to put a post between me and my last one…so here you go.  I just started typing to see what comes out.

So I started this post several days ago, and just last night I got a surprising email – my Post Wedding Blues post is going to be Freshly Pressed, and my first reaction was not excitement.  I think my first worry was that I’ll get all this unsolicited advice about how I need to look on the bright side and how I shouldn’t dwell on the wedding, it’s the marriage that’s important.  (A side note about advice like this – I find it very interesting that many people in our Western culture have a hard time tolerating sadness, whether it’s their own or someone else’s.  We’re taught very early to act like everything’s fine or to cheer people up rather than just accept and deal with what is.  Perhaps this is a post for another day…) I’m wondering if dealing with all the FP-ness is going to hinder or help my fragile mood as of late.  Being FPed is an honor and a part of me is excited – maybe it’ll give me that push to start really writing again – but it’s also a vulnerable place to be.  I’ll get a lot of exposure from all different kinds of people and that can be awesome but it brings about just that – the feeling of being exposed.

My depressed mood hasn’t all been about wedding stuff.  I had a lot of fun on my honeymoon, and I was able to just be in the present for the vast majority of it, but we came home to a hurricane of an apartment and it’s driving me crazy.  We registered for crap for a house we don’t yet have, and that crap is now piled and shoved into our tiny two bedroom apartment.  Right now I feel like I am drowning in stuff – the walls are closing in.  More importantly, B and I both came home to jobs from which we’ve learned all we can, and we both feel that it’s time to move on – professionally and personally.  At this point, before we’re able to actually make these major changes, I am not sure how I am supposed to keep this feeling of unrest from eating me alive.

The only answer so far has been for me to clean, organize, pile, and give shit away like a maniac on speed.  I obsess over what I can give away next, or how I can maximize my closet space beyond what I’ve already done.  In my calmer moments, I am also able to reassure myself that this period of my life is transitional, it’s temporary, and I will get through it.  Plus, now I have an amazing husband to get through shit with, and that’s the best part.

Post wedding blues

I’m really sad about the way my wedding went.

It wasn’t what I wanted.  It wasn’t what we had planned for over a year, and what I have anticipated for years, and I desperately want a do-over.

So many things went wrong that I don’t really know where to start.  But I do know that I’m having to grieve the loss of the biggest, most important party of my life, and that I’m having to grieve the violation of my expectations, which has always been a tough one for me.

We had issues with a lot of vendors.  The bartender showed up late, our ceremony started late, the on site coordinator was shit and was often nowhere to be found.  The DJ introduced us with the wrong fucking name.  Staff started cleaning the wedding up before it was even over, and someone moved my evening bag from the sweetheart table, delaying our planned exit.  The town car was late picking us up at the end of the night, and then they even drove us to the wrong hotel.  The worst part, though, was that I suffered late stage heat exhaustion and eventually went to the ER in the wee hours of the morning after the wedding.

I’m pretty devastated.  I feel like I have postpartum, but for weddings.

A lot of things went right, and I did manage to have a good time, and I am so thankful that I was physically able to finish the wedding.  The ceremony was absolutely beautiful and went better than both Brian and I anticipated.  We wrote our own vows and they were absolutely perfect.  We made each other laugh and cry…. I got to marry my best friend in the whole world.

After the gorgeous ceremony and before I fell ill

After the gorgeous ceremony and before I fell ill

But there was so much I didn’t get to do that I really wanted to.  Brian and I didn’t get to do our planned first dance.  We didn’t get to do the father/daughter and mother/son dances.  I wasn’t able to wear my gorgeous dress for the whole night.  I barely tasted the food and I didn’t even get to try the ice cream sundae bar that I was just so, so excited about.  We didn’t get to go up on the hilltop and have the sunset pictures taken of us under the oak tree.  I was really looking forward to that.

So, as you can tell, I have a lot of mixed feelings.  They come and go depending on my mood and energy level.

I felt like I needed to write about this….but even as I read back what I just wrote, there’s just nothing I can put down that will accurately capture the sorrow and disappointment I feel.

I’m really working on honoring my feelings and allowing myself to feel sad about the bad parts, and happy about the good parts.  And I know it’s going to take a while before the happy outweighs the sad.

It makes me sadder still when I realized I was dreading being asked by friends and coworkers (and fellow bloggers) about how the wedding went.  It’s really hard to talk about when 1) the person asking is expecting a glowing report, and 2) I don’t feel like bursting into tears at work or in public or to someone I don’t know very well.

One thing that helps is when others don’t try to cheer me up, and instead allow me to feel sad about it.  Yes, I did get married, and yes, I have much to be thankful for.  But had Brian and I just wanted to be married, we would have gone to the courthouse a long time ago.  We wanted a celebration.  We wanted a wedding just like most others, and I feel robbed of that experience.  Of course I didn’t expect things to go perfectly, but I didn’t expect such a chaotic let down.

We leave for our honeymoon on Wednesday and my fear is that our sadness will get in the way of us having fun.  At times it probably will, and we’re anticipating needing to take some time to grieve together.  We also plan to have fun, and we know that having fun will be unavoidable because we’ll be on a boat in the Mediterranean and I’ll be stuffing my face with gelato and pizza.  And we’ll be with each other, because in the end, that’s all that matters.

This has been really hard to write, so thanks for reading this far.

Update – If you’d like to read about my healing process, the response to this blog post, and how I am doing more recently, please check out my post: Three Years Later.

Hey Brian, you might want to read this one…

Ten years ago today, I was nervous.  I was excited.  I didn’t know what was going to happen.

Ten years ago today, it was a Saturday.  I had just asked you out the day before and today was the day – our first date.

Ten years ago today, we had ice cream together.  We walked and talked and I didn’t want the night to end, and neither did you, so I guess it really never did.

I can’t believe how fast these ten years have flown by.  We’ve grown up together, and I can’t imagine my life without you.  It’s like that lyric from that one Jewel song: you make the world make sense.

One week from today, we’re going to get married!

One week from today, we’re going to pledge to keep walking and talking because we don’t want this awesomeness to end…ever.

One week from today, I’m probably going to be nervous.  I’ll be excited!  And I don’t know what’s going to happen.

But whatever happens, I wanna be there with you.  Eating ice cream.





I’m tying the knot- pour me a shot!

Hello Psychos!

I am so blessed.

I haven’t updated about the wedding planning process in a bit, and today I plan to remedy that.

Since I last updated, I have been thrown two beautiful, delicious bridal showers and last weekend I was thrown one saucy bachelorette party!  I am incredibly thankful and lucky to be surrounded by such swell people.

When I sat and thought about it, the tradition of bachelor/ette parties is quite amusing, especially in Brian’s and my case since we’ve been in a monogamous relationship for almost 10 years now.  It’s a tradition like this that reminds me how much we’ve already been living the married life, and now we just get to throw a massive party to officially celebrate.

All the same, we didn’t pass up the opportunity to experience the traditional debauchery with our gender segregated peer groups!

How does one create the perfect bachelorette party, you ask?  Based on my recent hands-on research, I have arrived at the optimal recipe.

1. Bling

Ladies need the accessories on any normal day.  Brides need flashing signs saying I’M THE BRIDE!  THIS IS MY DAY!  NO ONE NEEDS ATTENTION MORE THAN I DO RIGHT AT THIS VERY MOMENT!

My bling came in the form of a stately white hat, complete with a veil, a sparkly sash like I just won beat up Miss America, and a classy plastic shot glass necklace.  No one was going to ignore me if they could help it.

We also made use of props to enhance the experience.

2. Pleasures of the flesh

Some brides-to-be need to get some nasty out of their systems by admiring glistening pee-pees flying about under pulsating lights.  That’s cool, I get it.  I watched Magic Mike with Depends on to get my fix.

As for me, I am saving myself for Shirtless Ryan Gosling, so instead, my ladies spoiled me with a full body massage (given to me by the masseuse.  phrasing.), and I nearly cried on the table I was so overcome with stress leaving my body.  Seriously, I wanted to cut off this lady’s hands and take them home with me, they were so magical.  They totally would have fit in my purse.

After I spent about 10 minutes drying my tears and wiping the goo off my body (phrasing?), we progressed to the third stage of bachelorette-ing.

3. Gastrointestinal delights

My ladies and I then went to a leisurely late lunch where I stuffed my face with carbs and then had some gelato so delicious I cried some more for good measure.

The melted gelato is mixed with my tears.

We were generally obnoxious in this slightly fancy pants restaurant, being loud and getting up to take pictures.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to apologize to the poor, shy bus boy who had the misfortune of having to deliver appetizers to our table.  I know some good therapists, kid.  Call me.

4. Booze

No bachelorette party is complete without making a complete fool of yourself under the influence.  Not one.  You wanna fight about it?!

My ladies knew of this hecka rad speakeasy, that actually used to be a real speakeasy, and you needed a password and everything.  We felt special and smug.

We were led inside to this smallish room lined with books on one side and very furry red velvet wallpaper on the other.  Wobbly 20s clarinet music wafted through the stale air.  At first, it was so dark before my eyes had time to adjust that I probably looked drunk just stumbling around for a place to stash my jacket.  The irony of having tons of real books (we checked) but not enough light with which to read them was not lost on us, in case you were wondering.

My people kept me well watered that night.  At least, I assume the drinks that magically kept appearing before me had more to do with my friends and less to do with magic…even though it felt like I was in the restricted section at Hogwarts.

Now, careful when mixing ingredients 3 and 4, because you don’t want to be reacquainted with all the carbs, gelato, and lobster rolls; those trysts were meant to be one night stands, not rageful ex-lovers returning to throw rocks at your window.

A random brass band played the Wedding March in my honor. Bonus!

Needless to say, I had a blast and now (after some recovery time including moaning the obligatory I’m never drinking again…) it’s full steam ahead to the Big Day!

One year of planning a wedding and I still wanna do this thing!

One year ago today, a certain handsome gentleman an adorable, cuddly boyman made me the happiest ladypants who has ever walked the earth.


Well, come here and lemme get a look at ya.

You actually smell kinda delicious.

…only 46 days to go!!