Then and now.

I remember being a little girl and drawing the dresses I wanted to wear at my wedding. They all had poofy sleeves. The bridesmaids’ dresses were teal, and they had slightly less poofy sleeves. I thought about how beautiful I would feel, and how that day I would look like a princess, and it would be a lovely party- dancing with my Prince Charming.

I had other visions of my life back then. Of course, they were loosely based off of the only life I knew close enough to want- my mom’s life. I would meet my husband in college. I would marry him, because he would be so madly in love with me he would throw himself at my feet and work very hard to provide me with only the nicest of things. Of course, I would stay home and take care of the kids. And I would play tennis. The college degree I received as a result of half-assed studying and learning how to balance binge-drinking and schoolwork would just be a means to an end. College would be where I would meet the “husband”. Husband would fix it all and life would look eerily similar to my parents’ life: 3-4 children birthed in my early/mid twenties. And then there would be a Happily Ever After.

Today I was thinking about this while on a break at work. I was thinking initially about the drawings I made of the dresses, because I was thinking: “Boy, I hope people aren’t disappointed in the way that I look at my wedding.”

First of all, that’s a weird (and obviously deeply self-conscious) thing to think, I know. Very quickly I thought to myself, “Who cares what other people think? And, I’m doing the best that I can throwing this thing together, don’t stress about how you’re going to LOOK. Just FEEL good about it.”

And I just thought about that, too. I mean, when I was a little girl, I didn’t focus on the way I would FEEL about getting married. When I did think about it, I thought about it like I would be “saved” by this person who would take care of me. I never thought of taking care of him, or entering into a mutually beneficial partnership. It’s funny how things change, is all.

Of course, everyone changes between the ages of 8 and 33. And I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m so pleasantly surprised by the way my life is working out. I can’t picture myself ever NOT working outside the home. I just can’t picture it, not out of necessity- but because I’m passionate about the career I chose. And I dated plenty of people before meeting Gabe (wow those blog archives are lost for good- thankfully). The ones who had the capability to BE the type of Prince Charming I dreamt of as a girl, well frankly they sucked. And to be honest, I ended up being the type of person who always wanted to fix someone else, not be rescued myself. So that kind of worked itself out, too.

Since being with Gabe, I’ve learned more about myself, and the type of relationship that is best and easiest for me. It involves a lot of mutual respect for time, privacy, togetherness and touch. Remembering to stop and kiss him goodbye and hello. Reaching out under the covers to tap him goodnight before I pass out in front of the glow of my laptop and some random Hulu garbage. Coming home to a clean kitchen, a clean child, a child who has learned several new things from the man I’m choosing to marry.

We decided to have this baby (Simon) and give it a shot. We agreed to commit to the kid, and to each other (at the very least) for him. Having only been in a relationship for a year when finding out we were pregnant- it was definitely a roll of the dice. We rolled. I think we won.

This month we’re getting married. And sure I get a teensy bit stressed over the details that need ironed out beforehand. But moreso than stress, I’m feeling like everything is falling into place the way it was always supposed to- in the way that it was meant to be. Sometimes I tell other people that they should have a kid before getting married. I’m only halfway joking. I’m well aware of the potential negative repercussions if parents don’t see eye to eye. But when you both commit to a common goal, something, someONE that you both love more than anything else, well it just prioritizes everything for you. The focus is no longer on you and your relationship. It’s on the family. It’s on your new “team”.

So that’s been my experience so far. And the other night we were talking about how being married is going to be exactly like we’ve already been- only we might have some more kitchen appliances. I know that we’re making a lot of other people happy by making it all “legit”. After all 87 people “liked” my “I’m getting married this month” status on facebook. But for me, I’m just happy that this wedding we’re having is more about the marriage than the party. It’s more about the gathering of family and friends to celebrate than it is looking beautiful and perfect in poofy sleeves.

The foundation of our relationship will remain the same, unchanged. Other people will view us differently, and Gabe is slightly resentful of that. He’s always been committed to me and to us, regardless of the status of our relationship according to the law. So I guess what I mean to say is, this isn’t at all what I pictured when I was 8 years old laying on my stomach drawing pictures of myself in wedding dresses. But there is no way that my 8 year old self could comprehend how much better the future would be.

25 more days.


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