Thursday, September 27, 2012

326. Once Upon Another Time

"Can I talk to you two for a moment?" Marvin asked, pulling Cayden and I aside into my parents's dining room. 

It was exactly one week after Cayden had landed in Texas and we started our lives together. It was also our marriage day. Not to be confused with our wedding day, which we set for October 20. The sooner we were legally married, the sooner Cayden could file his paperwork and the sooner he could start looking for work.

"OK, I know you don't want to make this a big deal because you want it to be special for your wedding next month," he started. The sparkle of his diamond earrings matched the sparkle of his smile and the excitement in his eyes. "But this is a big deal. Today you're getting married, and that's something to treasure. Cayden, SHE is something to treasure."

We nodded in agreement and Cayden gave me a sideways smile. We'd hoped to have Marvin come over to hear us say "I do" and then sign our papers and that was it. He was right, I wanted to save the emotional part for our wedding day. 

Marvin turned his attention to Cayden. 

"You are marrying into the most wonderful family. They are something special. Today is special," he said. "So I'm going to say those things out there in front of her family, and then we'll have cake and punch and we'll celebrate."

I squeezed Cayden's hand.

"Sounds like a plan," I said.

"Let's do this," Cayden chimed in. 

With that, Marvin gathered my family and our five dogs outside. Cayden and I stood facing each other in front of the flowering bushes next to the pool, wearing the same outfits we were wearing the night we met. I wanted to save my wedding dress for the actual wedding, but I still wanted my "marriage" dress to mean something. 

It was almost like the outdoor wedding I'd planned originally for June, except it was 75 degrees instead of 105. A perfect day to get married. 

Marvin’s voice rose over the sound of the breeze through the trees and the trickle of the water from the hot tub’s stone edge. No matter what song he’s singing, his voice always gave me goosebumps.

As much as I love hearing people sing, I hate being sung to. When people sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me it takes everything I have not to crawl under the table and stab them all in the shins with my fork. What are you supposed to do? Sing along? Dance? Who do you look at? Everyone? No one? The candles burning on the cake? It’s awkward. And that ‘Happy Birthday’ song is about 10 versus too long.

But Marvin wasn’t singing happy birthday. There wasn’t a table to crawl under and I didn’t want to stab Marvin with a fork because I didn’t want his yelp to interrupt the magic that was coming from his vocal cords. There were no candles to look at. So instead, I focused my gaze on Cayden. My candle. And for the first time, I didn’t mind being sung to. I let his lyrics wrap around me while I took in my soon-to-be husband’s eyes, his lips, the slight gap in his teeth.

Cayden, on the other hand, never tore his gaze from Marvin. Either he felt awkward, too, and decided to just stare at one person, or he was hypnotized by Marvin’s love song, but I could have been floating face down in the pool and he wouldn’t have noticed.

I heard mom sniffle behind me and I was momentarily distracted when my dog Joey came up to sniff around our feet. Before Marvin started his speech, I thought I wasn’t going to cry. I thought this would just be a quick exchange of ‘I dos’ followed by a signature on the marriage license. I thought I’d save all of my emotions for our wedding next month.

But then I remembered what I’d been preaching all along. It’s not about the wedding or the dress or the three-tiered cake. It’s not about the perfectly matched bouquets or the music or the first dance. It’s about the marriage. It’s about love. It’s about me and Cayden, and the promise that we’ll always be there for each other. It’s about family. My mom and dad and sisters and brother behind me, they were my family, but now Cayden would be my family. My husband. My everything.

And somewhere between “we are gathered here today” and “lawfully wedded wife,” I let myself feel it. THIS is how brides feel on their wedding day. This is our big day. Tears spilled over my eyes and ran down my cheeks and I didn’t care. Cayden’s voice wavered and I could tell he was letting himself feel it, too. The sniffles from my mom and sisters grew more frequent.

The stress and the struggle and the heartache of the last three years washed away with those tears.

“And by the power vested in me by the State of Texas, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss your bride.”

I closed my eyes as his lips touched mine and I was brought back to that night we met. The night we kissed at the bar. Before we even knew each other. Before we’d understood the power of love and the crazy shit it can make you do. Before we knew what our hearts and minds could and couldn’t withstand. Before the missed flights and lonely nights. Before airport goodbyes and hellos. Before visa refusals and government paperwork.

Before we believed in fairytales.

“This will all be worth it one day,” we used to say to each other when things were particularly shitty.

This was that day. 

It would be way too cheesy and cliché to end this post with “and they lived happily every after” or “and that’s how I got my fairytale ending,” so I won’t. Besides, I still don’t buy into that whole “happily ever after” thing by Disney’s standards. I’m sure there will be unhappy days and days I’ll want to be as far away from him as physically possible. And there will be days he’ll want to send me away on a trip with my girlfriends so he can have three days of peace and quiet. And days where I’ll throw shoes at him and blame him for all the world’s problems.

And then there will be a days that we fall asleep in each other's arms after a long night over good wine. There will be days we celebrate birthday and holidays and job promotions together. And there will be a day that we’ll look into our baby’s eyes for the first time, and all of those days I wanted to strangle him will wash away in my tears yet again.

I don’t think marriage is going to be any easier than our three-year long-distance relationship, because marriage isn’t easy no matter how you look at it. Hell, life isn’t easy, but having someone to live it with makes it taste oh, so much better.

But if our marriage is filled with even half of the love, passion and understanding the past three years have been defined by, it will be happily ever after indeed. So I don’t see marriage as my “fairytale ending” but more as a new beginning. Call it another fairytale beginning if you’d like.

Once upon a time I married the man of my dreams and then went straight to a beer festival where I couldn’t drink much because I was on painkillers and couldn’t even have sex that night because I’d just had an ovarian cyst removed.

That's how all good fairytales start, right?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

325. Surprise

Cayden thought I'd be the only one picking him up from the airport yesterday. Instead, this happened:

Friends, family, coworkers and even a handful of my blog readers came out to surprise him. I wanted to write a blog post to invite all of you, but Cayden had Wi-Fi on his plane and he told me he needed to catch up on the blog. It's nearly impossible to keep anything a secret these days with social media.

Needless to say, I was excited.

And he was surprised.

Cayden, me, Shanna and Ronnie

I've never been happier. I woke up this morning in paid from too much laugher last night, and it's totally worth it. Six days until we're legally married.

At 11:11 this morning, I didn't know what to wish for.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

324. Surreal

I didn't understand the word "surreal" until I read that email. And then I read it again. And again. And again, until I could convince myself that it was, in fact, real. Cayden is moving here in three days. THREE DAYS. Unless you're reading this on Thursday, in which case I can say CAYDEN WILL BE HERE IN TWO DAYS!

For the past three years I've spent so much of my time waiting--waiting for his next visit, waiting for his plane to land, waiting for our visa to get approved--that I'm having a hard time comprehending the fact that the wait is about to end. That whole 'good things come to those who wait a ridiculously long time' bit was about to actually live up to its promise.

Can you believe it? If you've been reading from the beginning, you've been through the ups and downs, the tears of joy and tears of heartache, right along with me for the past two years.... 324 posts. And it's all coming down to this... a happily ever after. Or so we hope.

And as you've been reading my story and geting to know us, I've been getting to know you. I talk to some of you so regularly on Twitter or via email that I forget we haven't met in person yet. You guys have been my support group whether you've known it or not, even if all you did was "like" one of my Facebook posts. I don't think I could have survived the emotional exhaustion of this long-distance relationship without a place to vent and people to commiserate with. I couldn't have done it without you.

So now I thank you for your tweets, your comments, your emails. I thank you for your letters to your congressmen, your words of wisdom, your shared stories. I thank you for staying up late with me, supporting me and cheering me on. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Will I keep blogging once I get my fairytale ending?

Of course. Married life is going to be a whole new beginning. A fairytale beginning, perhaps.

OK, enough cheesy one-liners from me tonight. I blame it on the fact that I've lost hours and hours of sleep trying to get this blog caught up before our next chapter. Surgery in the morning and then I need all the beauty sleep I can get before Saturday.

Until my next update, enjoy these photos of us from the past couple years.

The night we met :)
July 3, 2009

My first trip to London
June 2010
Halloween 2010

Cayden's first OU football watch party.

Austin Trip
New Years Eve 2012
St Paddy's Day Parade 2012


The day we left Cozumel
Not sure why my leg is all crazy in this one, but here we are with our new friends on our honeymoon! [From left to right: me, Cayden, david, Vicky, Courtney and Chandler]

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

323. To Those Who Wait

14 days.

15 days.

"I put in my two week's notice... again," Cayden said during our morning phone call on day 16. "My last day of work will be September 7th and I have my eye on a flight to Dallas on the 8th. Now let's just hope I get my visa and passport back before then. I don't really want to be unemployed longer than I have to."

"Good," I said. "I should be mostly recovered from surgery by then. If all goes as planned. I'm trying not to get my hopes up about you moving here on the 8th, but how awesome would that be?"

"I know," he said with a sigh. "I'd be there for my birthday."

"And my birthday," I added. "And OU-TX!"

My hopes were up.

Day 17.

The OR was fully booked, so my surgery was going to have to wait.

"How about September 6?" my doctor asked.

Oh, yes. Sign me up for that. Who wouldn't want surgery two days before their fiance moved in? My big plan to run and tackle him at the airport in the happiest moment of my life was looking less and less likely.

"Will I be able to walk by then?" I asked.

"...slowly. But no sex for 2 weeks."

Fuck me.

Day 18.

Day 19.

Day 20.

"Why in the hell do they say you'll have it back within 10 days when they clearly have no intention of doing so?" I whined. "This is getting ridiculous!"

"You're telling me."

Day 21.

Day 22.

Day 23.

My blood started to boil.

"So, when's he moving here? When's the wedding?" people asked.

"I wish I knew," was my only response.

We couldn't set a wedding date because we didn't know exactly when he'd be here. If we set a date in October and he moved here in September, he'd be unemployed for four months instead of three. My credit card balance didn't like the idea of that. Not one bit.

"What if we do a quick JP wedding right when you get here?" I offered. "That way you can get your paperwork filed and then we can plan a wedding for October or November."

"That might be our best bet," he said.

"And that way we'll be sure I'm 100 percent recovered from surgery by the time I walk down the aisle. And hopefully you'll have your Employment Authorization documents by December."

A plan was set in motion. No, it wasn't ideal. It wasn't the way we planned for things to happen, but we'd learned very early on in our relationship that when it's up to the government, it's best to have zero plans.

Day 24.

Day 25.

Day 26.

This is getting ridiculous.

Day 27.

Day 28.

Day 29.

"Surely, they can't keep your passport from you for that long, right? I mean, that's a pretty important legal document."

"They can do whatever they want," he replied. "They're the US Government."

I wanted to punch Mitt Romney through the TV screen with his "Let's keep America American" bullshit. It was like he was taunting me, rubbing salt in an open wound, sticking his tongue out and dangling immigration papers just out of my reach. Ass.

Day 30.

Day 31.

Day 32. I woke up to an email from Cayden.

from: (Cayden)
to: (me)
 Mon, Sep 3, 2012 at 7:45 AM
 Good Morning

Good Morning baby

So, check out the below. Yes, that right there is my one-way plane ticket to come and live with you FOREVER!!!!  I have the visa in my hand right now.  If you weren't excited before, get excited now because it's HAPPENING THIS WEEK!!!!
I'm so happy right now.

Well, I'll chat later
Love you lots

322. Demon Baby

Nine days later. 

No word. 






"So, isn't your fiance moving here soon?" my doctor asked. I was at my annual wellness exam and my doctor loved to catch up on the status of my roller coaster of a relationship. "There's got to be a wedding soon, right?"

"Well, that's a funny story," I started, and then filled her in on the honeymoon and the email and the latest non-happenings. It made for good small talk while my legs were propped up in stirrups. 

"Wait. What's this?" she asked, pushing against my lower abdomen. 

Ummm, it better not be a fucking baby, I thought to myself. 

Wouldn't that just throw a twist into an already overly dramatic storyline? I started to laugh at the thought of it, but the look of concern on my doctor's face told me it might not be a time for jokes. 

"I can't tell if that's your ovary or something else. Let's get you in for an ultrasound today."


My heart started to race. I was afraid to ask any questions because I wasn't sure I wanted to hear the answers. Wouldn't I have noticed if I was pregnant? Didn't I still have an IUD in there standing guard against my babymakers?

I stared at the garbled mess on the ultrasound screen and attempted to see something. Anything. Was that an alien? Was that whole Twilight: Breaking Dawn demon baby thing coming true?

"What is it?" I finally got the courage to ask. I fought the urge to cover my ears before she replied. 

"Looks like you have a 12 centimeter ovarian cyst and you need surgery to remove it. Like now."

Now, aside from "you're pregnant with a demon baby" and "it turns out, you were born a male," this is the last thing a bride-to-be wants to hear when her fiance could be moving there any day. 

"I'm going out of town the last week of August, so I want to do the surgery before then," she said. "How does next week look for you?"

For the second time in two weeks, I was dumbfounded. Speechless. 

And with the honeymoon, surgery and a wedding to pay for, I was in serious need of a winning lottery ticket.