Cayden would be here to visit in a week and a half. I'd also be standing up as a bridesmaid in Shanna's wedding in a week and a half. Oh, yeah, standing up as a bridesmaid alongside eight beautiful, toned, dancers, might I add. All very good reasons to try to board the eat-normal-and-work-out-occasionally bandwagon.
I was dying to see Cayden. He was all I could think about. Sometimes at night, I'd hug my Build a Bear teddy bear so tightly and squeeze my eyes shut and pray that it would magically turn into Cayden when I opened them. Cayden left me his cologne a few months back, so the teddy bear always smelled just like him. In the evenings, while hanging out with Rae and Chaz and Joyce and Joey, I'd reach for my phone to call him or text him, but then I'd remember he was sleeping soundly and I'd put my phone away. Sometimes I'd want to throw my phone against a wall and watch it shatter to a million pieces (even though every time I drop it, it only breaks into three), because that's how my life felt when he was gone. One piece was at work, another piece was with my friends, but a huge, huge piece was with Cayden in Reading. But Cayden was around, it felt just as relieving as when I'd put my battery back on my phone and snap the back in place to find out it still turned on and the screen hadn't cracked. Pure happiness.
There's a cycle we go through between visits. Right when he leaves or I leave, there's the punch-you-in-the-gut-and-rip-out-your-heart airport goodbye, followed by the moment of freedom when you realize you can go to the bathroom without fear of someone hearing you through the door, or spread all the way out in the bed without accidentally kicking someone in the bathing-suit parts. That moment usually passes within the first 24 hours. And then it's back to missing him. Whining, crying, complaining, for a solid three weeks. And then it kicks into the survival part of the cycle. We talk. We plan. We sleep, eat, work. Repeat. That's the easiest part of the cycle for some reason. You'd think it would be harder because his next visit is still months away, but the next part of the cycle, is the worst. It usually kicks in about a week before his visit. As the days get closer, the frustration grows, the tears flow easier, and all I can do is think, "WHY AREN'T YOU HERE YET?"
Shanna sent over the itinerary for her wedding. Here's the summary.
Thursday, Sept 22: Meet at our place and we'll go out for dinner and drinks. Bring your date!
Friday, Sept 23: Due to a scheduling conflict with the venue, the rehearsal will have to be at 11 am Friday morning. Then we'll grab lunch and the bridesmaids will go to my place to help with the final flower prep. The rehearsal dinner is Friday night at 7:30 at El Fenix.
Saturday: Bridesmaids be at the venue at 1 to help set up. After set up, we'll get ready and I'll get to have a little time to spend with you all before I'm a married woman!
Sunday: (Optional) Come on over to the W Hotel for a pool party!
My stomach sank. Remember when I wanted to make up for being a shitty wedding guest to Colbie by being a good bridesmaid to Shanna? Well, all of that was about to go out the window.
Thursday night was the monthly Social Media Club of Dallas meeting, which I was fine with skipping any other time, but that month it just so happened to be a special meeting. It was a Social Media Showcase where six companies were chosen to present a case study, and we just happened to be one of those six. We were beyond psyched when we found out. I created the presentation. My director would be presenting. The President and Vice President of my company would be attending. A good bridesmaid would go to dinner and drinks. A good employee would go to the presentation. Which was I?
We were in the middle of signing a huge new client at work, and the only time that worked out for the CEOs and directors for the big presentation I'd been working on all week was Friday at 11 am. Same exact time as Shanna's rehearsal. I couldn't miss the meeting. But a bridesmaid can't miss a rehearsal, right? Especially not a bridesmaid who missed the Vegas bachelorette party. Or a bridesmaid who missed a bachelorette party and dinner and drinks the night before.
I couldn't go to the meeting and then bounce to meet the bridal party for lunch and flower prep, either, because I'd taken six days off for my tonsillectomy instead of two, like I'd planned. I didn't have a vacation day to spare. But Cayden's flight was to land at 4:00, so I'd have to sneak out of work early, anyway.
Luckily, there were no conflicts for the rehearsal dinner or the wedding. Shocking.
I didn't know how to tell Shanna. Or how to tell my director. Who should I let down? Shanna was my best friend. She'd understand. Right?
I sent her an email explaining the conflicts and told her I felt awful, and that I would do everything I could to be as present as possible in her wedding and wedding events. I also said I didn't want her to think I was putting work ahead of her wedding and that I woud work something out. I didn't know what I was going to work out, but I had a few days to figure it out.
I hit send. Then I held my breath while I stared at my inbox notifications. What if she was pissed? Would she send me a passive aggressive "Oh, that's fine. Don't worry about me. I'm just the bride and all" kind of email? No, surely not. Shanna is one of the sweetest, most understanding people I know. And from what I could tell, she didn't show any signs of being a Bridezilla.
Her response brought me to tears.
date: Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 9:51 AM
subj: RE: ONE WEEK!
Aw Whitney I love YOU!!!
PLEASE DON’T stress about it :) It’s all fine!
1 – NO pressure on the Thursday night thing! It was just a way to kinda introduce Ronnie’s friends to Dallas.. not a big deal at all! Also, CONGRATULATIONS about that presentation!!!! That’s amazing! You’re doing big things at work and I’m so proud of you.. Please don’t feel bad AT ALL.
2 – You’ll just be walking in a line so we’ll fill you in at the dinner – easy cheesy follow-the-leader situation. I have 2 others that can’t make it from out of town… It’s totally my venue’s fault for saying that I had to be out by noon. Grr. We’ll celebrate it up Friday night!!
I’m so excited that you will be able to bring Cayden – I love the 2 of you and your love story makes me smile :) and it makes me think of our long-distance relationship. It’s so worth it – all the tears, missing him, loneliness disappear eventually. I actually get super emotional every time Ronnie goes out of town without me still to this day – it just brings all the goodbyes back. He actually said the sweetest thing to me last week whenever he left for his quick business trip – I jokingly said that once he marries me he’s going to HAVE to come back to me (I blame my separation anxiety for that little comment) and he said something that I wrote this in my “notes” in my phone so I would remember… “Every time I left, I told you I would come back. I always did and I always will.” Nothing makes me smile more than to hear those words come out of his mouth. And you know Ronnie- he’s not so much with the sentiment!! Anyways, I just wanted to give you some encouragement because I can so relate to how you feel.. there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and that light is SO WORTH THE WAIT. Trust me. :)
Love you so much!
Not only did I have an amazing friend, I also had the most amazing wedding gift idea.