Monday, November 29, 2010
And they lived Happily Ever After
Growing up, I admit it, I was a sucker for fairy tales.
I always was fascinated with the idea of happily ever after. I wanted to know what it was like. As I got older, I think I started to get a little jaded (big shocker, right?) I even wrote a college paper on how Disney sets little girls up for heartbreak with their notions of "happily ever after," pointing out that my favorite Disney Princess as a child Aurora, of Sleeping Beauty fame, was the tender age of 16 when she finally met and fell in love with Prince Philip...
I had been through a string of relationships, some ending in major heartbreak, and I watched other friends and family members meet and fall in love with wonderful people. I began to believe that perhaps happily ever after did exist...it just didn't exist for me.
This was a painful bitter pill to swallow. Part of me yearned for my five year old self. I wished she could be there for me, I wished she could, with all the wonderment of childhood, assure me that YES happily ever after would come. I grieved for her, I grieved for a childhood full of what I thought would be wasted dreams...
and then it was my turn...out of the blue, and unexpectedly.
So, I'm sure everyone is expecting me to blog about my wedding, and believe me, I really wish I could...but I can't.
How can you describe the most perfect day ever?
Well, I guess it wasn't so perfect, I was so stressed in the morning that I was near tears until I reached the temple...
I had people commenting on how composed I was- couldn't they see that I was a wreck?
Jeff knew...and my best friend Erica knew.
Since I couldn't really kidnap Jeff and take him with me to the hair dresser, I kidnapped Erica, and she stayed with me, and tried to keep me calm.
Perhaps there was extra irritation because mother nature decided to dump about 6 inches of snow on us...and I hadn't really planned for indoor pictures...
Perhaps there was extra irritation because I was worried about making it to the temple on time and we literally had to go between 15 and 25 miles per hour the whole way across town to get there...
Perhaps I was a little frazzled because I was worried about friends and family making the long journey from Utah and other places far away...
To say the least I was stressed. I drove to the temple and the whole way Jeff asked, "Are you sure you don't want me to drive?"
Bless his heart for asking, but I needed something to get my mind off of the stress (even if that something was fear of death on icy and snow covered roads...)
However, once we reached the temple and walked inside the stress started to alleviate...there were a few mix ups when I got back in the dressing room, they were changing workers in the women's dressing room and the new shift did things slightly different from the old shift- they were transitioning...I swear I walked back and forth between two dressing spaces atleast 10 times...but then, when I was finally dressed and ready to go, they led me into the hall and I got to sit with Jeff and wait.
He was super nervous, but had been putting up a very good brave front for everyone. Sister Conrad, my escort around the temple that day, came to me and said, "Either he is one of the calmest grooms I have ever seen, or he is really good at hiding his nerves." I laughed and assured her that I knew he was nervous.
We went through an initial ceremony that pertains to sacred covenants and rites performed in the temple only and had a chance to sit in the celestial room and wait to be sealed.
Jeff held me so tight I almost couldn't breathe. I kissed him on the cheek, scratched his back and let him, who cared if my lips were turning blue from lack of oxygen, I just wanted to be near him. I said a few things here and there to make him laugh. He needed to laugh...the nerves were almost more than he could bear, but he did say, in spite of his nerves, he had never been more sure of anything in his life....this calmed my nerves...part of me was still waiting for him to run screaming for the hills. I told him he could if he wanted, he laughed and said, "I'll only do that if I can take you with me."
My heart was so full I was once again near tears, but this time they would be good tears- tears of joy, love, happiness...it may be blistering cold and snowing outside, but inside I was warm and felt peace.
Our sealer came to talk to us. He cracked a few jokes to make us laugh before we went into the sealing room.
We were led into the sealing room, it was almost completely full. I was shocked. With the weather, I was certain that 74 seats would be about 60 seats too many. I guess it just goes to show how much we are loved. Seeing the smiles on the faces of our friends and family brought me near tears again. I choked up and tried to breathe slowly. I didn't want to cry, part of me thought it would be cheesy, but then there was the other part of me, the part that was so full, brimming over with love, the part that was holding Jeff's hand and gazing up into his big blue eyes...I managed to hold them back...for a while anyway...
Jeff led me to the alter when we were called...I was maintaining composure very well until...he said yes...that word resounded through my soul. I was trying to put my head around the fact that he wanted to be with me just as much as I wanted to be with him. It should not have been much of a revelation, we'd only been planning a wedding and talking about how much we love eachother every day leading up to this point, but this "yes" had a sense of finality to it...I knew that my happily ever after was about to begin. As I struggled to hold back tears I realized the sealer was talking to me...OH CRAP! Where was he? Was I supposed to say yes yet? Was it my turn to seal the deal? My attention had shifted to the "OH CRAP" moment, and the tears began to flow freely.
Never fear, I was able to catch up and figure out where we were...and I said "yes" at my appointed time and turn.
We kissed over the alter and POOF I was a married woman, Jeff was a married man, and all the planning that we had done leading up to this point all of a sudden seemed insignificant. All that mattered at that moment is that we belong to eachother forever.
Of course...walking into the luncheon/reception spot and seeing This didn't hurt:
The reception was a blast...putting aside that it was my reception, it was the best one I've ever been to. We had a bartender giving out individually made Italian Cream Sodas to order, delicious cupcakes, and a crazy DJ who made everyone laugh as he went from song to song on our playlist. Our nieces and nephews that stayed didn't leave the dance floor all night- we had a bunch of dancing fools on our hands! I smashed cake in Jeff's face and he followed in suit (he was going to be nice until I wasn't...) He smashed the cake in my face and I was laughing so hard cake went up my nose and I aspirated a little bit of it and began to choke- but it was well worth it. I did have to toss the bouquet twice...the first time it got stuck in the tenting, we had a do over. Jeff grabbed me quickly as the girls literally began to fight for the bouquet as it came down the second time, I could have been trampled. Jeff tried to throw the garter with his teeth when our crazy DJ (aka my brother Aaron) goaded him to do so...it didn't work so well, but it was funny to watch the guys dive for it.
The ring ceremony just before the reception went perfectly. I wish all of my friends could have been there. My bishop made it (we were worried he wouldn't because he had texted us saying he wasn't sure he would be there with the roads being as bad as they were). My bishop talked about the temple and what it symbolizes and reflected on his own experience in the temple earlier that day as he watched his grandson be sealed to his mom and dad. He spoke about the ride home and how when they finally got back to Pocatello from Idaho Falls they realized his grandson had failed to mention to anyone that he hadn't been strapped into his booster seat. He remarked to his son in law that if anything had happened it would have been devastating, and he had been reminded by his son in law that it would have been sad, yes, but devastating, no...because they were now an eternal family and they would see eachother again and be with eachother again no matter what... I managed to keep my composure while I sang a jazz standard (I'll never stop loving you) and my bridesmaids did an awesome poetry reading. The coup de grat of course was my nieces singing Families can Be Together Forever, there was so much cuteness in the front of that room I almost couldn't stand it.
I am so grateful for the sealing power of the priesthood, and that there are temples on the earth to make that sealing ritual possible. I am so grateful that I know I will be with Jeff for time and all eternity. I am grateful to know that death cannot and will not part us for forever.
I am grateful for this knowledge. I can now admit whole-heartedly that my early college paper was wrong. Happily Ever After does exist. It exists in the sealing power of the temple, it exists in the love between people who have the same goals and continue to work toward them together. I was already living in a part of a happily ever after through my own parents' marriage covenant and I now get to create my own.
I know it won't always be sunshine and daffodils, I am fully prepared and anticipating the hard work that comes with marriage and family relationships, but I know one thing for certain: with God on your side, and with the same commitment to keep Him as a part of your family and relationships, no matter what your religion or creed- you too can have happily ever after. With that commitment any relationship can last and be loving.
I am excited for my own piece of forever.
Let the Happily Ever After-ing begin!
Hugs and loves until next time darlings!