three words

this morning I dropped Ben off so he could embark on a training trip to Florida with his team. while saying goodbye for extended periods of time is never easy, having to say goodbye the day after Christmas felt especially difficult.

I know he’s only gone for a week, and I know we are spending the rest of our lives together, but even that doesn’t feel like enough time with him.

since Ben is on a bus for 22 hours, he has a lot of time to do things he normally doesn’t do, like go through old emails. this afternoon he forwarded me a piece of writing I had written in the only creative writing class I took in college.

creative writing is not something that interests me and I remember how out of my element I felt in the class, especially because we shared so much of our writing out loud with the class to receive feedback. there was one day in particular where our assignment was to write a “word painting” about a significant emotional experience. it was the easiest writing assignment for me in the class, but it made me realize  how much I struggle with saying how I feel out loud. writing about my feelings has always been easier for me. it’s why I place importance on giving birthday cards. it’s why I can’t bring myself to delete text messages with Ben, and why I took a screenshot of the first message he ever sent me months ago because it now takes 45+ minutes to scroll through our messages to get back to the beginning…image

when Ben dropped me off after our first date, we sat in his car talking before I went upstairs. I remember not saying a lot, we were both just smiling at each other. I wasn’t going to make the first move, but I watched Ben smile shyly and bite his lip as I opened the car door to exit. previous to these text messages, Ben and I had only exchanged Facebook messages. we didn’t even have each other’s phone numbers until he was on his way to pick me up and needed directions. it is so crazy, beautiful, and wonderful how life works out.

I had actually forgotten about this piece until today when Ben reminded me it exists. I wrote it over a year ago, and it has been even longer since Ben and I first exchanged “I love yous,” but I remember this night, and how I was feeling, perfectly. the table we sat at while we drank wine and listened to music at the Veranda. stumbling into Ben’s apartment and finding the living room floor because the room was spinning. I remember feeling just as nervous as I was the night we went on our first date. I don’t think the Monarch butterflies will ever disappear, and I okay with that.

The three words you patiently wait to express at just the right moment in every relationship carry more meaning than all of the bottles of wine, the late night conversations, and movie dates.

It had been weighing on my mind.

It was one year after our very first date, a date that was filled with awkward, yet comfortable, silences. It had been a year full of discovering, navigating, and trying to understand what we were doing.

But, in that moment, I knew.

We were laying on the living room floor, buzzed from a bottle of shiraz, and even though we could have talked about anything, there were only three words I wanted to say.

I knew I had to say something, so I sat up straighter and pulled at my hair, uttering the very cliche line of, “So, I have to tell you something…”

His posture adjusted accordingly and his always-inquisitive eyes curiously looked up at me.

Everything about this night was so different than any time before. I had not minded the snow flakes that had fallen on us, or the bitterness of the air. The time seemed to pass both quickly and slowly, with the alluring promise of not having to set an alarm for the next morning.

I knew.

I knew exactly what I wanted to say, but it felt like there were not enough words in the universe to convey exactly how I was feeling.

The neighbors footsteps above us seemed absurdly loud, and the ticking of the clock seemed to mimic how fast my heart was beating. I silently wondered how the rest of the world could keep spinning when I had something so important and monumental to say.

And just like all the best moments, it was fleeting.
And I do not think there will ever be enough words.

There are still awkward, yet comfortable, silences.
There are still bottles of wine, late night conversations, and movie dates.

But now there is this presence of so much more. There are so many avenues to still discover, navigate, and try to understand.

Our stories will continue to cross like lovers’ legs in the night.

I look forward to every bottle of wine, every late night conversation, and every movie date I will share with this guy for the rest of my life, but more importantly, I can’t wait to be this guy’s wife.

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my moment with a dress

I have expectations for our wedding.

I keep telling people we’re going to accidentally have a bohemian-inspired wedding, because all I envision are tons of flowers and flowy material floating on a breezy, not too warm, but not too chilly September day.

let’s be real, there’s no “accident” to my vision, and my expectations are high. but, at the end of the day, all that matters is that Ben and I will be exactly where we’re supposed to be—together. forever.

last (black) Friday, I went to a small bridal boutique in my hometown. I’m not even sure I can call it a boutique? it is a store in a strip mall. anyway, it is where my sister found her dress and my mom was insistent we go try on during their sale.

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but (again) I had certain expectations of how I would look at our wedding, and how could a store in my hometown possibly meet those expectations?

when I walked into the boutique, a lady that had helped my sister find her dress approached us. she led us into the room where they keep their gowns and explained how their Black Friday sale worked. my eyes immediately darted around the racks of dresses trying to find one that would make me feel better about shopping in a strip mall for my wedding dress.

the lady (I never even got her name) asked me what I thought I wanted, so I told her I loved lace and tulle. I wanted to have straps and I wanted it to be appropriate for our setting in the northern WI outdoors. she showed me some ideas, but left us to pull gowns out that I wanted to try on. what I realized almost immediately is that it is so hard for people not to project their own ideas onto what you want.

I kept an open mind and, with the help of some of my maids and mom, I pulled probably a dozen dresses to take back to try on. this is where it really became real.

sliding into that first dress was so exciting. I kept telling the lady that was helping me change how weird it felt. and when I looked back at pictures of me in the first couple of dresses, weird is written all over my face. it didn’t help that the first dress I put on was in some color called “rum.” the first dress was one that I had pulled. it was made out of chiffon and had the flow I thought I wanted. it was a beautiful dress, but I knew immediately it wasn’t for me.

I experienced the same sentiments for the next couple of dresses, but while I was changing into the third dress, I (unbeknownst to myself) pointed to “my” dress and told the lady I was most excited to try that one on.

it was while I was putting the fourth dress on that I had my moment. after I stepped into the gown I couldn’t take my eyes off of the mirror in front of me. I started to imagine the look on Ben’s face as I walked down the aisle to him. I cried. the lady (again, still don’t know her name), asked if I wanted to cry with her in the dressing room, or if I wanted to go cry out there with everyone else. I walked out and watched everyone turn around and smile. it’s like we all just knew.

it’s better than anything I ever imagined for myself. Ben is going to be speechless, mostly because it’s completely different than how he sees me all the time. not, like, bedhead hair with morning breath level different, but stunningly lovely, instead of practical and cute. for once in my life (and that’s probably enough), I’m going to look graceful and delicate and pretty, like an ethereal woodland goddess floating in to marry my one true love.

I’d say that, so far, everything has exceeded my expectations for the wedding. only 284 more days to go!