Thursday, October 24, 2013

(not) The blushing bride (or How did I get here?)

We moved into our new home on June 1 and our wedding was just two months later on August 4. The time between the two big events were insanely busy. Trying to unpack, planning a wedding, trying to get kids settled and establish some kind of order. Some days were fun. I loved having a home and painting and decorating and making it "ours." I loved cooking and entertaining.

There were days I'd think, "At 39 years old, I finally have what I've always wanted- a husband, children, home, good career, pets. This is how it's supposed to be.

And there were other days that I'd be on the verge of a meltdown. One day I was at work and was on a long and very boring conference call. I went to and there was the condo in Pacific Beach that Morgan and I were living in for sale. I got teary. That was my house! I wanted it back more than anything.

As I always do when confronted with a bad or scary situation, I look for something positive to hold on to. As silly as this sounds, I grabbed on to the Christmas party that Rob and I had talked about when we first saw our new home. "This is perfect for parties!" Rob promised. "We are going to have a huge Christmas party this year." I loved to entertain and I held on to that tiny miniscule promise and I find some kind of joy and comfort in my moments of terror.

It was now Monday early evening, just five days prior to our wedding. Morgan and Nicole were swimming in the pool while Rob and I were sitting outside at the table talking. We were laughing and having fun. I had my laptop and I logged on to my email. My heart stopped. I had a message from Todd. My eyes must have gotten huge and I quickly closed out of it. At one point, Rob went into the house and I could wait no longer. I hadn't heard from Todd since prior to moving into our house. I opened up his email. I remember exactly what it said by heart: "How's your summer been? I've been spending a lot of time surfing. Work is busy. I hope you're doing well. I think about you all the time."

Holy hell. That email sent me into a tailspin. I sent a brief reply back. "Life is good. Busy. I bought a house, we moved. Summer's great. Take care." And that was it. No mention that I got engaged, was getting married, that I was living with a man. Nothing. I couldn't. If I had, it would have closed the door to Todd forever and I just couldn't do it. If he came back into my life and I thought there was a future, maybe (probably) I'd leave Rob. I'd have to. I didn't think I had enough strength not to. As the wedding got closer, I put on a brave face and smiled and acted excited, while inside my head, I was falling apart. I wanted to be with Todd. I was sad and scared and regretful and filled with dread. I did NOT want to get married. Not one.tiny.bit. and I was powerful to stop wedding day from getting closer and closer. I was in a total "Todd funk." Rob felt it because he told one of my friends, Emmy, that he thought I was getting cold feet. When Emmy told me this, I thought "cold feet"? They are frozen.

I might have been dying inside but I smiled a lot and put on a fantastic game face. I think no one could have come close to guessing at my inner turmoil and sadness. But bolting from my wedding day was just not an option. That would have taken courage and I didn't have it. I made my bed and I was going to sleep in it. End of story.

The day of our wedding arrived and I got up really early and started getting dressed. I loved my dress, Morgan looked gorgeous and, by all accounts, our wedding and reception was going to be beautiful and fun. And yet I was in a panic.

I had a vision. I wanted, more than anything I've ever wanted in my entire life, to get in my car, wedding dress and all, and drive to Todd's house and not show up for my wedding. I had a million scenarios in my head on how that would work. Just like in a movie. I'd show up on Todd's doorstep. He would be there, see me, I'd tell him I loved him and I almost made a big mistake. He'd grab me and kiss me and I'd be happy and then we'd live happily ever after. I couldn't quite imagine in my head I would explain to all our wedding guests why I didn't show up. Or how I'd tell Rob. Or how I'd move out of our big house and get out from under that financial albatross.

Rob, Morgan, Nicole and I drove to our wedding venue together. I acted happy and excited. Rob and I held hands a lot and laughed and smiled. We saw our guests. We hugged and smiled some more. Our ceremony started. It was gorgeous outside. Our family and friends were all there (minus Rob's daughter, Kalie, who boycotted the whole thing). We wrote our own vows. Rob read his and I smiled and laughed a lot. I have to say, Rob looked so happy and it tore my heart out. I wanted to love him. He was so kind and good and optimistic and I wanted to wrap my arms around him and sob. "Why can't I love you like you deserve?" I wanted to scream. But I couldn't. I could only smile while my heart kept breaking a bit more every single second. This was horrible. I think I had read books about stuff like this but this was ME.

I started reading my vows, saying words like "I can't wait to come home to you" and "we will be building our family" and "you are becoming my best friend" and "I love you and you're amazing and I trust you". (Actually, I think I know where our vows are and I'll post them another time in their entirety.) And then I started crying during my vows. I didn't mean any of those words! And then I heard clapping. I swear it broke me out of a trance I was in. I looked up at our guests, almost confused. Right, there are people listening to all of this and they all thought I was crying because I was touched. Rob was smiling at me. I looked at him. I looked back at our guests. And I wanted to scream at everyone, "STOP CLAPPING! I'm not crying because I'm touched! I'm crying because I don't want to be here. What am I doing here? I want to stop this! Rewind! Take me back to my condo in Pacific Beach please! No no no no no!!!"

Here I am crying during my vows. I was not crying because I was touched but my words but, rather, because I was there at all. I did not want to get married. I wanted to walk away before I said "I do" and drive straight to Todd's house. This was all a mistake and I was devastated that I was there at all. I felt like a fraud.

And I envisioned, again, getting in my car right then and there and driving to Todd's house.

But this wasn't a movie or a book or a dream. This was real. I was stuck. And I smiled some more, read the rest of my vows, kissed Rob, and it was done. Sealed with a kiss. After the ceremony was done, Morgan rushed into Rob's arms and called out, "Daddy!"

Morgan was ecstatic. She had a dad! She rushed into Rob's arms as soon as the ceremony was over and called out "Daddy!" It melted my heart and gave me hope and faith that it would all turn out alright. Maybe this wasn't a mistake.

The wedding was actually lovely and beautiful. We got married at the top of Soledad Mountain with panoramic views of La Jolla and the ocean. Our reception was in our home and the food was delicious. We grilled food and the kids swam and we hung out with family and friends. And inside, I was dying. Todd was, in spirit and unbeknownst to him, with me the entire day.

A beautiful yet incredibly sad day for me.