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SPEAKER OF THE FLOCK

Month

November 2015

Breaking Even

“We’ve got to hold on to what we’ve got.  It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not.  We’ve got each other, and that’s a lot for love.  We’ll give it a shot!  Whooooaaaaa, we’re halfway there; Whoaaaa-oh!  We’re livin’ on a prayer!  Take my hand, we’ll make it, I swear; Whoaaaa-oh!  We’re livin’ on a prayer!  LIVIN’ ON A PRAYER…”  — John Bon Jovi (and thousands of concertgoers who like to freakin’ rock)

For whatever reason, or maybe no reason at all, I feel like it’s time for a slow jam.

I’ve admitted to not being a “dates” person, but it has come to my attention recently that I think I’m sitting near an anniversary of sorts.  Somewhere in the weeks past, or in the weeks to come, I’ve hit the “breakeven point” in my marriage.  Read that one closely: not a breakDOWN, and not a breakUP, but a breakEVEN.  I think I’ve officially hit the moment in time where I’ve been out of the workforce as long as I was in it as a married person.  My husband has supported me financially for the same period of time as I supported him.  Thankfully, he doesn’t keep score, because it turns out that I’m a lot more costly than he ever was.  If this breakeven analysis were conducted using dollars instead of days, I would have gone into the red a long time ago.

I don’t know who is reading this, but I do know that a large portion of my current peer group never knew me as a worker bee.  I haven’t always lived this life of leisure.  *insert eye roll*  I worked “real jobs” as a financial/real estate analyst/project manager/whatever-you-need-gal.  I wore work clothes instead of workout clothes.  I sat all day at a desk, in an office with a door.  I went to all the meetings.  I went out to lunch and had business dinners.  I worked late in the evenings, and from home and on the weekends.  I met the deadlines and printed the reports.  I LEANED IN more than the Tower of Pisa.  I really never entertained the thought of being a stay-at-home mom.  I always wanted a family, but I was part of the generation of girls that were told they could do it all.  On top of that I was the product of a single mom who did, in fact, do it all.  I never felt slighted by my mom’s schedule and so I never thought a child of mine would feel that way, either.  And, plus, the idea of staying home and doing kid stuff all day, every day, sounded mind-numbing and torturous.  While I’m being all confessional, I’ll also admit to being completely judge-y when it came to working mothers.  Their kids were always sick and needed to be taken places.  It seemed to me like working moms always had an excuse to come in late and leave early, while the rest of us had to sit there and slog it out.  And let’s not even talk about the eye-rolling that would happen if someone had to bring their kid to the office for whatever reason.  What a distraction!

I was, at best, ignorant.  At worst, an ignorant b*tch.  I wish I could go back to that time and tell my former self to lighten up and cut those ladies some slack.  And then after that, I’d go back to my teenage self and tell her to give my mom a hug and maybe throw some potatoes in the oven to help out a little bit.  Where is the Hot Tub Time Machine when you need it?

So, back to the Worker Bee who turned into a Kept Woman…  Somewhere along the line in my pregnancy with my first daughter, I started thinking…  What if I took a lesser role at work so I could be a rockstar mom?  I had very reasonable and flexible employers and I just knew that if I really focused and organized myself, I could probably get just as much work done in half the time.  It would be the best of both worlds: smelling my baby’s head for half the week and being a productive member of the working world the other half of the week.  I could make enough money to pay a nanny.  I could shorten my hours and take the baby over to my mother-in-law’s.  I presented a well put together maternity leave plan and part-time job description to my employers and they accepted it.  I started really looking forward to the arrival of the baby and the time we would spend together over 12 weeks of modified maternity leave.  Besides smelling the baby’s head, I was also going to learn to cook, clean out my closets and get serious about my writing.  I was brilliant!  I was going to have it all!

So you all know where this is going, right?

Having a baby is HARD.  In fact, for a while there, I seriously pondered how the world was sustaining itself.  Why were people doing this more than once?  If it were this hard for even half the people of childbearing abilities, how was the human race not in danger of dying out?

One very early morning, my husband and I lay in bed while the baby cried in the next room.  She was 6 weeks old, and I remembered thinking that this was when most women would have to go back to work, full-time.  My greatest achievement most days was getting dressed in something other than pajamas.  I was woefully behind on pretty much everything.  I was meeting NO mommy milestones.  And we were all so TIRED.  At this particular moment, we were too tired to feel the panic that came with the first 1,000 times you hear a newborn cry.  We were too tired to play the game where you act like you’re dead asleep so your partner just gives up and gets the baby.  We were too tired to open our eyes because that would mean eventually having to blink and NO ONE HAS THAT KIND OF ENERGY TO WASTE.

So after a few minutes of that, I mustered enough breath to let out a sigh, and said something to the effect of, “I’m not saying we made a mistake, but I wonder if maybe I should have kept working so we’d have enough money to pay someone who could take better care of her.”

Hear that sound?  Kind of like the air being let out of a balloon?  That’s the sound of a defeated parent.  I wish I could say that was the last time I ever felt that way, but it continues to sneak up on me a lot.  Through every stage of my children’s lives, I still get that gut punch.  That feeling of “everyone is doing a better job at this.”  That feeling of, “oh, God, what am I doing to screw this up today?”

The good news is, one of us did get up and get the baby.  I’m not saying who, because I don’t keep score, and this happened like 8 1/2 years ago, and who really cares now?  But if anyone did actually care, I would tell you exactly who it was that got up with the baby, and that lady was tired and bitter and a bit stinky.  But then she smelled that baby’s head and felt her warm little body (probably worked up from bawling her eyes out for 20 minutes) and the baby did that thing where she lays a tiny arm and curled up fist on her mom’s chest and fits right in that mushy baby belly spot and, well, everything worked out okay.

A couple of years later, we had another baby.  Yep, we did.  Somewhere along the line, all the sleepless nights broke even with the sweet cuddles and adorable first steps and words and foods and we took another crack at it.  Besides, it was going to be so easy.  We’d already done it once!  This was like taking a final exam and having all the answers.  What could be that different?  (Spoiler Alert:  The answer is EVERYTHING.  It is actually possible for EVERYTHING to be completely different and just as hard as the first time around.)

So you all know where this is going, right?  Having a baby is HARD.  Having a baby and a toddler at the same time is also hard.  I would close my eyes and shake my head when I remembered the person that thought that having just one tiny infant to take care of was so, so difficult.  What a pansy.

One day, I’m on all fours sweeping Cheerios up off the floor while having black beans dropped on my head and I start to think, SURELY, there is a reason for all this.  A reason for me to be on this planet that does not involve so much excrement and wailing.  So I did what I always do when I’m faced with a question I can’t answer.  I got a book about it.  I joined with the millions of other people who bought the book, “The Purpose-Driven Life” by Rick Warren.  It’s set up to be read over 40 days and I did just that.  Not even reading ahead to try and find out the answers quickly.  I read it aloud some nights to my husband, who usually fell asleep.  I’m not sure why it just NOW occurred to me that I could have been reading it to the children and maybe they would have gone to bed easier.  Eh.  You live and you learn.

So I get to the 40th day, and I’m so excited to find out WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?  The “Point to Ponder” on Day 40?  “Living with purpose is the only way to really live.”

What the hell?  I was reading this stupid book to find out if I should go to grad school, or try and get back in the workforce, or have another baby, and all I got was this BS statement that really only just took me back to the beginning of the book?  I GET IT that I need to live with a purpose, but what the hell IS the purpose?  Oh, I was so pissed.

But then I took a few more days and thought back over the book and some of the other “Points to Ponder.”  I leafed through and was reminded that on Day 16 the theme was, “Life is all about love.”  And I put that together with another idea I’d heard before that, in the end, all that matters is to love and be loved.  And thus became my purpose.  When I reach the Great Beyond, my Maker is not going to clap me on the shoulders and compliment me on my spreadsheet prowess or thank me for all the PTA meetings I attended.  I don’t know what He’ll say, but I hope that after the conversation is over I’ll be able to look over His shoulder at all the people I’ve loved and all who have loved me.  And then after a jam-up welcoming party, I’ll look down over my cloud at my people I’ve left behind and keep loving on them, and they’ll look up at my cloud and keep loving on me.  On the surface, it sounds easy, and a lot more New Age-y than is my norm, but really, I’ve found that this is truly the purpose for my life.  I’m still left to contemplate the day-to-day, and the 5-year plan, and the worry over achievements and lack thereof; but, on those days when the air gets let out of the balloon and I’m truly floundering I come back to this idea.  Did I love?  Did I accept the love that was given to me?  And if the answer to those questions was yes, then I am a success.  I’ve gone beyond breaking even.

Last week, through social media, I learned that an acquaintance from a brief period of my life was facing a health struggle.  More than just a struggle, it was her final battle.  I’d met this woman just a handful of times during the short time my little family lived in Nashville.  But even though it was a seemingly unmomentous friendship, she made a definite impression on me.  She was one of those rare people who exudes genuine kinship to everyone she meets.  I remember sitting at a bar with her while a mutual friend told the story of how this woman had lost her beautiful, historic home to a freak fire.  The fire was inside the walls, so there was no way to put it out.  Helpful neighbors arrived and helped them carry out as much stuff as they could, so many of her belongings were strewn across their street as they literally watched the home burn.  This, after she’d survived breast cancer.  She smiled and laughed the whole way through the story, and then made a joke about a minor inconvenience she’d recently had (and, really, isn’t everything minor after all that?) by saying, “I mean, first I have cancer, and then my house burns down, and now THIS?  REALLY?”  And I found myself, the Queen Cynic of all the Debbie Downers laughing, too and we all said, “I mean, it’s just STUFF!”

It’s only through the connectivity of Facebook that I’ve even been able to keep up with the group of people I knew in Nashville.  It was shocking to learn of Jenkins’ passing, because I didn’t even know she was sick.  And, no matter how often it happens, I think it’s always shocking to hear of a young person’s life cut short and a family left behind.  But in this case, the thing that I found most remarkable was the outpouring of love and happiness for the life of this amazing woman.  There was a candlelight vigil held outside her home just days before her death.  And even now, days later, people from all over continue to post pictures and joyful memories of times they spent with this woman who is continually described as being full of light.  She and I were blips on each other’s radar, but even so, she changed me a little bit and made part of me better.  I felt love emanate from her, in the way she lived her life and interacted with others.

Aside from being just a grade A awesome person, I think Jenkins held many accolades in a conventional sense, and I know she was intelligent and well-traveled.  On top of all that, she was well-known and universally liked.  But in the end, it seems like what it was all about was that she LOVED and IS STILL LOVED.  The bottom line.  She succeeded in fulfilling the noblest purpose on this earth.

So, here I sit, having broken even in one small aspect of this life.  I wonder how many other opportunities I will have to break even?  How many milestones and halfway marks have I already met?  How many are left to go?  How many have I missed and how many will I never even know about?

Part of life is contemplating its purpose, but a bigger part is just LIVING it with intention.  I’ve set my purpose and my intention to love and be loved.  It’s a broad, all-encompassing goal and might mean I’m basically sandbagging life.  I know I’ll continue to have days that feel like I’m having black beans dropped on my head for absolutely no good reason, but for now, I’m okay with that.

And now YOU know why the next time I see you, I may very well give you a giant hug.  Love your people and let them love you.

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Cliches, Mantras and Maxims, Oh My!

“It is a cliché that most clichés are true, but then like most clichés, that cliché is untrue.”
  Stephen Fry

I speak in clichés.  It’s a terrible habit, and one that I’d love to break, but can’t seem to.  It’s like saying “like.”  The more I try to stop it, the more I do it.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s because I have a hard time thinking of something original to say, so I just go back to all the tired phrases that are tried and true.  And almost every time I utter one of these phrases, I think about how wrong it can be.  Two wrongs don’t make a right, but let’s overanalyze some of these, shall we?

“When it rains it pours.”
Wrong.  I mean, I get the spirit of the phrase, but as someone who has lived in the rain for about 6 weeks (a.k.a. FOREVER), it doesn’t just pour.  It drizzles and it spits.  It mists and it pelts.  It comes in at you sideways and it seeps into your bones and you feel like maybe you should never, ever leave your bed.  And why shower?  It’s just an upgraded imitation of what’s going on outside that you’re desperately trying to avoid.  I’ll raise your crappy cliché with a new mantra: “Rain, rain, go away.”

Easy as pie.
Have you made a pie?  Not always easy, friend.  Unless it’s that Oreo thing that comes in a box.  That’s pretty easy.  I’m 50/50 on this one.

If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?
What?  Back up.  This is a flawed question.  I mean, how high is the bridge?  Is it over water?  How close are these friends?  Have we all be been drinking?  If so, what and how much?  I’m going to need more information here before I can answer your crappy question, MOM.

A penny saved is a penny earned. 
Pennies are worthless.  I mean, unless it was your great great grandfather who saved HIS pennies and invested them for you, in which case GOOD FOR FREAKIN’ YOU, this does not apply to the rest of us.

A penny for your thoughts.
Fantastic.  Maybe I’ll save it, along with the rest of those worthless pennies.  Or maybe I will…

Put your money where your mouth is.

I once went to a Bachelorette Party where there was a “gentleman entertainer.”  Most of us were horrifyingly embarrassed and at one point, a friend leaned over and said to me, “This is why I tell my children to never to put money in their mouths.”  Now THAT is some sound advice.

Practice makes perfect.
Or, at my house, practice makes everybody grumpy.  (“Do we haaave to gooooo??”)

Floss every day.
I’m on board with this.  I floss every day…that I have a dentist appointment.

What goes around, comes around.
What does this even mean?  Is it supposed to be if it goes away, it comes back?  Because to me, going around and coming around are kind of the same thing.  Oh, wait.  Maybe that’s it.  But I’m still confused.  So I guess it’s still something to say when I don’t know what else to say.  Is this the English version of “comme ci comme ca?”  Or another favorite, “it is what it is?”   Well, maybe this is a description of karma.  Ok, maybe I’m alright with this one.  Thanks for letting me talk it out with you.  Hey, what goes around, comes around, maybe you’ll be enlightened by something as well.

When you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.
Yes.  Another reason I can give my kids why we don’t have a dog.

Many hands make light work.
Nope.  Many hands go with lots of mouths which just ask questions like, “Why are we doing this work?  Isn’t there a better way we could be doing this work?  Shouldn’t someone else be doing this work?  Can we put it to a vote?  Do we have a quorum?  Who’s in charge?  How do I file a complaint?”  Geez.  All I wanted to do was stuff some envelopes and now it’s turned into an initiative to only use mailing supplies made from paper harvested from a sustainable grower and maybe this should all be online, but some people choose not to have an email address and we can’t make them feel excluded because that’s not fair and OH MY WORD.  Less hands, less talking.  Thank you.

Another day, another dollar.
We should put this guy with the penny guy and see who comes out ahead.

You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Well, I don’t know about flies, but I do know about ants, and those little boogers are hard to get rid of.  I say keep your honey AND your vinegar in a cabinet with the tops securely fastened.

Why put off until tomorrow what you might get done today?
Because what would I do tomorrow?  Duh.

To make a long story short…
Ridiculous.  Obviously no one knows what this means, because every long story starts with this phrase.  Sometimes I don’t even mind a long story, but don’t try and sell me on it by calling it short.  It always starts out with “To make a long story short,” and then “Well, let me start at the beginning,” and then 2 hours later it ends with something ridiculous like, “Then I basically ended up in the desert with nothing but a bag of grapes!”  Oh, I’m sorry, I was thinking about my Netflix queue.  Can you go back to that part about the GPS saying “Recalculating?”

Well I guess I’m going to keep calm and put on my rain boots and look for the silver lining in this rainy day.  Because YOLO and I just wanna dance like no one’s watching.  Live, laugh, love, y’all.

Week Old Toast

“This is true love! You think this happens every day?” Cary Elwes as Westley in the Princess Bride

It has been a week since my sister’s wedding, and I think my mother and I have fallen into the Post Wedding Slump, that period of time that follows every huge event that takes great planning over a long period of time. Past the point of picking up the pieces of all the tasks that got neglected while you were celebrating. Getting back to eating salads and bran cereal instead of stuffing our faces with beef tenderloin and cake and wine. We’re looking around; wondering, where is the macaroni and cheese bar? Why am I wearing these yoga pants instead of a hot little number? Are there no presents to open today? And while it’s nice to not be thinking of headcounts and outfit changes and the general business of making memories that last a lifetime, there is a bit of a feeling of “Well, what do we do now?”

That’s a rhetorical question. Because the answer is “laundry.” The answer is ALWAYS “laundry.”

I had the distinct pleasure of serving as Matron of Honor for my sister. I don’t like to emphasize the age gap between us, so let’s not actually count the years but just say that, between the two of us, I have a few more years experience in being a human. I’ve also lived in my own wedded bliss for almost 15 years now, and saw most of my friends married off in the early 2000’s. Suffice it to say I’ve been out of the wedding game for quite some time. For most of the wedding season, I fumbled through my duties as Matron Sister Lady and tried to remember the right things to do, to give, to advise, and when to shut the hell up. I think I did ok.

Then we got right up to the end.   It was go time, a week before the wedding, when I realized I had no heartfelt, sentimental gift for the sweet sister who had been by my side for so much LIFE. No handmade trinket, no time-filled scrapbook, no catalog of memories of any kind. I was a crappy Matron Sister Lady. Add this to the fact that the days leading up to the wedding seemed so full of other demanding tasks. What the hell? Didn’t the rest of the world understand that I had more meaningful things to do? How dare there be regularly scheduled after school activities and projects and LAUNDRY during the week of my baby sister’s wedding. THE NERVE. Anyhoo, the day was perched on top of us. It was rehearsal dinner time, and I had this vague recollection of rehearsal dinners I’d been to before, and how there was usually a time for Toasts to the Bride and Groom. I remembered from my early days as a wedding party participant when I and a couple of other tipsy bridesmaids would venture to the front of the room with a few silly inside jokes, some jabs at the groom and a sentimental poem that would make us all misty. Then we would raise our glasses and dab our mascara and make plans for where to go next to ensure we would be bumbling hungover zombies the next day. But the formula that made it all work 15 years ago didn’t seem to apply now. I wasn’t even sure if my future brother-in-law’s family would have a spot for toasts in their dinner. It kind of didn’t seem like it, and I kind of didn’t want to ask, because ignorance is bliss. As it turned out, the day was so busy I couldn’t have prepared anything in advance if I’d wanted to. I walked into the rehearsal, and my sister’s B-I-G weekend completely unprepared. As we sat at the dinner, I overheard my husband tell someone he’d spoken with Broseph’s dad, who was “a little nervous about the toast.” My stomach dropped to my knees. So there would be toasts. And I had nothing. Soon, everyone would know I was a crappy Matron Sister Lady.

Well, they didn’t do toasts that night, thankfully. So, I did what I do best, which is ignore the task at hand, put something together at the very last minute and then completely overthink what I’ve done.

Seester has been honeymooning in paradise all week, leaving us to the rain and weird Fall weather of the Carolinas, and hopefully she hasn’t been checking in on social media too much. (Hey, Seester, you haven’t missed a THING, I promise).   So, maybe when she gets home and sees this somewhere in her virtual mailbag, she can pretend the wedding fanfare is still upon us and we can all raise a glass of detox juice together in celebration of Seester and Broseph.

Here is my Week-Old Toast.

Hi, everyone. Most of you probably already know this, but I’m Seester’s older sister. We are so happy to see every one of your faces here tonight, and for the love that you’ve shown Seester and Broseph. It’s because of the love that you have for them that they’ll continue to love each other for many, many years to come. When I sat down to prepare this toast to them, I was in a bit of a panic, because I’d waited until the last minute. But then it hit me that I actually had NOT waited until the last minute. I’ve been writing this toast all of Seester’s life, recording all her stories, because they are also my own. Aside from my own children, Seester is one of the few people on this Earth who has known me her entire life, and yet she chooses to still keep me close to her. For that I am eternally grateful.

One of the advantages to being the older one in a set of siblings with a wide age gap is that I have distinct memories of when Seester came into my life. While she does not know a life without me, I can vividly remember the day she came howling into mine. That morning, our mom took me to school and said, ‘Now, today might be the day that the baby comes, so if I’m not the one picking you up from school, you’ll know why.’ Since I’d been told several times over several months that it takes a long time for a baby to arrive, and stop asking about when the baby is going to get here, there was no way I was going to be tricked by this line.   AS IF the baby was just going to come TODAY. Just like that! Riiiiight. Little did I know that my mother was laboring at that moment, and before I got my school lunch that morning, she’d be holding a bundle of joy whose birth she got to experience au naturel (not by choice). That afternoon, my dad picked me up from school in his clunker of an old Ford, a fixer-upper project that somehow never got fixed up. He bypassed the ENTIRE carline, leaned over to crank down the window and yelled, ‘Get in! We had the baby today!’ The level of mortification I experienced was off the charts. I mean, this was carline. You can’t just JUMP to the front! There are rules, man! But since the ground was not going to swallow me up anytime soon, I did a Frogger-like maneuver in front of all the other cars in line and we zoomed off to the hospital to see our new baby.

Seester was a beautiful baby. So sweet. And I really wish I could say she was that way all the time. But that would be a lie, because she actually wasn’t sweet all the time. She cried a lot. I mean, a lot. And really loudly, too. But my mom bore the brunt of that struggle (thanks, Mom) and the rest of us got to enjoy Seester’s beautiful smile, her precious curls and warm, sweet snuggles. One of my favorite things to do was to watch her sleep and smell her head. I made up a game where I would pretend that I was a tour guide, bringing a group of people through our house to look at her because she was the prettiest baby ever.

But yeah, the crying. Wow. If Karma is really a thing, good luck with those babies one day.

As I said before, as sisters, our histories are completely entwined. I can stand here for days and tell story upon story about Seester. Some that are happy, some that are sad and some that are super embarrassing for a lot of people in this room.

Whenever we would fight or be petty with one another, our mom would get exasperated and sometimes say (yell), “Be nice to your sister! She’s the only one you’ve got! Having a sister is a very special thing.” It didn’t seem special at the time. It seemed like a giant pain in the butt. Looking back at it now, I think that maybe Mom was a little jealous. The youngest of four, with the older three all being brothers, she never had a sister and didn’t have the chance to force someone else to always be the Ken to her Barbie.

But for all the different types of stories, one thread weaves through them all. Seester is, hands-down, the most loyal and loving person I know. The type of love she gives is so rare and precious, it humbles me to try and put it into words. This girl, well, woman, really, has seen me at my worst and she continues to love me in spite of it. When she bestows her love on someone it is fierce, and it never seems to run out. Her well of love is deep and continually full.  I know that there is nothing I can do that will make her turn away from me. I know that I have her full support in all my endeavors. I know that when I try to be funny, she will laugh. What a comfort to know that there is someone in this world that understands where I come from, literally and figuratively.  Broseph, you are a lucky man to be the recipient of a love like this.  Please treasure it and guard her heart as closely as you can.  Your reward will be immeasurable, I assure you.

For all that I can say about Seester, today is actually not about her. The dress, the cake, the flowers, all those things that she has spent the last year of her life working on and perfecting are here to celebrate something new. A marriage! A union!  After tomorrow, there is no longer just a Seester and just a Broseph. There is something new: a SEESTERANDBROSEPH. Two threads, woven together to create a new, stronger rope that the world will constantly pull and tangle and knot and try to unravel.

From the moment our family met Broseph, we knew that he was special to Seester. And for that reason alone, he was special to us. As time went on and we got to know him better, we saw many of the wonderful qualities that drew him to Seester. And so, when Broseph proposed, exactly a year ago, we were pleased and excited to welcome him to be part of the cast of characters that we call our family.

Back in the old days, it was customary for a family to offer a dowry to the family of the man marrying their daughter. A goat, maybe. A plot of land on which to build a house. Something practical like that.   But I can’t imagine a better prize to offer a suitor than Seester herself. She is her own dowry. She is the very best of what we have to give.

Seester, do you hear what I’m saying here? YOU ARE A BETTER GIFT THAN ANY GOAT.

Broseph, do you hear what I’m saying here? Marrying my sister is the best thing that may ever happen to you. DON’T MAKE ME GET ALL MEDIEVAL ON YOU.

I don’t want to rely on my own words completely here. Over the history of the world, many, many people have fallen in love and gotten married and lots of them had a bunch of stuff to say about the whole experience. Most of us are probably familiar with the great American author Mark Twain. Fewer of us know about his wife Olivia (aka Livy). Like most wives of her time, and even our current time, Livy was always hard at work supporting her husband, but taking no credit for herself. She was his main editor and the driving force behind cultivating his public image. By most accounts he was completely smitten with her from the start and he loved her intensely through their 34 years of marriage. He traveled often and was away from her for much of their marriage, sparking rumors, but he was quoted as saying, ‘Wheresoever she was, there was Eden.’ (SWOON) During their courtship and after, they wrote letters to each other. This is an excerpt from one of Mark’s letters to Livy, before they were married:

“This…will be the mightiest day in the history of our lives, the holiest, and the most generous toward us both—for it makes of two fractional lives a whole; it gives to two purposeless lives a work, and doubles the strength of each whereby to perform it; it gives to two questioning natures a reason for living and something to live for; it will give a new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth, a new mystery to life; and Livy it will give a new revelation to love, a new depth to sorrow, a new impulse to worship. In that day the scales will fall from our eyes and we shall look upon a new world. Speed it!”

 Damn. Just when you think you have something profound to say, a Great American novelist comes along and just knocks it out of the park. Perfection, Mr. Twain/Clemens, whatever your name is.

And so here we are. The Big Day. Go Time. T-minus Zero. Two becomes one, to have and to hold and ‘til death to you part.

And here’s what I have to say about that:

“Speed it.”

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