Our wedding was three years ago today. I jokingly said to my mother "It's hard to say if things have gotten better in those three years, or way worse."

Except, like many jokes, it's not really a joke.

When I first got our amazing wedding photos I had trouble looking through them.

Instead of seeing pictures, I saw memories. I remembered crying for hours the night before the wedding, sure Dan was making a colossal mistake in marrying someone his daughter hated so much. I remembered his ex-wife calling and yelling at him for an hour the first day of our honeymoon and wondered why the hell I had willingly signed on for this much animosity... for the rest of my life. The wedding itself, a ceremony promising union, felt like the biggest possible farce.

Hard to believe you could not find perfection against this backdrop.

Fast forward three years. Life is still uncertain, although I cry much less these days. Miss L no longer radiates hatred from her being if I walk into the room. And although Dan's ex-wife remains an obstacle to the future we want more often than not, we are learning how not to give in to terrorist demands.

We married in the eye of a hurricane but the storm is finally passing. Clouds are breaking; blue skies appearing.

Maybe the wedding felt false because I thought it should be the beginning of happily ever after and ours felt like the furthest thing from.

A wedding is a beginning, period.

On our wedding day, Dan and I joined hands and committed to a life together, and that's exactly what we're doing. It's not the perfect life. It never is, not for anyone. We're just living life, and living it together.

Over rough roads and smooth.

Doesn't get much more authentic or more celebratory than that.


Exercising your patience muscle

Last night I was freaking out about housing after the move. 

I'm self-employed, so getting a loan for a place in CO will be tricky. My current writing gig might become part-time rather than on a contract basis, so I might start getting real paychecks. Might. Sometime in the next month.

But maybe not.

Or I might nanny for my sister. Might. And I'd have real paychecks then too, but that won't be till September. 

In between now and September, there's nothing but limbo. We know when we want to leave, we just don't have a place to land. We need a place to land because A) I don't want to spend another summer in godforsaken Las Vegas and B) Miss G starts school mid-August.

When I think about the logistics of this move, it all seems impossible. And while I do have faith that everything will work out somehow or other eventually, that is not good enough. I want it to work out now so I don't have to worry about it anymore.

Dan, in his exasperating, optimistic way, says "Well honey... Just think of this as a good time to exercise your patience muscle."

Luckily for him, my patience muscle has developed enough that I didn't punch him for that statement. 

(Actually, he makes me laugh. I can't explain it.)

The thing is, though, Dan is right. You do actually have to exercise your patience muscle to make it stronger. Believing things will come to fruition, that makes my faith muscle stronger. And writing all the time, I feel my imagination muscle has gotten stronger too. Also, my idea muscle.

You never know all the ways your life will develop, internally or externally. It's a pretty fun ride. 

If your patience muscle is strong enough to hold the course.


Reinventing yourself

One of my favorite people and best friends was born today. In honor of her birthday, I'd like to tell a story about her. However, since I haven't asked her permission to do this, we'll just make up a name for her. Let's call her Lola.

My friend Lola is awesome. Sometimes I wish I could write stories about her, because everyone should experience her in some way or other. I've tried, but she can't be captured. She's hilarious, but that kind of hilarious where it isn't what she says that's funny, but the delivery; you can never really bottle it and share it with other people to explain how fantastic she is.

In spite of Lola being a total blast, she is unbelievably unlucky in love. I don't know if she was born under the wrong sign or what, but her love life is and has always been a complete disaster. One time, she moved across the country with this guy who, shortly after their arrival, just left her there. I can't imagine that, left in a strange place, knowing no one.

It's happened to her two or three times.

Lola's a fighter though, and she always comes back swinging.

She got married at 18, and they split up four months after the wedding. They stayed married for years though, while living utterly separate lives, convinced they were soul mates and would eventually end up together. No matter how crazy it sounded, we all knew they would too.

She was devastated when he died in a tragic accident. We all were.

Lola always swore she'd never marry again. She wears a huge butterfly ring on her wedding finger to ward marriage off. I bought her the first version of that ring, though it eventually disintegrated and has been replaced several times by new butterflies.

Then she met this guy. He was fantastic. She said, "You know how I always say I'd never get married again?  Well, I think maybe I could. Maybe with this guy. Maybe." She was hesitant; he was persistent. They dated for years, and he finally proposed. We were all staggered when she said yes. The butterfly was replaced by a diamond. Their wedding was gorgeous.

A few months later, he left one night and never came back. Turned out he was a bipolar alcoholic who went off his meds and onto a bender. After three weeks with no word, she changed the locks. When she heard from him next, he was crazy and threatening. He refused meds, refused counseling, and refused to come home. After several months, she filed for a divorce. The hearing was conducted in his absence.

Included with the paperwork, she added a petition to change her name.

The judge said, "I see here you'd like to change your name back to your maiden name."
Lola said, "Umm... Not exactly, Your Honor."
The judge asked her to clarify.

Lola said, "Your Honor, I don't want my current husband's last name because we're not married anymore. But my maiden name, the last name I had prior to this, was my late husband's name; I don't want it back. That name has too many sad memories for me. The name I was born with was my father's name, and I don't want anything to do with him either. I just want a fresh start, Your Honor. With a new name that's just my own."

The judge granted her request.

I love you, Lola. A million, million. You think you just roll with the punches, but really you're a badass.

Happy birthday.