Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One Year, Three Months (and 10 days) Ago: What I Remember.

I woke up in the hotel room before anyone else; Mom, Dad, and Maddie were still fast asleep. I was strangely calm considering that activities that the day held. I quietly retrieved my face wash from the shower and stood at the sink peering at my reflection in the mirror.

"I don't look any different, " I thought to myself.

And I didn't. I looked like the same 19 year old girl who went to bed last night in a small hotel in Salt Lake City. Several minutes passed before there was a knock on the door. It was Heather, my hairdresser, looking beautiful and alert despite the early hour. We crossed the hall to my Aunt Darla's hotel room and I sat quietly in a chair in front of the mirror as Heather started to curl and pin my hair into the beautiful design we had practiced only weeks earlier. She asked me questions about my excitement and nervousness, but I don't remember my responses. I remember having a very clear mind and not thinking much of anything. Maybe it was too much to comprehend that early in the morning.

Slowly, everyone else in the three hotel rooms that my family occupied started to wake up. At some point my dad went downstairs into the lobby to buy me breakfast since the Shiloh Inn didn't offer a free continental one. I don't remember what the Styrofoam container consisted of when he brought it back upstairs because I didn't eat any of it. My stomach was already full. Of butterflies I suppose.

Finally Heather finished my hair and it looked perfect, better than it did the day we practiced. It was exactly what I wanted. Then Aunt Darla got to work on my face. Not long after she started my make up, Chris got to the hotel. Maybe he was anxious because he was surprisingly early. But he waited very patiently because I wasn't good for much conversation. That darn clear head of mine didn't seem to come up with anything to say.

Chris and I drove to the temple together, our last few moments as truly separate people. I don't remember what we talked about. That is until Chris realized that he didn't have his temple reccomend (a card that says he is worthy to enter the temple). After a little bit of panic he realized that it was in the pocket of his suit coat which he had lent to his cousin to wear for the day. A couple frantic phone calls resulted in success...we just had to wait for his dad to bring it to him. We sat at the front of the temple on a bench watching our wedding guests file in as we waited for Chris' temple reccomend.

Finally I made it back into the bride's room where I changed for the ceremony. Remember that calm feeling I was talking about earlier? Yeah well that left as I changed into that beautiful white dress. As I checked my bag that I packed that night before I realized that Chris' ring box that I thought I grabbed was in actuality a pearl necklace and earrings that a friend of mine had given me. Panic mode set in...big time. In fact as I am writing this my stomach is filling with anxiety just remembering.

" I don't have his ring, I forgot it, we have to go get it, someone has to bring it, we have to go NOW!"

I was talking so fast I'm not sure if my mom could understand what I was saying. However, thankfully the temple ceremony doesn't have a big focus on exchanging rings and she assured me that it wouldn't matter if we didn't do it.

The second my mom left me (for whatever reason) I hit panic mode, again. I was pacing the bride's room, and I had the worst case of cotton mouth ever. I kept drinking water and going to the bathroom and pacing. Nothing in the entire world could have forced me to sit still for any length of time. I wasn't scared about getting married as much as I was just in disbelief. I was amazed, dumbfounded. In only minutes I was going to become a Mrs.

My Mom was alarmed when she came back and found me practically running laps around the bride's room. Her attempts to calm me down were to no avail. But there was nothing else to be done, it was time to go meet up with Chris. When I saw him I was momentarily relaxed.

"Oh Yeah," I thought as I sighed a breath of relief, "he is why I'm doing this."

I explained to him the ring fiasco and his laid back self couldn't care less. He was just happy to see me. But he still insisted that he put my ring on me even though I didn't have one for him. We didn't buy a wedding band yet so I reluctantly handed over my engagement ring, feeling partially naked.

My anxious feelings immediately returned when we ushered into a room where we talked with Chris' grandfather who was going to seal us during the ceremony.  It was all I could do to answer yes or no to his questions without crying. Thinking back, I have no idea why I was on the verge of tears. I don't remember feeling at all sad or scared. I guess I was just anxious or something. Although that feeling has not caused tears since.

To be honest, I don't really remember much of the ceremony. I remember holding Chris' hands and smiling so hard I thought I was going to explode. I was no longer anxious, no longer...whatever feeling had been consuming me. I was simply and purely, happy. Several times Chris and I were smiling so hard that we almost burst out into a fit of giggles. It was unreal. We were getting married.

The time came for him to slide the ring onto my finger and it didn't even matter that it was one sided. We were married, and that is all that mattered.

The whole morning was surreal. We left the temple together to see our family lined up, waiting to see us. We were hand in hand, husband and wife.

There was Megan, Mallory, Alena and Cameryn. The last time I saw them all was the night before at my bachelorette party and now I was a married woman.

Regretfully Darla, Maddie, Savannah and Sierra were running late because they had the task of picking up the flowers and bringing the forgotten ring. So they didn't make it for the big group shot.
But they were all there in time to take our bridesmaid/ flower girl picture. (From left to right, top to bottom: Mallory, Maddie, Megan, Cameryn, Me, Alena, Alyna, Sierra, Savannah.)

This was my 'hiding the fact that Chris didn't have his ring yet' picture

I was really having a blast taking pictures. It was my own personal photo shoot, finally. (Personal including my husband...obviously.)

We finally got his ring!!!

 He was very happy about it.
Now that we're married it's about time he sees my true crazy side.

Wanna know what caused me to laugh so hard? Chris informed me that he could see right down my dress...

My parents rented a car to drive us to the reception/luncheon. (because of money and time we decided to just do a big luncheon rather than a full on reception.) As we were sitting in the back of whatever that car was I remember that it felt like seeing the world through new eyes. I had ridden up and down this street several times. But this time was different.

The luncheon was absolutely beautiful, just as I had planned it. The food was delicious and we actually had a chance to sit down and eat it.Chris and I were sitting at a table at the front of the room with  my parents and his parents. All my friends were sitting at a table just to the left of us. Every once in a while I could hear them say my name, then I realized my older friends, Mallory and Megan (older as in friends for a long time) were telling my newer friends awesome "Jocelyn Stories". I was jealous I didn't get to sit with them and laugh and joke around. 

Christopher's dad gave a beautiful speech/toast. I remember him specifically talking about an older couple in their ward (church)  and the husband was sick. He asked the wife how she was doing and she said, "I'm not sure. Sometimes I can't tell if my pain is mine or my husbands..." I always remember this when either Chris or me are in some sort of pain. I hope that we can become one as that couple had. Chris' mom sang a beautiful song for us. She has such an incredible voice.

My cake. Was perfect.
I am kind of a cake fanatic. I am crazy obsessed with cake! I love it! [Sidebar: I one time got my mom to drive me to the grocery store (before I was old enough to drive) So that I could buy myself one of those pre-made birthday cakes. I even bought a thing of plastic forks so I could eat it on the way home.]
I had been really turned off by fondant but the woman who made my cake ordered some special foreign fondant that was actually good.The top and bottom layers of the cake were vanilla and the middle layer was chocolate. There was a incredibly delicious caramel frosting that the cake maker had invented that was in between the cake and the fondant.  Long story short that cake was the best cake I have ever eaten and I am craving some right now.

I can't resist a good cake in the face opportunity...

I'm pretty sure he wasn't planning to push it into my face until a clobbered him.

We had the traditional bouquet throw and garter toss. Neither of the people who caught them are married yet but someone who didn't catch it is obviously those things aren't legit. I hadn't been wearing my garter all day and at some point my cousin Sierra came up to me, in front of a group of people I might add, and handed it to me. Lovely. Way to be discreet. 

Unfortunately there was no dancing at our luncheon. And I love to dance. So Chris and I went out to the back before taking some more family pictures and danced to the music in our heads.

After about a million pictures we were practically kicked out of the reception hall so the staff could get ready for the reception that was starting soon. As much as Chris and I would have loved to have headed to our hotel at that point...we had another sort of reception get together to go to.

Since I really wanted close family and friends at our luncheon, there were some friends of Chris' parents who didn't get invited. So to remedy that Chris' parents had a little get together for us in the church building of Chris' Aunt's church. It was nice to meet some of Chris' family and actually get the chance to talk to them whereas at the luncheon there were too many people to have a real conversation with anyone. Plus I got to do the classic 'have someone hold my dress while I pee' as shown in 27 dresses.

Finally, (and I do mean FINALLY) we were excused to leave and we drove to our super cute hotel at anniversary inn. We chose the Swiss Family Robinson Room:

Yeah. That's our bed in a tree.

I believe this is the point where the cute little animated birds fly across the screen with a sign in their beak that says " They lived happily ever after....The End."

There were several things that I regret about my wedding. I didn't have dancing, I didn't get my daddy/daughter dance, no one decorated my car, I didn't get to go on a honeymoon. But all in all I got married to the most wonderful man on the planet and that's what the whole day was about anyway...none of that superficial stuff. It was really a day to celebrate joining two lives into one, and that is exactly what we did. So when you think about it, there is not much for me to regret...not really. On the plus side, I did get to celebrate my wedding two more times (one in Georgia in August and one in Colorado in September) at open houses where each of us grew up. Honestly how many brides can say they wore their wedding dress at two different events? I can!

I'm not that 19 year old girl anymore. For one thing I'm 20 now. But being married for one year (three months and 10 days) has taught me a lot about...well...just about everything. While that may not seem like a very long time, to me it feels like we've just always been together. It just feels so natural.

The End.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Years to Come

This past weekend Chris and I met up with some of my extended family in California. After spending two very full days at DisneyLand we had what my mom referred to as,
The Heritage Tour
Although most of my mom's family has moved away from her hometown in Torrance, California there are still some places very near and dear to her heart that she wanted to share with me and my younger sister.

All Aboard the Heritage Tour...First Stop: Mom's Home Ward

On Sunday we went to the church my mom attended while she was growing up. Surprisingly there were still a few people there who had known her as a young girl. I got to meet her Beehive adviser (her Sunday School teacher when she was 12 years old)! I know we all know our parents used to be young at one point in time, but to meet someone (other than a relative) who knew her when she was that young was incredible. I don't even remember who my beehive adviser was and I'm sure she doesn't remember me. My mom was able to walk up to this woman who recognized her and remembered her as a trouble making twelve year old ( mother...a trouble maker. ha.)  and they could reminisce. Although they were not blood relatives they knew each other like a family. I've enjoyed moving my whole life, and sometimes it was fun when our ward split and we got to meet new people, but looking on the relationships my mom has created with people who know her family and their history, I kind of wish I had that in my life. 

My mom's old college roommate showed up as a surprise...they also grew up together. I loved listening to her talk to my Grandma about when she was a kid. She said how she felt like my Grandma was a second mother to her, when people came to her house they became one of the family. She remembered how my Grandma's house was always full of kids, besides her own 5, and if the kids were doing chores you did chores. If you stayed for dinner you cleaned your dish like everyone else. If you were there, you were immediately accepted as one of the kids. It's things like that, that my Grandma will be blessed for. It's an example I hope to follow when I have children of my own. 

I heard fun stories about my mom as a kid and even found out that she too had mono when she was a teenager...twice! Just like me! I suppose she must have just forgotten about that when I was sick. Or she didn't want to admit that she knew who she got mono from (I know I was slow to admit it). As much fun as it was to sit in the church building and watch my mom talk to people, I got bored and, I'm embarrassed to admit it, became a bit of a brat. hehe.

After I FINALLY ushered my mom out of the church building and into the car we moved on

Next Stop on the Heritage Tour: The Cemetery.

This stop was a less happy one and more of a thoughtful one. In this cemetery one of my family members bought a plot of land some time ago. Now that land holds my great grandparents, my mom's sister, Donna, my Grandpa Wood, my mom's cousin's husband, as well as my great Uncle. I hadn't been there in a long time and neither had a lot of my family since they had moved out of the area. It was disheartening to see the graves in such disrepair. They were in desperate need of an edger and a sponge. Thankfully my mom found a pair of scissors, a bottle of water and some paper towels in the car (Just call her Macgyver) and we were able to use them to tidy up the graves a little bit. 

It was strange to see my Grandma, my Great Aunt and my mom's cousin's name on a tombstone despite the fact that they are still alive. They will share a tombstone and grave site with their husbands, all of whom have passed away. So the tombstones have all been created and have everything except the wives death date. The whole thought is kind of romantic if you ask me.

Third Stop: Aunt Leola's House

My Great Aunt Leola is the surviving matriarch of the Wood Family. Her brother was my grandfather and she is the oldest sibling still alive (She's 82 and healthy as can be). Her house was beautiful. Covered in pictures of family members extending to all parts of the family tree. She was happy to talk about her recent cruise with her sister.

I just loved watching Aunt Leola and my grandmother talk. These two women who knew each other when they were young and became apart of each other's family, now both widows and yet they continue this wonderful friendship. I couldn't help but picture myself in their shoes: Living in the same house I raised my children in, alone, and still able to talk about life and everything that has changed in the area over the past 30 years or so. As much as I hope I will not be alive without my husband, I could see myself sitting next to my sister in law, both our children grown with families of their own and the two of us just left. I don't want to get old...but that wasn't such a bad picture.

Last Stop: Mom's Childhood Home

The last stop we made was more of a slow drive by and less of a stop. My Grandmother lived in that house in Torrance from the time my mom was 2 until just several years ago (time reference: my mom is about 5 decades older than 2 now). I had been to the house a lot when I was younger but now it didn't look so familiar. I vaguely  remembered pictures that were taken on the front porch or in the driveway but i couldn't remember having been there myself. Maybe if we had seen the inside of the house it would have been different. But for my mom I'm sure she remembered a million memories and then some about that house. From the time she was a little girl and walking to church or school or the grocery store, to when she was older and coming back to visit from college, to when she was married and coming back to visit with her husband, to even older when she came back to visit with her kids. And now here we were, just glancing at the house from the windows of the van. And after all those memories flowed through her head, the one she decided to share with us was when the neighborhood boys put a black tarp in a tree down the street and convinced her it was a witch. It apparently took A LOT of convincing to assure her that there was no witch in that tree.

Watching my mom look back on her life has made me think about what mine will be. I'm only 20 now. I've only been married for a little over a year. But someday, one day, I will settle down in a house somewhere with my husband and we will have children and those children will grow up in that house and they will have memories about their own witch in the tree. Right now this seems like a long time from where I am. But I have noticed that time really does move fast. Even faster when you're enjoying your life. So all these years to come will come before I even know it. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Morning and Night

Dance of the Trees

I woke up this morning to watch the trees dance
Each one moving to the bass in the sky.
I watched as they shook their leaves in excitement;
Some drooped their branches and appeared to cry.

With arms outstretched they swayed back and forth,
They reached out to the tree by their side
And in perfect time the trees switched direction
Each leaf along for the ride.

They filled up the sky with they're glowing shades of green,
Yet their roots remained stationed below
Each danced to the song blowing through their leaves
And moved where the wind let them go.

Soon the birds joined in, their arrows in the sky
The trees swirled around them just right.
The clouds hung low to watch every move,
The performance was done in low light.

I close my eyes and feel their movements in the wind
I'm jealous; I can't help it.
They have the whole sky, to dance as they wish
And yet here on my bed, I sit.

As I get up to leave, they all wave goodbye
They thank me for watching their show.
But it's not nearly over, it will go on all day
Just as long as the wind will blow.

I woke up this morning to watch the trees dance
As it is quite the norm
It comes with the thunder, the wind, and the rain.
Oh how I love a good thunderstorm.

Can I Keep Just One Star, Please?

Millions and millions litter the sky
The light shines down overwhelming.
I can't help but stare as one flies by
and A Wish is released to them all.

Can I please keep you little star, just tonight
So full of life and exciting.
I need you small star to bring in the light.
The lost are confused down below.

We'll dance and we'll sing little star, only us
Without the to-dos of our life
And we won't let morning come in without fuss
For tonight you and I are alive.

We'll make mischief and cookies and raspberry pie
Our obligations will be strictly to sweets.
We can be loud and facetious and do whatever we try
For tonight you and I are alive.

So what do you say my little star, small and sweet,
Can I keep you please just for tonight?
For what morning brings is a terrible feat
But tonight you and I are alive.