Old blue eyes croon/swoon
Luck be a lady tonight:
Be mine, forever.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
I have never wanted bridesmaids. Even as a child, it seemed like a not very nice thing to do to people who are supposedly your best friends.
And then I grew up and had it affirmed approximately 27 times that it is not a very nice thing to do to people who are supposedly your best friends. It's expensive and time consuming. It is often humiliating. [Cue the bridesmaids' luncheon I attended where the mother of the bride described my hair as a frizzy perm (because it was August!) and accused me of having collagen lip implants (false).] It requires you to get on stage in a costume you probably aren't comfortable with and recite lines you haven't memorized, wearing stage makeup that sometimes you've had to pay for yourself.
But, in one of our first compromises, Beau said I needed a bridesmaid. He said it would look dumb for us to stand up there by ourselves, and it made sense to have someone to hold our rings and the flowers... and he's right.
So then I had to choose a person. This gave me a lot of anxiety, because I have a lot of beautiful, talented, supportive women in my life who love me really, really well... and choosing one of them wouldn't be fair to any of them.
Case in point: I have 16 other females getting their hair and/or makeup done with me the morning of my wedding.
I don't have a sister. I don't have a best friend from third grade, although the two best friends I had in third grade are still my friends, and one of them will be present. My college roommate/sorority little sister is swamped with a career and family in another time zone; she's never met Beau.
But I do have a female cousin with whom I have always been close, so she was a natural choice. Carolyn lived in Austin while I did, and we saw each other frequently. I have traveled internationally with her. We have each spent time with every idiot the other has dated, going back 20 years. I gave a great toast at her wedding and then shared the honeymoon suite with her the night before her wedding. I have had more slumber parties with her than any other female.
When I called to tell her I was engaged, she was already happy crying when she answered the phone. When I asked if she'd be our best maid, she screamed "of course!!!!!"
One of the most commonly asked questions I get is, "How many girls do you have?"
I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about my girls, the day after several of them threw me a bridal shower.
Brooke is my oldest (longest) friend in the bunch. We both attended Wake Forest but didn't meet until after graduation, when we were both being 23-year-old idiots in Washington, DC. We were making no money and spent a lot of Friday nights consuming pizza and two buck chuck on her couch. This worked out really well, because both of us like mushroom pizza and cheap wine; we would rather have been with each other than the ridiculous men the greater DC area offered as dates. One night, she programmed herself into my phone as "hotilishous." That's what her contact name remains. Her husband described me as the person Brooke would call if she needed to hide a body. Totally accurate, and it goes both ways. She arrives in New Orleans on her birthday, four days in advance of the wedding to help out wherever she can. She's throwing a luncheon for me on the Friday before we get married (you know, what would be the traditional bridesmaids' luncheon) and has been an absolute joy to vent to, because we have essentially the same sense of humor/sarcasm.
Brittany is my newest (and youngest!) friend in the bunch. She is my current work wife, as we see each other nearly every day for work and, if not, then for coffee. She got married in the French Quarter in August 2015 and has been an invaluable asset to me as I navigate the logistics of getting married in New Orleans. She's also very fashionable and opinionated, which helps when making nearly any decision.
Joy is my previous work wife. She is the Executive Director of CASA New Orleans, and I was the Executive Director of CASA Jefferson. We didn't know each other before I started working there, but we immediately liked each other and had standing meetings every other Thursday afternoon. She helped me write our major funding grant not quite three months into my position while her husband literally nursed Beau, who had just gotten out of the hospital with six broken ribs and two broken bones in his hand. Yes: I had *just* met these people, and they were in my home helping me through one of the most difficult times in my career/life. And, afterwards, they took home a load of our laundry to clean! There has never been a time when I have needed Joy that she hasn't made time for me; she often shows up often before I even ask for her help, usually with booze or flowers or both.
Julia has seen it all. I thought about this yesterday as I stood at her kitchen island, where I have stood 100 times before celebrating 100 different things, big and small. One of the first times was when she was distracting me with cheese and wine while my ex-boyfriend moved his stuff out of my house. Then she kept making me come over, even though the last thing I wanted was food or company, for the next couple of months. Her parents have included me in their Thanksgivings and birthdays. When my mother asked me if I had put together a vetting committee for my next boyfriend, I nominated Julia as President. She is judgmental but fiercely loyal. I've visited three time zones with her; we've shared clothes and more bottles of wine than anyone need count. She told me she couldn't let me get married without a shower, so she galvanized my other New Orleans' girls and hosted 20 women, many of them strangers, in her home. That's who she is: a generous host, a rallying cry, a champion for the people she loves.
Maggie and I met in the all-girls dance troupe we were both members of. Both of us have chosen terrible men as partners (although *fingers crossed* that phase of our lives is over!); both of us have experienced similar professional challenges; both of us love to travel, learn, adventure; both of us practice yoga and spend a lot of time self-reflecting; both of us feel a lot of guilt for being so far from our families, but both of us have parents who visit often. When Beau and I talked about someone to read at our wedding, we wanted someone who believed in the same kind of God that we do. Maggie was the immediate choice. She loves her neighbors in ways the rest of us should strive towards.
Meredith was my grad assistant at Tulane, and then we learned we were both in the same sorority alumnae group, and then we learned that we were both in the Junior League, and then we learned that my best maid was her best friend in elementary school. Obviously, the universe meant for us to be friends. (She has also worked for me in two capacities since Tulane.) She is one of those people who says yes to everything and somehow manages to diminish none of it. She uses her talent to improve her community, of which I am blessed to be a small part. She excels in making everything feel like a celebration, proving that every day is a holiday. She defines commitment, and I am grateful to be one of hers.
They are all strong, smart, amazing women. They have all held integral behind the scenes roles in creating the woman I am today, supporting my relationship with Beau, and this wedding. I couldn't be more excited for them all to meet, to celebrate with them, to laugh too hard.
May they, and the world, always know how special they are to me.
Friday, November 18, 2016
Settle in, reader. I'm about to throw out some theories that are not commonly accepted.
I love Beau. I will love him forever. We are well suited for each other. We're a good fit in each other's lives and, if I may be so bold, in each other's families.
He is not my soulmate.
And I'm not his.
And we're both fine with this.
Remember how Grey's Anatomy taught us we all had a person? As in, "you're my person."
We are certainly each other's people in the way that we can depend on each other for big and small things. We have a partnership I am really proud of.
But we aren't soulmates.
Beau's soulmate is his best friend. They were college roommates. They talk all day, every day. His best friend lives two time zones away; I've never met him, but I certainly feel like I already know him.
He's our best man. Beau said he wouldn't feel married without his best friend as his best man. I had to get myself a best maid because Beau said he couldn't get married without his person at the altar with us.
My person, for as long as I can remember, has been my grandmother.
And she's another topic for another post. She's the elephant in the room of this #emmy30.
Because she has chosen not to attend our wedding.
I asked my cousin to be my best maid not only because she's the closest thing I have to a sister, but because she will understand better than anyone that I need someone to stand beside me and make sure that I don't fall apart in our grandmother's absence, that the grief doesn't overwhelm me, that I remain focused on marrying the person I love most in the world.
I am grateful she said yes.
He started out by asking how we were feeling, and we both answered variations of "overwhelmed' and "stressed," and then Beau realized the priest was asking if we still wanted to be married.
At which point we discussed how we felt we had been planning our marriage for a long time, and the wedding is just the first day of it, and we hope our lives together will span several decades.
So then it was on to the liturgy. He warned us that very few people follow along in the Book of Common Prayer (beginning on page 423), which is so strange to me. There's a whole book sitting in the book rail in front of you with nearly every word of the ceremony... don't you want to know when it's your turn to chime in? To kneel? To sit?
Or at least how many more pages until you board a bus and head towards champagne?
We talked through the vows and the prayers. The priest had advice on how to not cry through the entire ceremony, which is especially helpful because Beau and I are both major weepers.
We're having one hymn (sung by our beautiful and talented friend Christian Sineath) and one reading. We are not having Communion. The homily will be brief, as the priest seems to understand that while everyone is excited for us to join our lives to each other and God, he's standing between us and what we all hope is the best party you've ever attended.
May there only be happy tears.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
As I concluded the prayer, I needed a synonym for "empower," a word that I loathe, and discovered "embolden," which reminded me of one of the best compliments of my life.
On the morning of September 7, 2016, I walked Beau's daughter to school. We had a brief exchange en français goodbye, during which I kissed her, told her I loved her, Daddy would pick her up from school, and we'd have dinner with my mom, who was visiting. A class mom grabbed me afterwards.
She said, "Y'all just have a different kind of love." I was completely taken aback, worried as always that I'm failing terribly at parenthood, and somehow differently from everyone else. I said, "Different... bad?!"
She replied, "Not at all. I'm just really glad she has you. The love she gets from y'all is really big. Y'all love out loud. It makes her bolder."
We do love out loud. We hug. We kiss. We hold hands. We tell each other that we love each other (in two languages!). We apologize. We practice empathy. And we love our neighbors.
Our "mundane" is big. We celebrate having dinner together, because that's something we don't get to do every day. When you only have a child present in your life half the time, you choose to love really big to make sure it lasts through the times when you're absent.
This summer, when Beau and I were trying to figure out how to entertain his daughter at church without Sunday School, I emailed the World in Prayer team and received this amazing and beautiful response from another member:
Even if you don't have [her] all the time, trust that what she is being exposed to with you and [Beau] will "stick", even when, in the future, there may seem evidence to the contrary. Most of all, your behavior- that of the two of you- will speak far louder than any words. Telling of a loving God needs to be demonstrated by being loving, and exposing her to a community where she is loved and accepted. I spent a lot of time "bored" in church as a young child and I ended up a pastor. She will still be absorbing the liturgy, the hymns, the prayers...I knew the entire Lutheran liturgy by the time I was four, plus words to lots of the hymns. Trust yourselves; trust the Living and Loving Spirit. And remember, [her] story/journey will be hers, not yours. And she will be writing it every day, which is as it should be.I hope she will live it out loud. I hope we have emboldened her. I hope that the love the three of us have for each other will resonate within her when she is feeling tired or weak or quieted or ignored. I hope that it reminds her that she is capable of anything and that we will love her no matter what.
It's an honor and a blessing to hug and kiss her, to walk her to school, to celebrate with her. I will be forever grateful for the moments we have, and I can't wait to see how she uses her big, bold heart to improve her world.
Sunday, November 13, 2016
My dress is extremely formal. I told my beau (heretofore referred to as "Beau") that I didn't want to look like we were going to different parties, since my dress is much more formal than his suit.
So we started talking about morning attire. The total headcount for the male portion of our wedding party is two people: a groom and his best man. Once we galvanized enough male attendees (my dad and brother, some of our best/favorite friends, some of my cousins, maybe one of Beau's uncles), we requested that all men wear morning dress. Beau didn't want it to look like he and his best man were going to a different party, specifically a costume party, from everyone else.
I was immediately bombarded with questions.
Short answer: have you ever seen the Duchess or Duke of Cambridge dressed for a formal daytime event? Now you have a model.
We have not mandated attire. We suggest any male who wishes to rent morning dress from Perlis call Ryan Vogel with his measurements this week, and any male uncomfortable in this kind of attire wears a blue or grey suit. We suggest fascinators for female guests rather than hats.
And we suggest you come ready for amazing and beautiful fun.