Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday Mantra: Mischief, Mayhem, and Memories

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Life is strange sometimes
I've turned into a crazy person, you guys.

A fruit cake.

A nut.

To be clear (and to sort of, kind of defend myself because hey, I have feelings), not a bridezilla. I say that because I don't care what shoes the girls are wearing or what their hair looks like or what jewelry they wear. One of my girls might dye her hair purple. More power to her.

I care about things I have never cared about before, not ever in my life. Like how napkins are folded. What the distance is between the aisle runner and the chairs. Whether or not "greenery" means eucalyptus or rosemary.

Crazy stuff.

Even normal things that I do care about typically have gotten derailed. For instance, I've always been a big fan of having a good font on pretty much everything. I am a word person, after all. But ohmygoodness, there are too many options. And too many options drive people to the nuthouse, I tell you! Prior to the wedding planning I hadn't fully realized (or cared) that my name could look so very weird/bad/good just depending on which font I used on our invitations.

Don't even get me started on nail polish colors. Do I want silver glitter? Gold? Silver and gold on a pink base? Or is glitter too glittery? Should I go with a pastel? A bright color? Maybe dark, to offset the pastels? Normally, in Normal Land, I couldn't care the slightest. But now, in Wedding Land, I care. I care in strange and unusual ways. I care so much I painted all of my toes different colors combinations, took a picture, and sent it to my friend so she could help me make a mother effing decision. (As I write this I'm pondering whether or not this post might actually be a cry for decide.)

Outside of that fun, everything else is coming along well. Mostly.

My godparents got into a bad car accident about a month ago. They were both in the ICU and have been released, but they won't be in good enough shape to make it to the wedding. My godfather, along with my favorite teacher and longtime friend from high school, were going to walk me down the aisle. One halfway and the other the rest. Clearly, that won't happen now, which is fine. All I care about is that they're OK; wedding shmedding. Yet, I still wish my godfather could be there.

My godfather, Earl, is one of the last links I really have when it comes to family. I've known him my whole life. He used to live right down the street from my house when I was little. He was friends with my grandparents. Having him there meant I had more family with me, which I have so little of.

When I asked him if he wanted to play a part in walking me down the aisle, I didn't expect the reaction I got. He's a big man, built like a wall. Over a foot taller than me and almost gigantic in some senses. I've always loved that about him. So when I asked him and he broke down into tears, well, it kind of broke me too. Because as big as he is, he's also one of the kindest, most thoughtful, compassionate human beings I know. While I care much more that he's safe and sound at home, I also know how much he was looking forward to this as well. It hurts me that he hurts, whether physically or emotionally.

So, to try and make sure his heart isn't hurting and he doesn't feel bad about not being able to make it, I'm going to make the best of it and bring the wedding to both him and my godmother the next day. We're going to pack up some cake, bring them some favors, take them some of the flowers. We'll have our own little celebration.

On the flip side, to end this on a happy note, let me share with you this story:

When I was in high school, I kind of stumbled into the best thing ever: agriculture. I know how that sounds. Dirt? You found dirt and gardening? 

I was a freshman and I wasn't really enjoying any part of my high school experience whatsoever. My friend was in an agriculture class and had been trying to talk me into switching classes, but I had the same thought you probably did. Dirt? Gardening and stuff?

One day she took me up to the ag. building to try and help me see what I was missing. From the second I waked in, my life changed. It wasn't just a class, it was a family. It was this group of people that all knew and loved each other. They were rowdy and loud, hilarious and fun. They would meet up there before school, at lunch, after school, on the weekends. People of all backgrounds and interests who came together. It was like nothing I had ever experienced. But, it was October and far too late to switch classes. I had this feeling, however, that I had to do whatever it took to join these people. So I begged and pleaded (and begged and pleaded) and the ag. teacher, Mr. Stevens, helped me get moved into his class.

Absolutely every happy high school memory I have stems from finding and joining ag. Literally.

Mr. Stevens, who taught the ag. program, became, in many ways, the father I never had. I know many of us kids felt that way. He wasn't just our teacher, he was a mentor. He was the dad of the ag. family. He cared about each and every one of us. He invested his time in us. He asked questions that he wanted real answers to. He had hundreds of students in all grade levels and he knew all of their names, their interests, their stories.

I took his class all four years. Most everyone did. Once you found that group, you stayed until you were forced out by graduation. Most people came back even after that, to visit on lunch breaks or volunteer for events. No one ever really left.

Over those four years, I told Mr. Stevens I had basically adopted him and that one day, when I got married, I would have him walk me down the aisle. He told me he would be honored to do that. Thus, a promise was made. One we would repeat to each other randomly, like when I graduated and he reminded me to keep him posted. Mr. Stevens is a father to two boys, so I've kind of always thought that maybe, just maybe, this promise might mean even more to him than I realized.

Unfortunately, I didn't keep that promise the first time I got married. That's a long story in and of itself, but I think part of the reason I didn't ask him was because something told me to wait, like it wasn't the right time for some reason. So I listened. Even then, I regretted not having him there. It always bothered me, always. But I also just...couldn't. Life is weird like that sometimes for reasons you can't explain until much, much later.

The moment I knew The Fiance was The One, I also knew Mr. Stevens would be walking me down the aisle, just like we had talked about so many years ago. All my instincts told me this was what I'd been waiting for. This is why I wasn't supposed to ask before. So while I won't have my godfather, I will have my teacher, my friend, my ag. dad. I will finally be able to uphold the promise we made all those years ago.

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