Tuesday, July 9, 2013

4 Days

Spoiler alert: it's H who had the toothache last week.  It's H who spent the weekend in the most pain I have ever seen him (or anybody) experience.  It was H, the man who can withstand anything, who asked me to take him to the emergency room late Saturday night when the antibiotics he'd started the evening prior hadn't yet gotten ahead of the infection.  It was H who had me silently and desperately begging in the middle of the night, "Please just let him be okay."

And he is, and he will be.

Yesterday, having not slept through the night for five nights, I drove down to our Whole Foods to buy the most potent-seeming sleep medicine I could find.  I was deep in the place of worry, anxiety and exhaustion and wasn't sure I'd be able to get rested without help (why does exhaustion so often prevent us from resting?).  So I bought the medicine, walked out to my car, turned the key and...nothing.  Half an engine turn-over, a bunch of clicks, no vroom.

The next forty minutes were spent standing in the hot (thankfully it was 93 degrees, not 103 as it's been), un-shaded black-top parking lot asking the people who pulled into the spot opposite me if they'd mind keeping the spot clear for my husband who was on his way to give me a jump.  Most acted put out, some ignored me as I stood outside their car window, trying to get their attention, a couple were sympathetic.  None offered a jump, true to this week's form (incidentally, while H's jump got me home, the car didn't start this morning.  I believe they call this "broken down"?)

And I laughed.  Granted, the laughter was a tinge hysterical but at the point of calling uncle on life, what else is there to do?

I've been thinking quite a lot about the freakish nature of this week's calamities; I won't list the others here (yes, though it is only Tuesday, there is a list), and while I'm not a religious person, I'll admit to having an existential streak.  And in the moments between feeling utterly defeated, convinced all the joy from this big wedding fiesta had already been wrung out and the day itself would be a bust, I realized this big bad-luck-fest might turn out to be the final cherry on top to wedding planning.

On Sunday morning, when I asked H to rate his pain and he replied, "I'm actually feeling pretty good," I felt an almost overwhelming flood of relief that my husband was no longer suffering and would more than likely not be spending our wedding reception in a hospital bed.

When my car broke down, it removed the ever increasing need to do more, buy more, be more that I've been caught in for so long.  I simply can't do all that stuff without transportation.  Having this decision be made by a force outside my control is exactly what needed to happen.

When H called our good friend who's a superb Subaru mechanic and that friend answered the phone (an act that seems more rare these days) and gave H the advice that allowed me to drive my car home, and on top of that offered to be there if we needed anything else at all, I was reminded how we're surrounded by friends who really will show up when we need them.

When my good friend and de facto wedding coordinator for Saturday reported, nearly in tears over letting me down or adding to my stress, that she unexpectedly and unavoidably has to work on Saturday, I felt like life was beating me over the head with the fact that friends actually want to take care of us and really care about our happiness.

In these moments, the gold pinata I'd been fixated on (I wish I were kidding) seemed suddenly less pressing.

That's the silver lining.  As I've noted many times, wedding culture gets crazy.  I love a lot of that crazy.  I love the decorations, the detail, the obsessing, the work and thought and time that goes into it all; I feel most in my flow when I'm in that place.  But in the last several weeks, I've spent 97% of my time there with little break to connect with real life--the moments I might have just sat to soak it all in somehow got filled with more things to do, almost as if simply saying, "okay, everything that needs to be done is done" were unacceptable.  This week beat me back into real life.  It has sucked a lot.  I still have some pretty big bruises and if somebody were to say to me what I'm writing right now, I'd probably still want to punch him/her in the face; I'm not implying I'm firmly in some glittery, daisy-field zen frame of mind.  But somewhere over the past few days I've turned a corner and spent quite a lot more time thinking about how we're going to see ALL THE BEST PEOPLE on Saturday and quite a lot less time thinking about all the fucking gold stuff stashed at my parents' house that has to find its way into some reasonably attractive arrangement come Saturday (okay, I'm still pretty excited about all the gold, it's just moved from first position to second).

Yesterday, through my near-delirium, I realized I can continue to mourn the loss of how this week should have been or I can celebrate how this week is.  It isn't perfect (or is it?) and it certainly has been more trying than I'd wish for anybody in the week before their wedding fiesta, but acceptance and its associated clarity  are not easy to come by in this world, and if we want those qualities in our lives, we have to take them how they're given to us.

Would I trade this week in if I had the choice for a do-over that went a bit more to script?  Absolutely.  YES, PLEASE PLEASE LET ME TRADE IT IN.  But I can't--this is what we got, and though I spent a lot of time resisting what's happened this week, the unfortunate events have kept coming and I have finally given into this being the version we get.  And in this version, just as in the other, I'll spend Friday and Saturday with  the people I love most.  I'll get to be with my new husband and our family.  I'll eat tacos, probably drink a little too much tequila, probably be just happy as can be, smudged mascara, heels changed out for flip flops and all.  This weekend will have an unfair ratio of all the best things to some of the less good things--a ratio we could never really deserve but have somehow still been given.  The cherry is we just might have a little keener awareness of how easily it could all have slipped away.  In that, we are the lucky ones.


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