vows and nearing 49

I need to write my wedding vows.

It’s 11:01 on Saturday morning, exactly two weeks from my wedding day.

I need to write my wedding vows.

Yet, here I am floating in the pool, watching the reflection of the pool water bounce through the trees. It’s so quiet and with five dogs, that’s a rare occurrence. I know there is a list of things to get done today and only a few hours left to do them. I should probably do some laundry and the dishes from last night’s dinner.


But I am so relaxed.

When did I become so relaxed?

I look down at my body and there are white lines on my stomach and I wonder what they are and realize that the sun doesn’t tan in those lines because the skin rolls together there and the rays can’t reach that area and when I stretch out, the lines appear. I guess I am a little fat. Just a little.

I see the stretch marks on my thighs. They have been there since I was a teenager, growing faster than my skin would allow. They appear more pronounced with the darkness of my summer tan. I see them but I don’t react to them. I rub them lightly with my fingers, following the lines absentmindedly. I am 49 soon. Right around the corner from 50. I’m old. But I don’t really care about it. I notice it but I don’t mind it.

When did I stop hating my body?

I need to write my vows…five more minutes, I tell myself and then notice that twenty minutes has passed and I am still floating along, doing nothing.

When did I start allowing myself to do nothing?

I am thinking about my brother, imagining his skin, imagining the last conversation we could have had if I hadn’t been so stubborn. He would be 52 in a few days. 52 years old. He turned 50 without me. He turned 50 without a call or a text or a card. I wish my brother could come to the wedding. I wish I could talk to him and touch him on the hand and look into his blue eyes and remind him how much he mattered to me, matters to me. I long for some sense of resolution and forgiveness and acceptance. I feel wetness at my eyes because there will never be a chance for that final conversation. I let him down. Yet, I am not angry at myself. I forgive myself because I know I did what I could with what I had at the time and that I do more and better when I can. I know I am someone who strives to improve. I know I am not perfect and I forgive myself for it, generally. I still get annoyed with myself when I am not the perfect person I imagined I would be but I recognize that perfection doesn’t exist and that we learn and grow and change and evolve into something different but still imperfect.

When did I start being so kind and forgiving to myself?

It’s 11:33 now and I am still floating and I need to write my vows but now I find myself thinking about my children. Not in a frantic, anxious way, more like pictures of them are floating along in my mind and I am watching them transform into the people they are becoming and I am scared and excited for them. I am honored to be their mother. I don’t get to see them as much as I wish I could see them. It’s harder and harder to connect with them as they grow older. I know how little impact I can have now on my almost adult children besides being more present with them. Simply being present has been such a struggle for me for so long. It’s not a struggle much anymore. Some days are better than others but overall, I am more present with them than I have ever been before.

When did I start becoming more present?

The sun has shifted and I find myself shivering a bit because the pool water is warmer than it is in shade. It must be noon now and I need to write to vows.

I am struck like a slap in the face as I recognize that these are my vows, these thoughts, these floating along musings, this realization of who I have become because you love me and I love you.

More relaxed, more kind to myself and to others, more present, and more forgiving.

You, my love, have broken down my walls. You’ve shown me what love is and can be and should be.

You’ve taught me to slow down. You’ve taught me to relax and enjoy my life more. You’ve taught me to love my body by watching how much you love my body. I shudder sometimes when I see you, seeing me. I don’t know what to do it with it. I like it even though it’s scary sometimes. You let myself be loved. You have taught me to forgive myself for being imperfect.

I want so much to love you completely and I can’t do that until I start loving myself completely. So I will. I do. You’ve asked me to be present and I want to make you happy so I am fighting harder against my tendency to shut down and tune out. You love me anyway, exactly as I am. But I long to make you completely happy, forever, so I try harder to be present and it’s getting easier.

It impacts every aspect of my life, our love…how I am in friendships, work, with my children and family.

I can’t wait to be your wife. I can’t wait until you are my wife.

Oh, there you are, walking outside in your red stripey bathing suit, looking so cute.

Damn, you are hot, I think.

“How’s it going?” you ask.

“Done”, I respond. “Let’s get in the pool.”



Alright Universe, quit it.

Rule of three’s.

For a theatre person, it’s all about comedy. Do something funny three times and bam, the audience will go wild.

But it’s also a wise tale of “bad things come in three’s”. I’ve never believed in it.

Until this week.

First up, whirlwind romance ends…badly.

Six weeks. A six week romance.

I actually sent a text to my best friend that said “Mark my words, I am going to marry this woman.”

I said that…after a month.

I was doing the lesbian happy dance.

(There isn’t a dance, I made that up.)

I wasn’t packing my u-haul but I was imagining how I might pack it someday.

It was a roller coaster six week romance where I allowed myself…pretty much for the first time since 1992, to imagine spending my life with someone. I decorated my Christmas tree thinking, “maybe I won’t do this alone next year”. I imagined vacations, long walks, music, dancing,  laughing, dreaming, loving, and of course, lots and lots of sexy time. Everything about her was perfect. I imagined myself finding the love of my life.

Blah. Yeah, I know.

I know.  My eyes hurt from rolling them so hard at myself.

Keep shaking your head at me….I get it. I am an idiot.

So it ended, badly. But I kept getting up everyday, going for runs, working my ass off, loving my kids, feeding my dogs, paying my bills, buying ten different kinds of nails at every store in town to hang my Christmas wreath on the brick fireplace. (I need to insert here that I successfully hung that wreath and it’s super pretty.)

I was sad, but my badass self kept right on fucking going.

Because that’s what I do. If I am anything, I am resilient.


Then number #2…the completely insane family news. The kind of news that you ask your family to sit down because you “have some news, so you BETTER SIT DOWN”. I mean, seriously…it’s so not ok…this shitty ass I can’t blog about but it’s really shitty can’t wrap your brain around it kind of news.

That’s all I have to say about that.

But mark my words, oh fabulous three blog followers…I kept right on marching. With that stupid piece of shit news in my head. I kept going, and going, and going. I even said this morning on my run to #AmazingRunningPartner something ridiculous like, “I just don’t have all these ups and downs anymore. I just can’t do it. I really want a happy life. I rarely feel depressed to the point where I can’t function anymore.”

Today was a busy day…big event at work…so many volunteers and so much responsibility on my shoulders. Off I went, like the little energizer bunny that I am.

Then the phone rang. I ignored it. Step-mom, no… too busy right now.

The texts start rolling in:

“Your dad had to be taken to the hospital, he’s in renal failure.”

“I don’t know anything. I just needed to tell you.”

My dad? That’s impossible. He’s young. And sassy as a mother fucker…he’s not in renal failure…he’s like a 12 year old boy…that’s insane.

But it’s a fact. A fact that exists separate from my zen philosophy of “ride the wave of the circumstances of your life…there are sad parts and happy parts and all the parts in between and you just can’t fight the feelings, you just have to let it wash over you”.

I went for a drive. I left my amazing staff in charge at the event for a little while. I sobbed and prayed in my car and lamented all the unfinished business I have with my dad.

And I thought about this:

The rule of three’s exists because human beings can only handle so much shit thrown at them. Three is kind of the max for shitty happenings.

You hear that universe? You hear that?

I am done. We are good.

Go kick someone else’s ass now. I will never underestimate you again.

Thank you for the reminder that I don’t know anything about anything. At all.

And now,

I invoke the rule of three’s.






I like airports.

Let me rephrase that…I like being in airports alone.

For two reasons.

1) Being in an airport is about waiting. I generally hate waiting. I am an impatient person. But the purpose of being in an airport is to wait, helplessly for your flight to take off, your layover to be finished, your next flight to board, your bags to arrive. When I am with other people I get focused on worrying about them, whether they will be late or the flight will be delayed, whether they are happy or I feel like I should be entertaining my kids. But when I am in an airport alone there is no one to entertain, no house to clean or laundry to fold, no responsibilities to focus on. I just read. I read an entire book on my last flight…non-stop…I just read it. I was fully present.  The book was pretty mediocre. I left it on the second plane and started another one. But the act of reading it was lovely. I sat there without a care in the world and read a book from cover to cover.

2) I also really enjoy people watching and I think airports provide the very best people watching in the world. People from all over the world, in groups and traveling alone. People forget themselves in airports, they get very real…and I love observing them and trying to figure them out. I am not a chit chatter in airports. Nope, I rarely speak to anyone. But I watch. On my flight I observed:

The greasy haired beautiful girl: She was traveling alone. She was beautiful. A classic beauty. In great shape, strong bone structure. But she had the greasiest hair I have seen in a long time. It was blonde but the highlights had grown out by at least four inches and the roots were really black. And that hair was disgustingly greasy, I mean the kind of hair that hasn’t been washed in at least a week or more. Why was her hair so greasy? Why? I suppose it might have been strange if I had asked her. So I decided someone she loved had died recently or her heart had been broken and washing her hair just wasn’t a priority. She didn’t care about her hair. Suddenly, I didn’t care either. I liked her from a distance. I admired her nasty, greasy hair. I wished my hair was that greasy.

Just kidding. That’s gross.

I also observed:

The Flight Attendant on the Phone: She was in the same row as me during my first flight. She was wearing her uniform and when I got on the plane she was on her phone, intently having a very deep conversation. I could hear every word. Folks…when you are on the phone in a public place, your conversation is no longer private. And this gal…she was having a very private conversation. I kept wondering if she was aware that I could hear her. I kept trying to block out her voice. I tried to focus on my book but every so often the extremely private nature of her conversation would burst through my brain and I would think:

“Girl you should really keep that conversation on the down low. Cause you are wearing your Delta flight attendant name tag.”

I wondered if the person on the other end of the phone knew she was on a plane. I wonder if they would have cared. I would have.

For the record, she kept talking long after we were told to put all electronic devices away…right through the safety information. Then she hung up. And when we landed, she was right back on that conversation while we taxied to the gate. Wow…that very private conversation needed to be had. Right there, in front of me.

I’m still blushing from the ordeal.

Bet you wanna know what she was saying, huh?

During my layover I watched:

The business man who never stops working: There were actually lots of these folks…entire office spread out before them which really just consists of a laptop and cell phone, complete digital office. He shifted from laptop to phone to laptop to phone. He made calls, he checked emails. Then he called his wife, told her what time he would be home, said a seemingly heartfelt I love you and shifted right back into business man mode. I wondered what it would be like to be so important. It’s likely I won’t find out in this lifetime.

A business lady I ain’t.

(cause I say things like: A business lady I ain’t)

And finally I watched the older couple traveling to Copenhagen. Their passports were flagged for reinspection as I boarded my second flight. Actually only her passport was flagged. It took a really long time for her dig through her Vera Bradley carry on duffle to find it. He helped, the husband. That’s how I found out they were going to Copenhagen. They talked nervously as they searched for the right pocket that contained the passports. They were overwhelmed by being flagged but not angry about it. They were relaxed. They seemed happy. And I wondered if they had been married 40 years and had 6 grandkids. I felt slightly jealous that they had made it this far into life and still seemed happy together. I want that, love that lasts. I needed to be reminded that it can. I’ve forgotten that lately…in my love is stupid post divorce state of mind.

For all I know they met six months ago and had both gone through nasty divorces at some point in their lives. But I liked the idea that they had been married since high school and were still desperately in love….maybe not passionate but genuinely devoted to one another.

That’s the best part about people watching, you can invent whatever you want to about the people you observe.

I made it to my destination. It’s a very fast trip. I am headed home in a few hours. Back to the airport.

I can’t wait to read my second book, to watch more people.

And then to walk through the terminal exit and see all the happy reunions.

Like in the movie Love Actually, the hello’s and goodbye’s at airports are amazing to watch but I try not to stare.

Cause it’s so personal and a little creepy to interfere in those private moments.

I will just watch out of the corner of my eye as I walk to my car alone.