Monday, August 23

Coming Together

The move is coming together, and so is the wedding. Kevin's parents drove to Cincinnati from thier home in Kentucky last weekend, and after the 4 of us had dinner on Friday, the kids joined us for some miniature golfing and go-carting on Saturday afternoon. Whether or not Kevin's parents approved of me (although he assures me they do!) they were truly smitten with the kids. The kids all easily called them Grandma and Grandpa-and even though I had to swallow a knot of 'odd' every time-it was pretty natural. It was good to be together as a family. It felt like Kevin was my husband, and we were simply a family having fun on a weekend afternoon. It was good to see that side of Kevin-the son-instead of just the father-figure and husband-to-be. The way he interacts with his parents speaks volumes about his character, and their relationship is easy and affectionate. I look forward to becoming part of the family.

We're moving on Friday, and so far the house is as packed as it can be at this point. It was so nice to say goodbye to Kevin Sunday evening and know it's for the last time-even though we won't be living together until after the wedding, it will truly be a treat to be living in the same town. The kids and I are all eagerly anticipating the move-and only 3 weeks later, the wedding!

Tuesday, August 17


Amidst the flurry of the next few weeks, Kevin and I were able to take a few days last weekend to simply be together. Ammon's parents, Russ and Mary, took the kids from Friday afternoon until Monday afternoon, and I drove to Toledo to spend a few kid-free days with Kevin. There were errands to run-we shopped until my feet ached, and had a wonderful time doing it. Kevin learned that I get cranky when I haven't nourished properly, but did an excellent job of feeding me delicious home-cooked food when my attitude shot downward. We looked at countless suits-3 pieces, and 2 pieces. Black, charcoal, patterned or not. We still haven't made a decision on what Kevin is going to wear for the wedding, but it was still productive to find out what won't work with his style and body type, so I do not count it as time lost.

We also spent a completely hysterical 2 hours in Bed, Bath, & Beyond registering for wedding gifts. As we were filling out the paperwork necessary to begin our registry process, the store associate regaled us with stories about couples who get into fights during the registry process, and grooms who abandon their brides at the store over a disagreement.

"It always happens in the bedding section." She told us.

We were intrigued, and decided to investigate the possibility of Registration Made More Fun by Fighting.

Indeed, it was entertaining.

We argued loudly over over sized wall clocks, and called each other names over curtains and kitchen goods. It was so much fun. We giggled like teenagers as I walked barefoot around the store, scanning items and dreaming about our future together.

On Sunday, we attended church together, and spent the day playing games, talking, and planning. I love spending time with Kevin. I love talking to him and sharing stories about our past. I hope we never stop wanting to learn about each other and sharing details about our lives-past and present.

We slow-danced in the living room on Sunday evening.

It was one of the single most romantic and touching moments in my life.

I'm so in love with him. It's impossible to describe-and I don't know why I'm lucky enough to be able to experience it. I'm not sure why my life has taken the path it has-but I know that through it all, I'm grateful to be where I am now. I cherish the opportunity to look at Kevin and know that he loves me and wants to spend his life with me. I blossom under his care-I can feel it, and though I'm grateful he never saw the shell of a woman I was for a long time, I wish he could see the transformation his love has brought to me.

Life is good.

Thursday, August 12


In months past, I was certain that even if I were lucky enough to meet somebody that I wanted to settle down with again, I would never be willing to leave Cincinnati.

'I have too much going on here', I thought. 'I could never leave-he'd either have to be local or willing to relocate'.

I was settled here in Cincinnati. I embraced life here in the only way I know how-fully and with passion. Our support network here is strong and large. The ward that we attend has been an incredible source of strength, and the friendships we have made within its boundaries are fulfilling. In the last 2 1/2 years, our ward has formed a protective circle around my family. I have called-too often-on people to help. With the kids, with a shoulder to cry on, with help getting into my attic or fixing my lawn mower.

School has been what I've spent the last 2 years focusing on. Countless sleepless nights, papers written, flashcards memorized, and textbooks read have filled my time. There has always been a test to study for, or a project to complete. My life as a widow has been centralized around my education-the two are linked together. I went back to school because my life changed, and every time things got difficult it was hard not to imagine that if only he had lived, everything would be different. I'd have more help with the kids, I wouldn't have to spend all my free time studying, I wouldn't be so lonely.

Eventually, I feel like I reached a place where I didn't do that as much. I found my balance as a student-a tenuous, incredibly difficult one-but a balance nonetheless. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief when classes ended last spring. I was burnt out, exhausted, and frustrated with life in general. The loneliness of the last 2+ years was weighing heavily on me, and the isolation of my classwork was contributing to a general sense of restlessness and depression. I looked forward to the summer and simultaneously dreaded September when it would come to a close.

I needed a break.

I can't recount how badly I needed a break. I was strung out with school, and although one section of it was completed-I knew that the worst was still approaching. I had finally completed the required courses for application into the nursing program at the University of Cincinnati. It was for this program that every hour of schoolwork for the last 2 years had been geared toward. Admission into the nursing program is exclusive, and the curriculum is demanding. It lasts 3 years, and admission into it would consume my life. I sat in my advisors office one morning in May and filled out the 1 page application. I clicked the 'submit' button, and immediately broke into exhausted sobs. I knew I wouldn't hear whether or not I had been accepted for months, and the suspense and tension of the summer stretched out before me in one endless path.

And then I met Kevin.

Kevin made the weeks fly by, and as we made plans for our future, all my hesitancy about leaving Cincinnati vanished. I embraced relocating-with excitement we searched online together for houses, sending links back and forth and discussing pros and cons. We began to plan our wedding, and I eagerly anticipated the day when we would be able to live together as husband and wife. A new city, a new family member, a new life.

During it all, my nursing application quietly flit across the back of my mind. In moments of solitude, it gnawed at me. I had worked so hard for admission into the program, but leaving for Toledo meant I would be taking a break from school for the time being.

There was never any doubt about leaving Cincinnati. There's never been any doubt about marrying Kevin. When I finally received the letter from admissions stating the results of my application, my decision was already made.

I can't wait to become his wife. I can't wait to explore our new city, and to figure out the dynamics of our family. In 40 years, I know I will look back and be grateful that I took a leap of faith and married Kevin.

Today I can honestly say I'm relieved not to be returning to school next month. But just because it was an easy decision to make doesn't mean it wasn't a painful one.

I can't promise that my eyes won't stray to the rear view mirror and tear up as we pull out of Cincinnati on moving day. I can't promise that there won't be moments in Toledo where I wish my friends and family were close, and that I could slip back into the old familiarity of life here. I do know, though, that it's alright. That no matter what happens to us, somebody much bigger than us or anything else is in charge.

He's got my back, just like He always has.

Wednesday, August 11


Moving is stressful.

Yes, I know this comes as a shock. Moving has often been heralded as one of those delightful past times-one engaged in one weekends in order to maximize the full joy of the experience.

I love moving. It seems as though approximately every 20 months, we grow restless in our surroundings and seek out new digs. Someday I hope to actually reach the 2 year mark at a residence, but thus far that elusive milestone has stayed thisfar out of reach.

Actually, this time we didn't even make it to 20 months. We made it 13. But whatever.

So yes, moving is stressful. Combine moving a family of 4 with planning a wedding, and sometimes I feel like my head is going to explode. I stop myself because the last thing I need is another mess to clean up, and I'm certain neither my landlord nor the new tenants would be thrilled with gore.

I've never planned a wedding before. The first time I got married, it was more of an elopement than anything else. For a variety of reasons, a real wedding was not one of the options given to us, so with very little notice we gathered together a few family and close friends and spoke some vows in the city park. There was no wedding dress, no photographer, and no reception. We gathered for dinner afterward at a local restaurant, and that was that. For years, I lamented the fact that we never had a real wedding. A year later when we were sealed, I insisted on a wedding dress and a tuxedo for Ammon. We had a photographer friend who took some pictures, and we sent out announcements for a very small and intimate open house after the sealing. I was always grateful for the pictures from that day, but still felt the lack of a 'real' wedding.

With less than 3 weeks until the move, and less than 6 weeks until the wedding, I'd take an elopement in a heartbeat.

That is, if I wasn't pretty certain I'd regret it regularly for the next 50 years.

I'm traveling to Toledo this weekend and have mentioned the idea of elopement several times to Kevin.

"The magistrate is available until 4, babe. I could come up early, and for a mere $70 we could be done with all of this."

My dearest looks at me, sighs, and rolls his eyes. If he wasn't several hours away, I'm certain he would put his arm around me and pull me close for an exasperated hug. He knows I don't really want to be married by a magistrate in the Toledo courthouse. I suppose I know that too, but I'm going to keep reminding myself of that as we attempt the create ceremony invitations today, re-evaluate the wedding budget, make photography decisions, find hotels for the honeymoon, and figure out decorations for the ceremony and reception.

Seriously, elopement is easier.

Now if only we could conquer the move, life would be perfect.

Tuesday, August 10


So much has happened.

I took a break from blogging because life was overwhelming and busy, and because it had become a chore instead of a release.

I kept taking a break because suddenly, unexpectedly, and fantastically-life got very busy.

Busy in a way I didn't anticipate.

Busy in a way I didn't think I was prepared for.

Busy in a way that is only going to get worse for the time being.

Busy in a way that will have the kids and I moving to another city and has me changing my last name.

I mentioned before that I had ventured into the online dating scene. I had no expectation that I would actually meet somebody, and after an unsuccessful relationship early this year, I was fairly certain that I would spend the next several years of my life alone. I know I've written about that in the past, and I was still sure that would be my lot in life.

In a fit of loneliness and desperation late one night-during the last push of finals last quarter, a long, lonely summer stretched in front of me. I posted yet another profile on an LDS themed dating website. I didn't pay for the site, simply chose to post my free profile. In order to view any of the communications that were sent to me, though, I had to pay the monthly fee. The profile sat for a couple weeks. I received several 'flirts', and a few messages, and I was finally curious enough to pay the monthly charge to see who was interested in me. I responded to a couple, deleted most of them, and decided to conduct a search of the available prospects in my area.

I aimlessly sent out 'flirts' to several different people. One of them stuck out a bit as a quirky, funny, cute man who listed his education as 'doctorate' and his profession as 'scientist'.

"Interesting." I thought. "Dating a doctor could be fun...but I'm sure he wouldn't be interested in me."

Ever the optimist, I am.

I clicked 'send' on the flirt, and closed down the website. Within days, the scientist and I were communicating. It started in emails, progressed rapidly through online chatting and phone calls until eventually it culminated in a face-to-face meeting.

I'm marrying him next month.

Nothing could have prepared me for the stunning force and speed that this relationship has taken over my life. OUR lives. Kevin marched through barriers that I thought were fortified and impregnable. In reality, it seems as though he alone held the appropriate keys. I fell so deeply in love-so quickly-and have fallen deeper and deeper every day since. He is a dream come true. He is everything I could have special-ordered in a companion, and more that I wouldn't have dreamed of asking for. He is my match in every way, and I'm so blessed to have found him.

I want to share so much. I want to update on wedding plans, on moving plans, and scream about our love from the rooftops. It's taken my life by storm-this love-and I can't wait to see where it takes us next. I'm breathless from it all, honestly.

I've had moments where I'm scared. Scared that he'll be taken from me, like Ammon. Scared to risk loving again. My heart is safe with him, of that much I'm sure. I'm working on the fear of death. It's a fear that I don't think will ever truly leave me. I look at Kevin sometimes and wonder what is lurking in the future for us. Cancer? Accident?

One thing I have learned as a young widow is this: life doesn't hold still. It doesn't move backward, and you can't take anything back or make changes to your past. Loving Kevin wasn't a choice I made-that was out of my control. Choosing to give in to that love and build a life with him is a choice I hold firmly in my grasp. We're going for it. We're running together, and we're going to leap off the cliff and pray that we soar.

I'm certain we will. It doesn't feel like falling with him. It feels like flying.

And it feels good.