One day I shall be spoken for.
One day he will declare, “you are the one.”
One day I will be part of a team, a dynamic duo, a partnership in adventure, we will be kindred spirits.
One day, is what I used to think. I had dreamed about it, hoped for it, visualized it, and pep-talked myself about its possibility.
Then, that one day finally arrived.
Long gone were the inconsolably lonely nights, all the horrible first dates, and the desperate clinging to faith in true love. Being a few years into my thirties and unwilling to settle, I had kept my sights straight ahead at the tiny pin hole of hope at the end of the tunnel,forged ahead-
and just trusted.
And miraculously it worked.
There I stood at the top of the staircase in my fitted ivory gown, swirled embroidery around the waist, and hair tumbling over my shoulders. My step-father hooked my arm, patted my hand lovingly and smiled proudly. He was unaware of my heart which was about to burst through my chest. I was not calm. I felt like I was going to explode, and I didn't know what I was possibly going to do to relax myself before the illustrious walk down the aisle. All the parents, guests, wedding party, and my groom were waiting below for my entrance.
That one day was just steps away, but I wasn't prepared.
A few months prior to the big occasion I had overloaded myself to the point of a total Chernobyl meltdown. My 8th year teaching high school Spanish was wrapping up, just as my dream was being actualized of creating a program to help prevent teen drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse. The school had been given a grant at the start of the year, which I had been chosen to design a plan for the entire district. High schoolers would be educated and trained how to mentor their younger peers. The second to last week of school was the only time that all involved could agree on a date for the new mentoring event to take place. This involved busing students to our school from all the junior highs in the area, and from the other high school, and then orchestrating the assembly/mentoring sessions.
PV High and Peninsula students mentoring the junior high kids.
Although stressful, it was a satisfying success, but this added a wave to the surge of activities in my life causing me to sit on the tip of the monster wave....racing toward the eminent wipe-out.
Thinking I could cleverly juggle it all, I dove into wedding planning, and soon became entirely overwhelmed, and sank to the bottom-unable to keep my head above water. At this point my back went out, which I have never experienced before, and never ever want to again. I taught Spanish class bent over at the waist in excruciating pain until I got a brace to help me stand properly, and then had to lay on my back at home and do nothing. ( ! ) I was deteriorating quickly, and deeply worried that I wouldn't be prepared physically for our honeymoon trek in Nepal. My husband-to-be pulled me out from the pool of wedding decision making, and told me he’d take it from there, since there was already enough piled high on my plate. For those of you who have gone through wedding planning, you know very well that the planning of a decent size, destination wedding is no casual swim in the sea; it’s a triathlon of sorts which is so infiltrated with details it's enough to justify the cliché of eloping just to avoid the monstrous task. Luckily my step-mother is a detailed oriented, event planning master and took on the responsibility with gusto.
Chapter breakdown and story arc (with Maya's help of course)
Although excited about the upcoming wedding, I was fanatically dedicated to finishing my book, Journey to the Heart of Pachamama, a memoir about my volunteering and adventuring experience in Peru, which had been a three year odyssey. I was on the last, crucial chapter with a week to go before the big day. I worked tediously on a story board to make sure the plot worked out, with it all accumulating with the important last chapter. But my focus was so fractured I couldn’t seem to get in the writing zone. With my life-long dream of finding true love actualized, and the near completion of another epic goal happening concurrently, it was enough to send me into a tail spin.
Once I arrived in Mammoth for the wedding, my emotional state had deteriorated. There was no doubt I was marrying my true love and with only eight pages remaining of the book, I couldn’t quite grasp the reason behind the water-falling tears. There were wedding guests infiltrating the hotel everywhere and I feared they'd see my sorry state, so I remained in my room alone and troubled. And by the day before the wedding, I was still a mental and emotional wreck. I could definitely understand the term Bridezilla, and was glad that I hadn’t yet reached the final stages of morphing into one, but I could see the potential. My biggest concern was that I might not return to my normally balanced and serene state of mind before I walked down the aisle. Crying uncontrollably I soon sought out the wise counsel of the women closest to me. "What's wrong with me? I thought I'd be a floating on a cloud of grace, feeling serene, gracious and divinely glowing in my bride-liness!"
Then it was brought to my attention, that which was rather obvious to others, but not to me. I had been steadily climbing, with unwavering dedication, all of my adult life, to this ever-illusive peak of finding the purest of love connections. Not only that, but I had been developing the writer in me ever since I was a young girl, so not just one, but both of these epic journeys was coming to fruition within the same week of this lifetime. The blood, sweat, tears, pain, and joy which had gone into both was tremendous. I had conquered the fear of never being loved which would be “officially” proved the next day, and I had also forged through the false belief that I could never actually write a book. The emotional intensity of both had consumed me like tidal wave and I was still having a hard time catching my breath. Would I be gracefully composed and have an authentically enchanted "best day of my life" look on my face as I walked down the aisle? I didn't think it would be possible.
On the morning of the wedding I was summoned to the hotel room of a group of my female invitees who got wind that I was struggling. We sat in a sacred circle with brilliant, golden sunlight bathing me as I closed my eyes with my tribe of women. I not only had four of the most amazing bridesmaids, and an extraordinary matron of honor, but I also had a group of spiritual and loving women attending the wedding who played an integral part of my life. We meditated, and they shared their deepest thoughts to help me prepare for the day, as they embraced me with their love. Tears streaked my face as the overwhelming emotions began to dissipate. Bottles of bubbles were handed out and they all helped me blow away my worries. “This will be the best day of your life,” they told me. But at this point, not knowing what was to come, I sniffled back tears and whimpered, “the day I met Sam was the best day of my life, this day is definitely not the best!”
At the top of the mountain where the ceremony would take place, my bridal party and I waited in the ski patrol room for the wedding to begin. With an unexpected delay, I stood in the most gorgeous dress that had ever touched my skin, with my bridesmaids and my matron of honor all looking divine, in a dirty room that stunk like wet dog. After finally getting to a place of containing my emotions, it all surged again while waiting, and I feared I might disturb my make-up right before the ceremony. Gritting my teeth I said to my dear friend Dana, “Please make a memorable moment right now….please!” She took my hand and the others did the same. We stood in a circle and shared in the first of many unforgettable moments of the wedding day. The positive love energy was palpable and I felt wrapped in the pure friendship of the women who were truly closest to my heart. I was buoyed, strengthened, lifted, and supported by the spirit of the women who know what it has taken for my life to arrive to that very moment. The signal was given and I joined my step-dad on the stairwell.
Spanish acoustic guitar accompanied the wedding party which I could hear from my ready position. Sun poured into the window which framed the spectacular view of the top of the surrounding mountains. I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths, but was unable to slow down my heart. My dress felt tight and my palms were sweaty as I held my bouquet of purple and white blooms. "Get a grip!" I demanded of myself. "Relax, now's the moment you have been waiting for!"
But I couldn't.
We started down the staircase, carefully stepping so to not trip on the silky hem of the dress. I kept taking big breaths gasping for a thread of sanity. I was worried that with the next deep heave of my chest I might burst the delicate straps holding up my dress. "Please God, help me relax!" I saw the smiling faces of the first few guests in the audience. I locked eyes with my Dad who was waiting for my step-dad to hand me off. I caught Sam's gaze from across the room, and a genuine smile spread across my face upon realizing that he had chosen to shave off his masterpiece mustache for the ceremony.
My Dad hooked my arm and we took our first steps together. We got about half way down when I suddenly felt like I was going to explode. An all-consuming, uncontrollable surge pumped in my veins that started in my toes and raced through me until it exploded out of my mouth like an erupting volcano. I let out the wildest, loudest, guttural YAAAAAAHOOOOOOO!!!!! that pierced the air which was only occupied by the guitarist playing the wedding march. It was so loud and unexpected that my Dad jumped up in shock, and most of those near me were surprised and confused at this animalistic bellow that came from the lovely bride. Then I began laughing, a bit embarrassed at first, but then it became completely authentic and joyfully as most everyone else joined in. All the built up tension and emotions had exited through that shout and I instantly felt pure, sweet relief. In an instant, I was fully present, peaceful and ready to marry the man of my dreams.
Thus began the best day of my life. My matron of honor sang a song she wrote for us using the melody to one of our favorite tunes, while the guitarist accompanied her. I stood face to face with her, completely enthralled, unaware that there wasn't a dry eye in the house behind me. This connection to her song, positive spirit and love for me was enough to set me free from any residue that remained from my previous emotions. I eyed all my bridesmaids: my sister, my oldest friend from childhood, my volleyball partner and my spiritual mentor all standing in the dark purple dresses I had chosen, and with tears in their eyes and loving smiles. They were standing up for me, they had my back, they were proud of me and believed in me. My ladies. I looked at the first row of guests. My mom, step-dad, dad, step-mom- all proud, all bursting with love for Sam and I, all overwhelmed to be present for this unforgettable day. This was it and I was ready.
I turned back to the man I was ready to commit to and spontaneously kissed him in the middle of the ceremony. I couldn't resist. He was the One and I was getting to marry him in front of all the people who loved and cared about us, and who also believe in and support our union.
At the reception Sam and I surprised the guests with a choreographed dance to our favorite song, "One Day" which was perfectly suited for the mantra I used to persuade myself to believe back when I was single. My father gave a heartfelt speech which he had been working on tirelessly for months, which made me laugh and cry and feel so happy that my Dad was finally getting to witness me marry after I am sure he wondered for years if he would ever get to make a father of the bride speech. There was nothing more satisfying than knowing that my Dad was as happy about me marrying Sam as I was. My mom and step-dad had taken care of the unique cake for the reception which was shaped like a mountain and had Sam climbing the side with our cat in a backpack, as I stood on the top with my hand up in triumph.
The night ended with us passing through the door of our wedding suite only to find that my tribe of girls had decorated the room with a rose petal trail, candles, our favorite drinks and treats in the fridge, and much more. We drew a bath in the extra large tub, and lit the dozens of candles as the room filled with fragrance of the rose petals floating in the water. I unhooked the tight corset of my dress, took of the shoes from my aching feet, and sunk into the tub with my husband. With a long exhale and his arms wrapped around me, I closed my eyes with profound contentment.
Finally, that one day had come... and gone, and it truly was, the best one day of my life.... so far.