One of my favorite interracial couples, Iman & David Bowie / Image via BruceWeber.com
The idea for this post came to me last week during my annual trip down to Cancun with Mr. Mongoose and his family. While this is my seventh trip to the beautiful Mexican city (my first two times were with a BFF and the last five times have been with Mr. Mongoose), this trip made me much more aware of how we may appear to outsiders.
(Here goes a really awkward and embarrassing post. Especially as I have lots of family who read this blog. Please continue to read my entries after today, I beg. Thank you.)
I want to talk about the wedding night. The ooo la la, after the party ends, sexy post-reception time of the night…
I know this subject can be a bit taboo, especially on public websites, but when we plan our wedding day we tend to think about all the parts of it, even the late night parts.
And my disclaimer is this: Everyone’s situation is different and completely unique to them, but at the top of this blog post it says by Miss Sword, so remember these are my thoughts on the subject and my thoughts only. Let’s dive in, shall we?
While I consider myself to be sexually liberal, when it comes to my wedding night I consider myself to be quite old-fashioned. I believe that it’s important to consummate your marriage, and that’s exactly what we Swords plan on doing. (Yes, we’ve talked about it.)
At the same time I understand that for some couples, wedding night sex just isn’t a priority whether it be because of exhaustion from a long day of hosting, familiarity/years together, or getting a little bit too drunk and passing out before anything can happen. I’m sure it’s different for every couple!
For me, it’s not only about sex, it’s about intimacy. It’s the only first night of marriage we’ll have, and as a true romantic, I can’t help but think it will be an extra special night.
Plus, I don’t know about you, but I’m so excited to dance and party with all of my awesome guests as well as my awesome soon-to-be-husband, so I imagine the amount of quality time Mr. Sword and I will get together during the reception will be pretty limited. I look forward to being alone and relishing in the last few moments of our wedding day together.
photo by Jennifer Jackson
But what about my wacky post title?? Here goes the most embarrassing thing I will put on the internet probably ever. One can only hope.
When we were in MN over my holiday break I was out to dinner with BM L Dawg and this conversation really happened. I swear.
The first time Mr. Squirrel met my dad, my dad casually asked him how we met. We awkwardly looked at each other and mumbled…”at a bar-type place.” My dad thought we were embarrassed to have met at a bar, so to make us feel better, he replied. “There’s no shame meeting in a bar. I mean…it’s better than having met online.” I could have melted in my seat. You see, bees…
We met online.
I mean “technically” we physically met at a bar for the first time, but if we are going to keep it real…we met online. To be fair, this doesn’t bother Mr. Squirrel at all. All his friends and family know. I am the one who likes to keep this fun fact on the DL.
Like I mentioned early on, I had moved to a new city for graduate school and everyone else in my tiny program was also from out of state. Honestly, I was just hoping to meet some people to hang out with so I could get to know the city better.
I want to go back and give you a little background about how I fell in love with this Southern stud!
First of all…look at that face:
(Cheese ball) Ow ow!!!
We actually met in Little Rock, Arkansas. I was in grad school and Mr. Squirrel was working as a graphic designer. As a Midwestern girl, Arkansas was a whole new world for me. I learned about rodeos, duck hunting, and the Hogs (Razorback football). It was great to have so many new experiences, but as a fast-paced, country-music hater, I just wasn’t connecting with the menfolk.
In comes my Southern stud! Mr. Squirrel honestly has all the best qualities of the South (and he smells good…bonus points!). His mom raised him to be a true gentleman. Two and a half years later, he still opens my car door. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It’s to the point where I get mad at him if we are in a rush because he still does it. Mr. Squirrel is just a happy-go-lucky guy who loves being creative, jamming to good music, and riding his bike. After living in Arkansas for his entire life, Mr. Squirrel was itching to move away to a bigger city.
I wish I was joking, but this is a question Mr. Squirrel really asked me.
Here I am, with a GOR-geous ring on my finger, and my fiance is asking me to define a wedding. Hmm. Maybe he should’ve thought about this on the front end?
So here’s the back story…
I come from a VERY large, VERY loud Catholic family. I have six siblings and about 60 first cousins. This is just the immediate family, plus SIL and BIL. Here we are in our full Squirrel glory:
Mr. A is the only person I have ever dated.
I know that sounds weird, and I guess I should explain that I’ve been on “dates” with other guys in the past, but a good majority of them didn’t go past our first time out together, and certainly none of them went to a third or fourth date. I honestly didn’t set out with the “marry the first man you get into a relationship with” plan when I headed off to college; in fact, having never dated anyone in high school, I figured my best bet was finding someone after I was a well-established adult who had taken her twenties by storm, a la the lovely Miss Camel. That was, of course, if I ever ended up finding someone to begin with.
I distinctly remember the sixteen-year-old version of myself sitting on my parents’ living room floor, confessing to my mom through steadfast tears that I would “never find a guy who likes me” and that “no one will ever want to marry me.” My mom, being the fervent trooper and voice of reason that she is, told me I was being completely silly. I didn’t believe her, of course, because when you’re sixteen and no boy has ever asked you to be his girlfriend, moms are never right about anything. However, as soon as you move away and start to become your own person, you start to realize that Mom was always right. At least mine was.
After I graduated high school, the overemotional, unreasonable, younger version of me had already all but given up on the idea of being in a relationship with someone. Being the oldest child and something of a homebody, moving away to college was a big deal for me; much to my parents’ surprise, I handled the transition better than anticipated and was soon making friends and finding my place in the world. I don’t know why they thought I wasn’t going to be able to handle living away from home—just because I didn’t go out and socialize with people didn’t mean I couldn’t. Weirdos. I joined a Christian sorority on campus and experienced getting to know wonderful and diverse girls from all over the state, many of whom were always keeping their eyes peeled for their knights in shining armor. For some of them, finding husbands was their only reason for coming to college in the first place. While that sentiment didn’t necessarily sit well with me, I did make fast friends with a few girls in the sorority who had similar outlooks on life as mine.
Raise your hand if you really, really dislike moving! (My hand is raised high in the air.)
Two weeks before the wedding, Mr. Wallaby and I were busy as bees (teehee) lugging all of my belongings from my apartment to my car, driving the 15-minute distance between my apartment and his bachelor pad house, and combining our possessions in our new shared home. (OK, confession time: my possessions consist mostly of clothes, books, college textbooks, way too many cosmetics, and the last three years’ issues of The New Yorker.)
My trusty Subaru has been through four moves (not including my move from Seattle to Houston, which was covered by my company’s relocation package). Every year of college my best friends and I rented a different house off campus; at some point during the year, we would discover something pretty bad about the house (e.g., mold problems, super-creepy neighbors, loud frat next door) and we’d scout out a new rental house when the lease was up. And so every summer we would bribe our strongest male friends with pizza, and with their help we’d move all of our stuff from one house to the next.
When I met Mr. Wallaby, I was living in a two-bedroom apartment with an old friend I had interned with. Mr. W helped me move yet again to a new (cheaper) apartment a year ago, and I’ve spent the last year rooming with Bridesmaid C, one of my BFFs from high school. In October, I moved for the final time as a single girl. Mr. W is a lucky guy to inherit all of this stuff:
Although I’ve written a lot of posts lately on DIY projects and small frivolous details, Mr. Wallaby and I also spent a lot of time preparing for our life together. After all, it’s ultimately about the marriage, not the wedding, right?! Whenever we’re with married couples we seek out their advice for maintaining a healthy relationship that lasts. We look up to both of our sets of parents who are happily married after around 30 years. (Even more rare—my grandparents were married almost 60 years before my grandpa passed away! How sweet is that?!) And when we found out that my church offers pre-marriage classes and counseling, we gladly signed up.
I attend a Presbyterian church, and the church offers a “Looking Toward Marriage” class twice a year. The class lasts six weeks, and it is designed to help engaged couples prepare for the hurdles of marriage: family-of-origin differences, finances, intimacy, the spiritual covenant, parenting, etc. Even though Mr. Wallaby and I felt like we had discussed everything (joint finances! three kids someday! retire early! Christmas traditions!) we learned so much from those six classes. Each week a different couple from the church spoke about a particular topic, so we heard from a pretty varied sample of couples with totally different experiences and advice. We even had a binder with “homework assignments,” which kept the discussions flowing at home too. The last week, the couple that coordinated the whole class hosted a dinner party at their house, and we met several married couples who are graduates from the “Looking Toward Marriage” class. I thought it was awesome to hear how the class helped them work out some of their issues and prepare for some of the challenges that would arise in their first few years of marriage.
Warning: This is a text-heavy post! Suggested reading times include while sipping your favorite morning beverage, on your lunch break, or at home on the couch.
So last Thursday we hit the big milestone of 100 days until our wedding and it got me thinking about all the things left to do on my list, my relationship with Mr. Sword, my sanity and my future. Does anyone get affected by milestones in this way?
It also made me think about our invitations, but that’s probably because I mailed them out that same day, yay! A bit early yes, but I’m trying to beat the holiday gifts/cards scramble and while some Chicago friends have already received theirs, I know the Scottish folk won’t get theirs for a week or so.
For those of you in the last few months or even weeks (eee!) of wedding planning, here is a mental health check list to assess how things are going. For those of you already married, how did you feel around the 100 day mark?
First up, Logistics:
Do you have all major vendors booked and reserved for the big day?
As a bride-to-be who hates procrastinating and has been told multiple times that I’m way ahead on everything (why is that a bad thing?), yes, I have all my vendors booked. I should probably check in with some of them though!
Do you have time set aside or scheduled to finish up DIY projects and things that can’t be done until the RSVP’s come back?
Yes, I’m spending a week and a half in Minnesota over Christmas and I plan to check a lot of things off my list then! I also plan on tackling our seating chart in mid February.
Are you starting to think about gifts for your bridal party, parents, and other important people?
(…or guy friend, but I just had to give Robyn a shout out!)
This might go without saying, but being engaged has been a really romantic time for Wolfman and me. While sometimes we can lose the forest for the logistical planning trees, for the most part we’ve been able to enjoy the time and really start to look ahead to our future.
But, another relationship that has been strengthened is that between my friends and I. Not just in practical ways—helping out with some DIY, letting me borrow materials—but in the “OMG we are becoming real adults together” way.
Pals after the DC Color Run!
I don’t know about you all, but it’s really been during this wedding planning process that I’m realizing that my friendships are maturing into the makings of lifelong relationships. You grow up talking about getting married, having kids, buying homes—it’s been so exciting to actually see these things come to fruition and realize that these friends you’ve made along the way are here for it all.
Since deciding on a restaurant to host our rehearsal dinner, Mr. Wallaby and I finally made the trek back to The Woodlands to attend our rehearsal dinner tasting! Yup, that’s right—I definitely didn’t think there was such a thing as a “rehearsal dinner tasting” when we first got engaged, but when Américas Restaurant offered us a tasting before we mailed in the deposit, we raised our hands. Free food—heck yeah!*
To fill you in briefly, Mr. Wallaby and I scored a great deal at Américas—Janine, the events coordinator, allowed us to serve a lunch menu instead of a dinner menu, which will be saving us money big-time. She even threw in free soft drinks. Although the meal would still be a significant cost for Mr. W and I, we loved this restaurant and wanted to offer some old Southern hospitality for our out-of-towners who would be arriving the day before the wedding. Américas serves Southern American fare, and the menu that we chose is named after Iguazu Falls, an incredibly stunning waterfall on the border of Brazil and Argentina.
Here is the mouth-watering “Iguazu menu” that we’d be serving:
Appetizer: Plantain chips and chimichurri
Americans appetizers…. mmmmmm. Personal photo.
A short six months ago around five pm, I walked down the aisle of William and Mary’s Wren Chapel toward my groom.
I vowed to love, honor, keep, and comfort him. I think about those vows every day.
When I last left off, I had realized that I had a huge crush on Mr. C and it was becoming problematic. I was still in a long-term, long-distance relationship and I had several friends and family members warn me not to date a coworker. The ensuing weeks really mimic Jim and Pam’s relationship in the first few seasons of the TV show The Office.
|Jim and Pam—one of TV’s most adorable couples. (source)|
But without the awesomness of Dwight Schrute. Or Creed. Actually, there is a guy at work who reminds me a little of Creed.Mr. Camel and I spend a lot of time casting our co-workers into different roles from The Office.
We would have so much fun at work, and have such a huge connection, but no contact in our personal lives. I started to organize group events with our younger coworkers just to have an excuse to spend time with Mr. C outside of work.
We would get drinks on Friday nights, hold elaborate board game events, or just hang out watching football. At each event Mr. C and I would end up talking, laughing, and having fun. But I was still in a rocky relationship with someone else. I felt emotionally conflicted, but after much careful soul-searching, I knew what needed to be done. I realized that regardless of whether or not Mr. Camel was interested in me, I needed to end the relationship because I was unhappy. So it ended. I let go and I didn’t look back. I make it sound so simple, but even though I was unhappy, it was hard to end a relationship with someone who had been a part of my life for four years. Regardless, it was absolutely the right thing to do.
I first met Mr. C when I was a student teacher in the spring of 2009. At the time I was working on my Master’s degree in education. After my first week, I noticed that there was a cute young-ish social studies teacher down the hall. Unfortunately, he didn’t speak a word to me for the entire 12 weeks I was there.
Mr. C often tells me of the pains he went through to start a conversation, but he never did in fear of making a fool of himself (so he says). I would have to pass his classroom anytime I went to the bathroom, the copy room, or the work room. Sometimes he’d be standing in the hallway. We’d make brief eye contact but then I’d quickly shift my gaze to the floor. As someone who hated being called on in class, I know that making eye contact is guaranteed way to initiate conversation. This is especially true in bars and during demonstrations when people are looking for “volunteers.” As a teacher I do it all the time. I scan the room and eventually some hapless student will make direct eye contact with me. Bingo. So for someone as awkward as myself, I try not to initiate too many small talk-type conversations, and therefore I try not to make eye contact with strangers.
Admittedly, I also never said hello because I was never formally introduced to him. I really wanted to have a conversation with him, but the more time that passed without us talking, the more awkward and impossible the thought of initiating a conversation became. It was the inertia of non-conversation. It also didn’t help that he never ate lunch with the other teachers in the work room, which is how I got to know a lot of the other teachers in our department. Overall, Mr. C seemed very busy and somewhat aloof to my existence. We never spoke a word to each other, so he was forgotten soon after I finished student teaching. That doesn’t sound very romantic, but it’s the truth!
I love teasing him about those 12 weeks of failed communication, even though they were as much my fault as his. At the time, he was living with his sister and brother-in-law and to this day they tell me stories of him pining for the cute student teacher with the European boyfriend who was working at his school. You see, one night he had spotted me at the grocery store with my long-distance boyfriend who happened to be in town at the time. At that point he gave up any hope of having contact with me.
Dressed as ninjas on twin day for our school’s spirit week, 2010. We were still just friends at this point! ( personal photo)
When Mr. C and I first met in 2009, I was in a long-term, long-distance relationship with a Northern Irish guy I met while working in Japan. The relationship dragged on for years after leaving Japan, with me flying out to see him in Switzerland (where he was working) and him flying out to see me in the U.S. several times a year. It was complicated and I think neither of us were ever really happy. Being together was so incredibly hard. I know that sometimes it can be a challenge to make a relationship work, but this seemed like too much work—a constant uphill battle with too few good times in between. We were all wrong for each other, totally incompatible, but for the longest time neither of us had the courage to let go. Then I met my fiance and it was as if someone had lit a fire beneath me for the first time. I realized that I wasn’t happy in my relationship, that I hadn’t been happy in a long time. That realization gave me the courage to end the relationship. Even when you know you are doing the right thing, it can still be hard to let go of someone who has been in your life for four years.
After more than four years back in the U.S., I returned to Japan with Mr. C this past summer. (personal photo)