Feeling Sour about a Baby Shower

I’m not having a baby shower in the traditional sense. I just can’t. My wonderful friend Rebecca was going to throw me one, which is such a selfless and amazing act it brought tears to my eyes, but when she asked me to send her a guest list, I took a few days to figure out who to invite, panicked a little, and realized that I’d rather eat a live scorpion than go through with it. I felt like an ungrateful hag, but I knew that, being the intuitive soul she is, Rebecca would understand if I could articulate myself.

Why do I not want to have a baby shower? 

Well first off, I don’t feel comfortable asking for gifts, which is what a baby shower is actually all about. And yes, I know the gifts are for the babies. And yes, of course we could use them. But the babies are coming because of me, and I remember that episode of Sex and the City called “A Woman’s Right to Shoes” in which Carrie calculates all the money she has spent buying people gifts to celebrate their life choices, and you know what? I just didn’t want to be part of that problem. If I send you an invite, you’re going to feel obligated to come, or at least to send me a gift, and if you don’t do either of those things, you might feel guilty, even if you don’t want to come, or don’t have money for a gift. But also, if I send you an invite, I’m going to feel guilty, because I haven’t actually hung out with you in months, and now I’m asking you for a donation of your money and/or time? Maybe I’m overthinking this…but I hate feeling like I’m getting something for nothing. I want to contribute. When we lived in a house in Malibu, I loved to have dinner parties where people came and just ate our food and drank our drinks. It was a gesture that said, “I love you and want you to have a good time.” I feel like a baby shower is the opposite: “I invite you to love me and take care of me!”

And if I were to “contribute” to my baby shower what would that look like? Well, I’d feel obligated to make sure every person who donated their time and money to me understood how much I appreciated it. Therefore, I’d need to make sure they are getting enough food and champagne and attention from me that they feel special. But if there are more than four people around, there’s no way to actually make everyone feel special. You can’t do more than make small talk around that many people. And I loathe small talk. I want to talk about things that matter, not fake-smile and nod and answer the same question over and over again about whether or not twins run in my family (I AM ADOPTED! AND TWINS ARE NOT ALWAYS GENETIC! STOP ASKING!). Moreover, champagne costs money, and I don’t want my beloved friend who is hosting to have to cough up the amount of money it would cost to provide all my guests enough champagne to enjoy a baby shower. From what I’ve heard, everyone hates baby showers. I’ve enjoyed them in my day, but that’s because there was lots of champagne. And I can barely afford my own life and the two new ones on the way, so champagne is not in my budget. Not to mention, I would be expected to make all this mind-numbing small talk with tipsy people while sober. Meaning, I am not going to have any fun at all. I am going to be a person who is worried about everyone else’s good time, feeling guilty for getting these gifts and putting my friend out, and I am not even going to have a buzz going.

Lastly, baby showers have traditionally been only for females. That grosses me out. Half my friends are men, and I’d feel awkward only inviting the female halves of couples Kai and I have always hung out with together. So there’s the co-ed baby shower idea. But Kai hated that idea, didn’t want to come, and didn’t want us to invite the man friends. So that cuts down my guest list significantly and makes the interactions more awkward and forced. Not to mention, we just got married, so most of the people we’d invite would have just attended our wedding (another of our life choices they must celebrate), and that just makes me feel even more guilty, like a person who thinks we should have a monthly party celebrating me. If I were back home in Kentucky, this would be slightly different, because I could invite a bunch of family who would be happy to come and be bored and give me gifts. But I’m in LA where people must choose between lazy brunch or an awesome movie premiere or day at the beach…or my baby shower.

In the end, I had to tell my precious friend that I’d rather just hang out with her alone, as the prospect of a shower stressed me out beyond belief. I was 100% honest. She understood.

The alternative to a real baby shower?

My cousin Loree threw us an “online baby shower” where my registry is attached to a Facebook page. That’s something I could stomach, because then people can come and go anonymously and only send things to the babies if they actually feel like it. I made a registry on this place called Babylist where whomever feels moved to get us a gift can do so from any online or brick-and-mortar venue they want and then just click “purchased” and have it sent to us. Or heck, if they already have the item from when they had a baby, they can just send us their used version, which I’d rather have anyway, so I’m not one of the consumers contributing to this absurd baby racket in which so much money is being wasted on things that are pointless or only useful for a couple of months.

Maybe I’m an old curmudgeon, but that’s me. I like fun that costs nothing and is genuine and egalitarian and coed and lazy.

 

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The Honeymoon Phase

I feel like a totally different person than the depressed shell of a human I was during the first trimester. My mood on the whole has gone from bleak and dismal to relaxed and cheerful in the past month or two: I’m in the Honeymoon Phase of pregnancy, and boy does it feel better.

Factors that could have contributed to this miraculous change:

  • HORMONES: They say the first trimester hormones are the worst, and they level off during mid-pregnancy. I say that is 100% accurate. Most of my depressed days did not feel like they were happening for a concrete reason. I cried just because I couldn’t not cry, I couldn’t see the good in anything, and I didn’t want to get out of bed in the mornings. I didn’t feel like me; I felt I was being controlled by some demon (hormones). After a few months, a switch flipped and I felt like my sunny old self again, complete with goals and interests.
  • TWINS: The anxiety and dark clouds didn’t entirely disappear once we found out it was not just a single baby inside…but that revelation was a huge turning point for my mood. I finally had an explanation for my out-of-the-ordinary emotional incontinence, not to mention my double fatigue. I stopped blaming myself and I actually felt excited for the babies.
  • GIVING FEWER FUCKS: Once I realized I am a human incubator of two lives, I realized that I am doing enough. This attitude is one I’ve been on the path toward for years, getting happier and happier the closer I come to not caring what anyone thinks. But now I’ve arrived. Yeah, we need money, and I need to fulfill my creative goals and keep my friends…but my first priorities are getting enough sleep, healthy food, exercise, meditation, and alone time, then, doing all the research, nesting, and procuring of items that will ensure these babies are safe and healthy once on Earth. That leaves me a mere couple of hours per day to do unrelated things. Does that mean I say “no” more often, and that when I do say “yes,” I am less fun, less accurate, and slower in every way? Yes. Do I give a fuck? No.
  • I’M MARRIED: I never thought I’d be so happy to be married, but this ties in with the previous bullet point. I have found the most amazing companion to help me grow, make me laugh, relax with me, and get me. And he has never been so into me as all the days since we committed our lives to each other. I know we’re in the honeymoon phase, but there’s nothing between us that isn’t real as real gets, and that makes me so glad I’ve long since left the days of running around trying to be as “sexy” as possible, exhausting myself with my “adventures,” smiling and trying to impress everyone around me. No thank you! Kai and I took a little honeymoon to Catalina Island a few weekends ago. We had such a great time. One day, we took a five-hour nap, then went to the grocery store and got hot dogs to grill at our hotel for dinner. We ate them, and some chips, in bed while watching a documentary about the Unabomber.

The fact that I don’t feel I have to search or strive for happiness is the most liberating experience. I’ve accomplished about four things today, so I’m not asking anything else of myself. I’m about to go to bed at 9:30pm and have one of those crazy pregnancy dreams, and just enjoy where I am.

I know that the third trimester is probably going to be a whole ‘nother story, and I’m going to have to learn how to live all over again. And same when the babies get here. I just hope that this ability to let it be will keep growing, and though I know it’s a possibility, I really hope the hormones will never again turn me into someone I don’t recognize.

The Kindness of Others

We have our share of worries (mostly financial / job / logistics related), but if we were to focus on the honest truth, it is this: we have everything we need and more. Maybe we don’t have it all figured out, but the amount of love here is astounding, and not just between me and Kai.

It’s coming at us from all directions. We are lucky to have families who want to help us out…but it’s not just those closest to us who have shown us kindness. A neighbor we barely know brought us a load of baby blankets and gear. An ex-neighbor dropped by with a card and new outfits for the twins. People from our hometowns have sent us money and furniture and so much more. An employer gave me some maternity clothes. My girlfriends who’ve had babies have sent clothes and useful items. The whole world is supporting us, it seems.

We’ve spent so much time reflecting, researching, soul-searching, trying to make more solid plans for what our lives will look like in a few months. Kai is trying to go back to school, I’m trying to find a work-from-home job, we’re educating ourselves as much as possible on child-rearing and twin-wrangling, looking to more spacious living arrangements in beach-radius. And, realizing it’s going to be very difficult at times, we are also determined to make this new existence a reality without losing sight of our goals: to raise conscious, thoughtful, proactive, loving kids who know how to love life, and to be conscious, thoughtful, proactive, loving adults who do the same.

And it seems, based on what I’ve seen lately, that the Universe would support that.

How to Cut the Cord?

My mom is beyond excited to be a grandmother. “Mother” has been her main identity in life, and she never quite transitioned back to regular “woman” after my sister and I left the nest. Maybe nobody ever does; that’s what she tells me anyway. She held tight to the label of “mother,” even when both her daughters were grown and out trying to make the mistakes that could never have been made under her close watch.

Needless to say, it was very difficult news when I, at 24, decided to move 2,296 miles away from the rural town where I grew up, where Mom has lived her entire life. I remember the months up until I left, and how she fell to pieces. I still feel the guilt as if her feelings are my sole responsibility, even as I try to understand her feelings from worlds away. How it must hurt when the person you love most in the world wants to be on the opposite side of the country from you. I’m sure that to her, my moving away from Kentucky felt like a personal affront, since it’s rare that anyone in my tiny hometown ever does such a thing. But I simply moved where I felt moved to be, and over eight years ago, I found that Southern California was the first place I had room to grow into the woman I was destined to become.

I needed the thousands of miles to escape the expectations that weigh heavy over southern girls: do your learning in church, don’t ask questions, start a family young or else you’re selfish, get a sensible job and keep your creativity separate if you have any. I needed to completely blow my life to smithereens to find out what I was made of—to understand for the first time ever I didn’t need anyone but me to thrive. And then to find my tribe: the people who really understand this “me” that was underneath the constructs of that southern girl, trying to emerge but not knowing how until I got away.

And now that I am who I am, I get to add the word “mother” to my identity, too. But for me, it’s an addition, not a trade-off for all I’ve become.

My mom also gets a new identity. She can finally put this ill-fitting “mother” label in the back of the closet and don the new moniker “Granny.” I am almost as excited for her as she is, and she can barely think of anything else besides her three grandchildren who are all going to arrive around the same time this summer. She told me that my sister’s and my pregnancies were quite literally the answer to her prayers. (No pressure.)

You see, I want my children to be close to their grandparents. But where I’m from, the gold standard is for up to five generations to live within a couple miles of each other, and for baby and mom and grandmother to see each other nearly every day. My mom sees our relatives living that way and it looks so perfect to her.

I talk to her on the phone almost every day. And almost every day she “subtly” suggests that we move from the beloved city Kai and I call home, and return to the state I escaped almost a decade ago. She suggests this not for her sake, she says, but for ours. We wouldn’t have to stay forever; just long enough to save some money! Then we could move back out here! But I’m no dummy. I’ve never seen anyone move back out here after going back to their hometown. It’s not that I don’t love Kentucky. I do. But the prospect of leaving all I’ve found where my soul is truly happy, and going back to a rural place where I feel like a kid again, where only a few people “get” me, where my children would be indoctrinated with philosophies Kai and I loathe—well, that is what I call a last resort.

And I feel selfish. I feel guilty and selfish for wanting to live where I have made a home, even though I know that living one’s life out of guilty obligation to someone else is always a mistake. So my choices are: give up my entire identity just to be “mother,” too, so my mom can have the identity she wants, or I can stay here, deprive my parents of their grandchildren, and feel like a bad person. But at least I’d be a bad person who is living as me. There is a lot more to question and a lot more to say about this topic, but I will save it for therapy.

Dark with the Light

Today I’ve been having another of my existential crises. It came after a week of mostly good feelings, a week without facing the harsher parts of reality. And of course, it is a law that carefree times must necessarily be followed by a cold slap to remind us of the contrast that makes life interesting.

The easy week went thus: First, my mom and sister (who is, remember, two weeks ahead of me in pregnancy) came to Cali to visit. Mom is a fluffy ball of pure love, and my sister is a blessing, as she is a cohort in this strange, uncomfortable rite of passage. We didn’t do much when they were here: just ate at different restaurants and walked around Venice, binged all seven hours of Big Little Lies, and went shopping for maternity clothes. But it was effortless. No dwelling on impending futures and their scary prospects: just strolling along, enjoying each other’s company.

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My sister and me + 3 inside

When they left, Kai and I had a couple days of downtime, and then hopped a boat for Catalina Island, to spend a weekend honeymooning. Again, we didn’t do much; just what we felt like. We went snorkeling and hiking, we ate key lime pie and talked, and heck, one day we slept for five hours and then grilled hot dogs and watched a documentary about the Unabomber. It was as smooth and clear as the teal water by the docks, no agenda.

But then we got home.
Today was such a Monday. My stupid to-do list waited for me. There’s baby stuff to worry about, like scheduling all these birthing and breastfeeding classes, there’s writing and moviemaking assignments I took on for the love. I’ve still got to sleep, eat, and exercise so I can adjust gracefully to the feeling that, as my sister put it today, “my belly is falling out of my body.” But sitting heavily on top of all that, I HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO MAKE MONEY.

All my income-generating gigs are just too hard to do right now. I can’t go bartend when I’d pop the buttons off my black button-down shirt and can’t stay up past 8pm without slurring my words. I can’t chase toddlers around babysitting for more than a couple of hours, and a couple of hours isn’t really worth my time since what I’m looking for is MONEY. I do personal assistant things for a few hours a week, but I have a freaking master’s degree and I should be able to find a PAYING JOB I can do from home! So I spend hours on top of my to-dos, applying for all these stay-at-home jobs that may or may not be legit: writing, editing, grading tests, answering customer service queries, I DON’T FUCKING CARE, I JUST NEED MONEY.

We’ve gotten married, we’ve got two kids on the way, we’ve been on the honeymoon, we got a joint checking account. He’s working like always. I’m struggling, dying, begging the Universe to please guide me toward a not-awful job I can do from home that employs MY BRAIN to GENERATE INCOME. It’s something I’ve waited for patiently since I graduated from all that schooling, through the eleven years of doing creative gigs for free for the love of art, meanwhile making sheckles by serving hors d’oeuvres or schlepping kids around…BUT THE DEADLINE IS APPROACHING. IT’S TIME THIS SHIT PAID OFF. Yes, I am freaking out. Yes I am rethinking my entire existence. Yes I still would rather have this kind of freak-out than work in an office 9-5. But up until now I had the luxury of time because it was just me. Now it is me + 3. And I am a puddle of self-doubt and guilt and exhaustion.

Serves me right for having a low-stress week, I guess.

 

Glowing? and Other Body Issues

I must have been glowing today, or else people feel sorry for me because my belly is huge. But I think I was glowing, because I was wearing a tank top and Venice Beach souvenir sweatpants, with no makeup and my hair in a pile on my head. I had just done laundry and was pumping gas when a duo of twenty-something guys in the car next to me (who could only see my head above the car, and not my Rubenesque bod), kept checking me out and smiling at me. They continued to do so, the way I remember guys doing back when I was “hot,” and then as they got into their car, they said, “Have a good night,” and watched me as they drove away. I wondered if they could spot my carry-on luggage when they got the full view. Or maybe they saw it all along and just have a fetish for round women?

Strangely, though, right after they left, a car from Minnesota pulled up with a young woman, a young man, and a dog. I was almost done pumping my gas, and the woman, a cute red-haired gal, went in to grab a soda, and when she came back, she just yelled, “You’re pretty!” to me and then got into her car. I blushed and said, “Thank you!” and then her man said, “She really means that, because she only says it a couple times a year.” It was the oddest, sweetest thing, and I must say it made a heavy woman feel good.

Not that I don’t feel beautiful anymore; it’s just different. I mean, this pregnancy experience is like going through puberty in fast-forward. Every day there’s a new surprise, and I won’t lie, some of them gross me out. Every pink part of my body is now swollen and dark. I could give you more details, but it might embarrass you. I feel lucky that my face, arms, and legs still resemble their old selves, and I fear the next few months when they might also become unrecognizable.

At least my husband (who every few days is still saying, “You’re my wife!”) is still into me. In fact, he is more into me than he has been since, like, we started dating. I suppose it’s because I’m a living manifestation of his potency as a man, but he maintains that’s not it and that I’m just “beautiful.” I catch him looking at me in this proud haze, as if in disbelief that he nabbed me, and touching me as much as he can (and not just my formerly tiny boobs, which have now doubled in size!)

I’ve so far kept the stretch marks at bay by slathering sweet almond oil all over my belly every time I remember, which is at least once a day, sometimes twice. Here’s hoping it keeps working. My hair is a mane that rivals Fabio’s. People comment on it all the time. My skin is still remarkably clear, while my belly button is halfway to an outtie. My feet don’t seem swollen yet, nor do my hands. My walk is slowly becoming a bit of a waddle, and I actually have been wearing one of those elastic belts to support my heavy womb if I go on a long walk, or else I can feel them in there, stretching ligaments–it feels like a side stitch, right in the gut.

At 22 Weeks, I’m my own science experiment. I’ve been through more extreme ups and downs in the past four months than ever in my whole life (and that’s saying a lot for me). But I’m more than halfway through now, and hope I can continue to watch with interest instead of letting the abruptness of these changes scare the Venice Beach sweatpants off me.

RIP Hand-Eye Coordination

so don’t want to become a pregnancy cliche who uses annoying terms like “pregnancy brain,” but I have no choice. Pregnancy brain is real.  I have to constantly stop mid-sentence to remember what the end of the sentence was supposed to be. It hurts my brain. I commit so many scheduling snafus that I’m verging on just saying “no” to everything so I can maintain my dignity. But let’s be honest: my dignity is gone. Either I forgot to flush the toilet last week, or some ill-humored reverse-burglar snuck in and left poo in our bathroom. Twice.

And it’s not just my mental game that’s being affected. I drop everything I touch. I pour a cup of water and then immediately knock it over. I burn my face with the curling iron so that my cheek turns brown and people think I’m being abused. I lose my earrings under the car seat. I break the egg yolks when I’m trying to do sunny side up, and end up having to scramble them. Luckily, my stability on my feet hasn’t been affected yet, but my hands are as clumsy as my mind.

I am becoming an invalid.

I Can’t Stop Nesting

My new husband and I have accidentally taken very stereotypical roles in preparing for these babies. It’s sickening, biology.

For him, he can’t stop working. It’s all he does. He is trying to save as much money as possible, imagining all these scenarios in which the babies come and suddenly we have no money at all. I have come to take issue with this compulsion of his a few times, like this week. He’s refereed 16 hockey games in the past three days, even though the past two nights he’s come in with chills and a fever he refuses to diagnose by thermometer. He also refuses to get someone to cover for him because “we need the money.” So while I conjure up all these nightmare scenarios in my head of him in a hospital room, I do all I can to take care of him–making him a nutritious breakfast, making sure he drinks an Emergen-C and lots of water–and I try not to worry.

Meanwhile, my estrogen-filled self is compelled to clean everything we own, to get rid of everything unnecessary, and to organize what’s left to “make room” for these rockers and strollers and onesies and bassinets. I spent three hours organizing the pantry and the cabinet under the kitchen sink. I’ve taken three car trips to Salvation Army so far. I took down the curtains and even took the throw pillows out of their cases to wash. I borrowed a caulk gun from a neighbor and re-caulked the whole bathroom. I washed and waxed my car, even scrubbed the upholstery and brought in a Q-tip for all the cracks. And that’s only the beginning of my nesting to-do list.

At least it feels satisfyingly reassuring when I see my handiwork. Maybe that’s how Kai feels when he deposits his checks, even with trembling hands and a fever.

Halfway There (Gender Spoiler Alert!)

This week has been so full of happiness and good vibes. It just goes to show the truth in the quote my sister always reminds me of: “If you’re having a bad day…just wait. It’ll turn around. If you’re having a good day…just wait. It’ll turn around.”

After we had such a wonderful wedding on Friday, I had a relaxing weekend, followed by a flurry of creative writing with my partners, because we are almost finished with ten episodes of a series that is soon to be filmed and paid for…not by us, but by a company!

Then, Kai and I went for our 20-week ultrasound. It took so long for the doctors to thoroughly examine each twin that the goo they put on my belly started to dry. But it was worth it, because not only did we find out that both of them were good-sized and fully formed and healthy (and crazy…kicking each other in the heads and dancing the whole time), but also we found out their genders!

I am not super motivated to do some gender-reveal photo shoot…maybe because I’ve been sharing wedding photos and baby propaganda for a couple of weeks and I’m pretty sure people are tired of looking at me…so I will reveal it through these cute mice in a matchbox that a friend got for us.

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I took a poll and while a lot of people predicted the twins would be two girls, the majority, including my mom, Kai’s mom, my sister, and my best friends, predicted it would be a boy and a girl. Very few people guessed two boys.

And guess who won?

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Majority rules! I had also felt this whole time that I had a girl on my left and a boy on my right, (though I started to doubt myself a few weeks ago when I met an old Chinese healer man at a farmers market who predicted two girls). But my intuition, as usual, was right!

Kai and I watched the ultrasound screen together, wondering when the doctor would stop measuring bones and finally tell us, and when she did, we felt like we were living in a dream. How could I be here right now, married to the love of my life and four months away from being a mother to a son and a daughter, when four years ago I was at the rock-bottom dregs of despair, and a year ago I was blithely coasting, unsure of everything in my life? There are ups and downs always to remind me how to feel, but ultimately I sense the world showering me with abundance right now, and I’m excited for what else is to come.

Thank God for Wedding Day

Ten Reasons I was in Hell for Two Weeks Prior to the Wedding

I had a really hard couple of weeks leading up until St. Patrick’s Day, which was also our wedding day. I will elucidate the reasons. (1) I began working over an hour’s drive away for a lady who, to put it bluntly, made me feel like I was having a nervous breakdown every time I was around her, such was her anxiety and need for control. Why did I start such a job at 18 weeks pregnant with twins, you ask? Well, because (2) I was broke as ever, freaking out about barely having enough money for my own half of the rent, let alone twins on their way in four months. In addition to that stressful job, I had (Reason 3) about five other odd jobs I had agreed to take on weeks ago when I couldn’t find any work at all. So (4) I was spending every second of every day in my car driving around to these jobs, which meant (5) I had no time for exercise or relaxation or taking care of myself. Thus (6) my body felt like it had been in a trash compactor and all the food I ate was what I packed in lunchboxes for myself through the day or what I bought cheaply from some crappy fast food place along the way. I was changing clothes in my car up to three times a day, depending on auditions or gigs I had. I was meditating in my car, crying in my car, aching in my car. On top of that, I have a writing job (not paying yet, but we have a company interested in funding us) that I actually do want to do. Besides spending time with my man, nesting, doing yoga, eating, and sleeping, this is the only thing I actually give a crap about, and (7) because of all this other shit, I was having to wait til the last possible minute to actually get my writing done, constantly feeling like a mess of a human who was letting my writing partners down. So with all of that, in addition to the (8) standard pregnancy symptoms of exhaustion, brain fog ,and hormonal anger/sadness, it’s not surprising that (9) Kai and I were not getting along. I was a total mess, and I wasn’t ever home, but when I was, he was also exhausted from working so much and just couldn’t be there for me like I needed. It was a lot of struggle. I called every therapist, friend, and family member I could for help. Oh and to put the icing on the cake, I had gotten a callback for a very prestigious national commercial a few days before the wedding. Guess when it was shooting? On our wedding day. So in addition to all the aforementioned stress,  (10) I was terrified I might get the job and have no choice, being so poor, but to take it, and have to reschedule our wedding.

 

…Then the Day Came to Save Us

Needless to say, as stressed and hormonal as I was, my expectations weren’t too high for our wedding day. I was glad to be marrying this wonderful man, the father of my children, but I was sure the day itself would be as stressful as every other day I’d been growing accustomed to lately. By the night before, there was no word from the commercial, so I had dodged that bullet. Our wedding would happen as planned. I had also informed Stressful Lady and all my other gigs that Friday I was not available for anything. Also, Kai and I worked out our arguments, understanding that both of us were going through a lot. The night before, I looked back on all my journals since I’d met him and made him a little book of all the entries where I had said I knew he was the one, or dreamed of marrying him. They dated back to four years ago, after we’d been dating only two months.

When the morning came, instead of waking up at 7, I I left my phone on silent and didn’t check any texts (and, yes, there were some asking “Ginger, can you be here at ___ time to do ___ thing for me?” NO.) I woke up beside the love of my life and the sun was shining in the windows. I made us pancakes and he made coffee, and we played acoustic love songs and enjoyed a lazy morning. His parents arrived as we were getting ready. In our finery, we got our things together and left for the courthouse. On the way I pulled some jasmine off one of the vines on 16th Street and fixed my hair in the car. Kai looked so handsome, and I felt as pretty as I ever have, as if my growing excitement was shining from within. I couldn’t believe how smoothly and stress-free this all was going.

We could only invite twenty people, and those were all family members or our oldest and closest L.A. friends–the ones we’ve shared the good and bad with over the years–and it began to dawn on us how special this getting married thing actually was. Where before, we knew our level of commitment, now, all these people we cared about were so excited for us. Now they knew, too. Even strangers on the street would clap and congratulate us as we passed. It felt like the whole world was rooting for our love, and nothing has ever felt more right.

I was so glad we didn’t have some overblown, shallow wedding with music and bridesmaids’ dresses and a party with a DJ. I really just wanted him, and he wanted me, and it just so happened that there were a few other people who cared to share these moments with us. We ate at a Santa Monica restaurant afterward, and then walked down to Ocean Avenue to our little surf hotel, where the nice guy working there had upgraded us to their largest suite because he was also rooting for our love. Our friends and family drank a little, and I got to have a glass of champagne, and we talked for a couple hours, then they left us to slow dance alone in our room, husband and wife.

In my journal three years ago, I had said that our wedding day would be one of the happiest days of my life. I have never experienced anything like it before, but I was right. Neither of us could stop smiling, and it still feels beautifully surreal to be a “real” family.