The long run

Today is the Boston Marathon. It is the oldest marathon and is watched in person by 500,000, run by 30,000, and followed by countless runners, runner-wannabes, and armchair warriors. It’s also the place where horror occurred, killing three people and injuring 264 in 2013.

It is an elite event that you have to qualify for (you can’t just register online and make magic happen). It is on many a-runner’s bucket list. And as my Twitter feed and Facebook timeline fill up with fellow bloggers who are making the trek to actually RUN IN THE RACE, I can’t help but feel nervous for them. A lot nervous for them. My stomach hurts.

And this year, instead of being the runner who can’t even fathom the kind of preparation or stress or effort it requires to train for a marathon, let alone BOSTON, I have a solid understanding of what it takes because I’m DOING IT.

No, not Boston (wouldn’t that be nuts?!). And no, not a marathon (did you know it’s 26.2 miles? That’s 42 kilometers, people!!). But a half-marathon. A full 13.1 miles. A full 21 kilometers. I am going to run one. In two weeks.

Isn’t that nuts?

Yes, yes it is.

It’s an idea that I’ve toyed with in the past. Waaaaaaay back in 2010. I was a new mom to Sophie, I was working, and I remembered, in my foggy-no-sleep-mom-brain that I had loved running once upon a time ago. So I challenged Ben (because I’m crazy that way) to a marathon! Let’s run a marathon TOGETHER. We made up a training schedule and we got excited. Sitting in our house. And then we got worried because the number of weeks from now until the marathon we picked weren’t so many…and the number of times we had run in the past weeks were none. And those two things together made us re-evaluate. We would do a half-marathon together! Shorter training time, shorter distance (by HALF), totally doable. It was done. We were running a half-marathon! And we were still sitting in our house!

We went on some training runs separately (remember that baby that we had?). We skipped some training runs together (remember that baby that we had?). And then I got pregnant. And I had spotting. And I was scared. So I stopped running.

Ben kept going though, and he finished the half-marathon as planned, as Sophie, Ben’s mom Dianne and I ran our own marathon, trying to find Ben on the course and driving around to cheer him on.

The awesome, incredible, finisher. Time? 2:45.

The awesome, incredible finisher. Time? 2:45.

Ben is now officially a footie man and only runs medicinally (when and only when he has to). And I am officially a runner, at heart AND practice (it’s not all talk anymore!). And I’ve decided to run a half-marathon. This time Ben will be the one cheering me on while I run my butt off.

Thankfully, I am not alone in this crazy scheme. I’ve managed to brainwash convince two other school moms, Bethany and Andrea, and Toni to do it with me. And thank goodness for that, because you actually have to TRAIN for a run like this. You can’t just ‘do it’, unless you’re Barney Stinson, but even then karma will balance everything out.

You need to have a plan that lasts for weeks. The one we picked was a 9-week map of how to get to the half-marathon without breaking our legs and dying of exhaustion. Which means, of course, that we started running in January to get ready to start really training in March. And if you haven’t done the math yet, that means runs in -20 degrees C weather…and running in the snow…and running over ice…and jumping snowbanks and skating down hills and landing in slush puddles, all to achieve the illusive stamina to get us to the finish line.

You need to eat right, and when you’re a parent, that sometimes feels like you’re asking to lasso the moon while standing on your head and trying to get your insane child to EAT BREAKFAST ALREADY. It’s near impossible some days. But if you have awesome training partners, there are more Pinterest-hunters, more bakers, more people willing to go the distance to find and make the perfect energy ball to take with you on a run or the perfect post-run smoothie recipe, or the best chocolate dessert to celebrate.

You need to stay motivated and there’s nothing like a frigid wake-up call at 4:45 a.m. so you can go run in the near extreme-cold-weather-alert temperatures, all bundled up and wondering what the hell is wrong with you. Or the long runs at night because you’ve run out of time in the morning to complete them and you find yourself putting your babies to bed and then getting suited up to go run for a couple of hours. For fun. Buddies make these moments easier to swallow and harder to cancel.

Seriously.

Seriously.

You need to do things you’d never in your wildest dreams even entertain in your mind as a possibility. And I’m not just talking about running for an unnaturally long time. I’m talking about other things. Like peeing behind a tree (Toni) or in a field (Andrea) or by a swamp (Bethany). Or pooping near a field (me…yep, Andrea, I am confessing – I pooped before our speed intervals last week…because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to finish the run OR I would have had a huge accident…so, I did it. I pooped. And I had enough tissue in my pocket to wipe well. And I went back and picked it up and threw it away after we got home from the run. And GOOD GOD who would have thought we’d be HERE?!). Because when you’re out running, you have choices. But they’re not easy choices, like walk a few steps and go pee, then come back. Or skip home to poop and then do speed work. They’re gross choices, like I’m a billion kilometers from home, so either it happens now, or I make a mess.

True story.

True story.

And when you get to the end of your training, like we have, you have to complete these insanely long runs that make you question your sanity the entire way. Like this past weekend – we had to do our longest run ever (as in, ever completed by any of us EVER, not just in training), and the longest run we will finish before the BIG ONE, the half-marathon. Saturday morning, Bethany, Andrea and I (Toni was sick with a crappy chest cold) tackled a 17 km run that took us out of our city, through a neighbouring village, and back again in around 2 hours and 42 minutes.

Sunrise near the top of the second giant hill of our run.

Sunrise near the top of the second giant hill of our run.

It was crazy.

It's hard to feel defeated when you're running past scenes like this...and they're REAL.

It’s hard to feel defeated when you’re running past scenes like this…and they’re REAL.

It was awesome.

This is what my long runs look like...Bethany waaaaaay up ahead, Andrea waaaay up ahead, and me waaaaaaaaay behind. I'm slow, but steady. I'll get there, but I'm not winning any land-speed records.

This is what my long runs look like…Bethany waaaaaay up ahead, Andrea waaaay up ahead, and me waaaaaaaaay behind. I’m slow, but steady. I’ll get there, but I’m not winning any land-speed records.

And finishing was all the sweeter because we got to share it and finish it together.

These beautiful ladies totally waited at the top of the last hill so that we could all finish together. They're running soul mates and I'm so glad I found them.

These beautiful ladies totally waited at the top of the last hill so that we could all finish together. They’re running soul mates and I’m so glad I found them.

I’m so nervous for the runners in Boston. I hope they run the race of their lives, whatever that means for them (winning or finishing or achieving a PR).

And I’m so scared I won’t be able to complete the race in two weeks (I’m a professional worrier, remember?). But I do know this one thing: I’ll have my running buddies with me and we’ll do it together.

~ Julia

Oh, thank GOD she’s FOUR

Lillian and I have been in a war for the past year. A war of the THREES. Any parent that I’ve talked to has agreed with me on this one point: Terrible Twos don’t exist. TERROR-FILLED THREES are what you have to worry about.

The calm before the storm...don't let the sleeping fool you. Look at the FORM. She's NUTS.

The calm before the storm…don’t let the sleeping fool you. Look at the FORM. She’s NUTS.

Lillian has been three for WAY. TOO. LONG. She’s saucy. She’s opinionated. She’s obstinate. She’s stubborn. She’s given me more grey/falling out hair than anyone. And she’s CRAZY.

All cute.  And innocent(-looking). She's a sneaky, sneaky terrorist.

All cute. And innocent(-looking). She’s a sneaky, sneaky terrorist.

She’s three was my mantra for the whole year. She’s three. She’s three. Don’t kill her. She’s three. Don’t toss her into a snow bank. She’s three. Don’t throw a temper tantrum back. She’s three.

She’s three.

Determination is her middle name. But her first name??? Spider-Man. And don't you forget it.

Determination is her middle name. But her first name??? Spider-Man. And don’t you forget it.

But today? TODAY?!

Today she is FOUR. And I can tell you that I’ve been looking forward to this day like children look forward to Christmas, like Ben looks forward to the first game of the NFL season, like Isaac looks forward to breakfast – with EVERYTHING I’VE GOT.

Because three? Three almost KILLED me. (No, I’m not being melodramatic.) (Seriously.)

Surprise! She's a loon!

Surprise! She’s a loon!

Three was when we started potty training with earnest. Three is when I cried about potty training practically daily. Three was the time where if I had a million dollars, I would have HIRED someone simply to potty train Lillian. Three made me wince when the pediatrician asked me if Isaac was ready to be potty trained (I’m not even THINKING about it at this point. I need a vacation, first. And a stiff drink. Followed by hibernation. Then, and only then, will I consider potty training a BOY.). Three and poopy underwear and puddles and bringing 7 changes of clothing only to have all 7 soiled halfway through our outing brought this mama to her knees.

Who me? YES YOU.

Who me? YES YOU.

Three was when Lillian started her stand-off life view. Where she decided she wasn’t handing over any control over anything to anyone, DAMMIT. Three was the time where Lillian said, “I’m not peeing anymore!” And she didn’t. For the whole day. Three is when Lillian would refuse to eat anything that she didn’t like the look of. “I don’t like it.” And that, folks, was the end of the meal. Three was when Lillian would say, “I don’t want to.” to going to the bathroom, to picking up Sophie from school, to getting dressed in the morning (she’s now the reigning queen of pyjama days because I refused to pick this battle), to cleaning up, to sitting down to eat, to wearing underwear, to wearing a pull-up diaper, to ANYTHING at ALL at ANY moment.

"I don't like breakfast, ANYMORE."

“I don’t like breakfast, ANYMORE.”

Three was when Lillian came into her own with her vocabulary. Which simply means, it’s the time where she could clearly articulate exactly what she didn’t like about what I was doing. Or not doing.

Strong. And shy. Until she knows you. Then watch out.

Strong. And shy. Until she knows you. Then watch out.

Three was when she fell in LOVE with Scooby-Doo on Netflix and Spider-Man in daily life (“No! My name is NOT Lillian! My name is SPIDER-MAN!”).

Her super hero identity

Her super hero identity

Three is when conversations like this happened EVERY morning:

Me: What would you like for breakfast?
Lillian: —
Me: Lillian. What would you like for breakfast?
Lillian: Toast.
Me: With what on it?
Lillian: Banana and peanut butter.
Me: Perfect!
Lillian: NO! I don’t want anything on my toast. I just want peanut butter. And banana.
Me: So nothing, but peanut butter and banana?
Lillian: NO! I don’t want anything on my toast! I just want peanut butter and banana. And honey. And apricot jam.
Me: Okay.
Lillian (after receiving said toast): I don’t WANT toast. I want CHEERIOS! (Cue sobbing because I’ve ruined her life).
Me: Kill me now.

Dirty. Happy. Nutty. Buttly.

Dirty. Happy. Nutty. Buttly.

Three was a war zone of wills, a battle to the death of the most basic of things, like socks and a coat and snow pants and mittens in -30 degrees Celsius weather. It was a knife fight, where I brought a soft plastic baby spoon and Lillian brought the weapons of mass destruction that Bush dreamed up in his sleep.

This is how she watches TV. No, really.

This is how she watches TV. No, really.

It was a painful, brutal, exhausting year, because my ferocious, energetic, stunningly smart, heart-breakingly strong baby, the one who ripped IV’s out of her arm and bounced back from implant surgery, the one who went from no hearing and no words to NEVER FINDING AN END TO THE CHATTER, the one who has been dealt a tough hand and has cleaned out the pot and all of the players, found her inner THREENAGER and OWNED it, like she’s OWNED everything ever in her life. She refused to be born. She refused to be knocked down by a hearing loss. She refused to use the BLEEPING potty. She refused to give in. EVER. She refused.

Sauce-pot to the max.

Sauce-pot to the max.

And yet?

She’s still the best hugger I know. She’s still the sweetest when I’m hurt or sick. She’s still the one that covers me with her special, Lillian-only blanket when I nap in the afternoons. She’s still the kid that wants to help all the time in the kitchen. She’s still the fiercest lover, fiercest runner, fiercest fighter ever. She’s still awesome and incredible and smart and tough and strong and crazy.

Chatting the ears off Grandpa...he never has any clue what she's saying or why she's saying it and she will never let up.

Chatting the ears off Grandpa…he never has any clue what she’s saying or why she’s saying it and she will never let up.

But ONLY when it’s her idea.

And today? Today, she is FOUR.

Isaac used to hate waiting for me to get the stroller inside after the walk home from school. Every time, Lillian would lie there with him, making him giggle, making me less likely to toss her out a window.

Isaac used to hate waiting for me to get the stroller inside after the walk home from school. Every time, Lillian would lie there with him, making him giggle, making me less likely to toss her out a window.

So, my dear second baby, my dear troubled middle child, my dear girl who puts the butt in buttliness, the girl who demands to be treated with the respect that Spider-Man deserves, happy happy day. Here’s to another year, where we will go to school, and tackle the world, and win all the battles all over again.

Being herself. Her awesome crazy brilliant tough self.

Being herself. Her awesome crazy brilliant tough self.

Because heaven help your teachers and your classmates if they get in your way. And Godspeed to them. They have no idea what’s coming for them, and there is simply no way to prepare them…except to hug them and thank them for taking you off my hands.

Oh, my heart.

Oh, my heart.

I love you, Lillian. With everything and through everything. Always.

My monkey-butt

My monkey-butt

Love, Mama

~ Julia

One day

One day I’ll go to the bathroom without Sophie running to say she has to pee too, or hearing fighting from the other room the moment I sit down, or having someone sit on the floor to ‘wait’ for me, or someone wanting to ‘help’ me with toilet paper and then have a tantrum if I don’t let them help the right way, or even…and this one is RADICAL…with the door CLOSED.

Mom bathroom

One day I’ll walk out the door at the time I absolutely have to leave with just my purse and keys and I’ll drive away without a fifteen minute process to get out the door and into the van.

One day I won’t have to do the mom math on when the last feed was, when the last pee was, when the last meal was, when the last snack was, when we gave Sophie, the puker, Gravol, how long it’s been since they had naps.

One day I won’t be well-versed in the delicate negotiation tactics required for getting shoes on feet (never mind the right feet), pants on bottoms, and appropriate wear on little bodies who will complain if they are too hot or too cold, but will make sure it’s the end of the world to get them to wear the correct number of layers for the current weather.

One day it will be quiet in our house, with no one screaming for food, or crying because they pooped themselves, or singing at the top of their lungs, or growling incessantly for NO DAMN GOOD REASON, or squealing because they can, or squabbling.

One day I’ll wear my hair in a style other than Messy-Mom-Bun.

One day I’ll stay clean for longer than five seconds because people who are eating with me won’t demand to cuddle, be on my lap, ask to go pee five times, or suck on my knee while eating a banana.

One day I won’t be asked to put shoes back on, look behind me, or retrieve various items from the van floor WHILE I’M DRIVING.

One day I’ll be the sole backseat driver in our family and I’ll treat the position with the respect it deserves, unlike the five-year old who asks, “Mom, are you sure this is the place?” every time we go somewhere new.

One day I’ll sleep in.

One day I’ll be able to drink my coffee hot, from first sip to last drop, in one go, no microwaving.

One day I’ll be able to watch whatever I want whenever I want on TV (apparently Orange is the New Black is not suitable for children, go figure).

OITNB

Pornstache is completely G-rated

One day songs from incredibly awful children’s shows won’t be playing on a loop in my head…at 3 a.m.

One day I won’t have to worry about my necklace or my earrings or my bracelets or my watch getting stolen/broken/tugged at/yanked off/eaten.

One day I won’t have to calculate the mess-factor of foods before we take them on a picnic or eat them in the van or eat them in the living room vs. the kitchen table.

One day I won’t get yelled at for stopping someone from running into the street, or for making someone poop in the toilet instead of their pants, or asking them not to rock in their chair, or for stealing their boogers, or for telling someone that we have no plans for the day, or for reminding someone that no, Grammie or Nana or Daddy or any of the Aunts can’t come play because they have to work.

One day my shirt/pants/arms/legs/neck/face won’t be used as a booger catcher.

One day “This is disgusting. I’m not eating this. I hate this family.” won’t be the first reaction to the dinner I made.

One day carrying a baby on my hip while hauling a giant basket of laundry up the stairs won’t be the norm.

One day I won’t get bitten or pinched or head-butted or collar-bone slammed or smacked or have my hair pulled WHILE HOLDING SOMEONE WHO WANTED TO BE HELD.

One day my hands won’t go to sleep because I’ve been carrying a baby around the house.

One day the quietest moment in my day won’t be the time I spend walking around the van to my seat while all the babies are locked inside.

One day I’ll never have to potty train again…EVER.

One day I won’t be asked to push people on the swing only to have them yell at me, THEY CAN DO IT.

stuart

One day I won’t have to be super stealthy at night, dodging creaking floorboards, refusing to flush toilets that share a wall with a bedroom, and not breathing while checking on sleeping babies.

One day I won’t wonder where the day went because nothing has been accomplished and I’ve failed at housekeeping again.

One day I won’t wonder when the day will end because nothing has been accomplished and I’ve failed at housekeeping again.

One day I will miss little hands grabbing my pant legs to pull themselves up while I stand still as a statue and make dinner.

One day I won’t be the first line of defense against the owies or the bad days or the bullies or the crappiness that is life for my babies.

One day I won’t feel the tightest hugs, the biggest love, the most hero-worship of my babies every day.

One day I’ll have to call them or text them or email them or Facebook them to find out how their day was, how they are, if they’re eating vegetables, if they’re sharing nicely, if they’re okay, if they’re happy.

One day the trip to bed won’t include retucking and reblanketing and kissing and listening for breathing of my babies.

One day I won’t be given dandelions on every walk, pictures made just for me after every craft time, and birthday cakes made out of Lego and random toys just because.

One day our morning won’t begin with everyone snuggled in our bed until it becomes too chaotic and we’re forced to get up.

One day I’ll miss all of these days and wonder where the time went.

One day.

~ Julia

Guest Post – Never ever

Julia’s sister-in-law and the Sisterhood’s honourary fifth sister, Kim, is here for her second guest post! Her first, about a steamy Leo DiCaprio dream, can be found here.  

Something wonderful happens when you become a parent. Your world changes for the better and your heart becomes bigger and filled with love beyond any capacity that you even knew was humanly impossible. You would do anything, be anything, for your small bundle of joy and often times you do.

iStock_Happy-Family-Large-size

You become that parent that sings goofy songs to distract your child from their most recent bruise; you do ridiculous dances to entertain them while their meal is cooking and partly because you’re bored and full of caffeine. You start judging other parents and the choices they make because they are different from yours and you become a hypocrite of your own words only a few months into parenthood, because you had no idea what you were talking about then.

Yes, becoming parent changes things. It changes you. Sometimes it’s messy and silly and hard and emotional. So to help you remember that it’s worth it and that even if today is rough, tomorrow will be a new day, I’ve made a drinking game just for parents! Because hey – who couldn’t use a little break to relax after you’ve spent all day wiping the same nose, butt and face!?

201102-omag-makeover-morning-600x411

busy-mommy

Introducing…

Never Ever: The Parenting Edition

Rules: Gather your favourite friends with shorties and have a sip/shot/gulp for every sentence that is true. Feel free to add your own statements too!

Never ever have I washed toys that were once in the toilet.

Never ever have I served my kid hot dogs or macaroni and cheese for three or more meals within the same week.

Never ever have I retrieved an object from my child’s orifice that wasn’t their mouth.

Never ever have I expanded the 10-second rule beyond one minute.

Never ever have I let my kid wear the same outfit more than three days in a row.

Never ever have I told my kid to be careful when climbing bookshelves, dressers or counters.

Never ever have I skipped every other page during stories.

Never ever have I broken into my kid’s candy stash from Easter/Halloween/Christmas.

Never ever have I blamed my kid for my own lateness.

Never ever have I questioned if a substance was poop or chocolate/pee or water.

Never ever have I let my kid eat snacks found in their car seat, couch cushions or underneath the furniture.

Never ever have I seen my kid hanging from a chandelier and thought to myself, “I’ve seen them do worse.”

Never ever have I thought, “Unless there’s blood, I’m not breaking up their fight.”

Never ever have I seen my kid doing something dangerous and thought about how it would make for an awesome extreme sport.

Never ever have I had to fish poop out of the bath, shower or sink.

Never ever have I used the same threats on my kids that my parents did with me.

Never ever have I taken my kid out in a Halloween costume and it wasn’t even October.

Never ever have I saved getting out dessert for when my kids are in bed.

Never ever have I pretended I didn’t know my kid when they had a temper tantrum in public.

~~~

Please drink responsibly and think about saving this game for a night when the sitter can sleep over! 😉

~ Kim

If you’d like to write a guest post and join in the Weather Vane Sisterhood fun, email us at weathervanesisterhood at gmail dot com. We’d love to have you!

Expect the unexpected

I had a plan for this week’s blog post – a recap of the date night Ben and I had Friday, complete with pictures. And then, Sophie happened. She put our BlackBerry into a bucket of water. On the BlackBerry, all the pictures from our date night…bye, bye pictures…bye, bye blog post.

Prognosis? I hope it'll be okay.

BlackBerry hospital made of rice. Prognosis? I hope it’ll be okay.

Don’t worry. Sophie’s still alive.

I was more distressed by the fact that Lillian had pooped in our backyard. There are few things as disconcerting as watching your three-year old dropping something brown out of her bathing suit bottoms. I asked what she was doing and it didn’t get any better. She answered, “I put the poop on the ground.” Great. What poop? From where? Did you pick it up? Is it yours? GAH.

I should have known not to expect things to go as planned…the day hadn’t gone as planned. We were supposed to go to a family gathering at our Aunt and Uncle’s, but due to the fun weather forecast (rainy and cold) it was postponed until an August date. Because of that, Ben was able to go help a dear friend move and I got to spend all day with CRAZY, phone-ruining, lawn-pooping children.

Ben came home to me losing it with Sophie because she was berating me over dinner. She wanted hamburgers, I couldn’t find the ones she was talking about, it was getting late, I needed her to eat and she was mad that I was making her eat homemade beef stew over mashed potatoes instead of her beloved hamburgers (also homemade). Isaac had been sobbing at my feet while I finished making dinner and Lillian had been running around dragging blankets, balloons, and various plastic (read: SHARP) toys through the kitchen the whole time I was trying to accomplish food prep. I was done. Cooked.

Earlier in the afternoon, the southwestern sisters had made plans to go for dinner together in lieu of seeing each other at Aunt and Uncle’s house. I was SO excited. SO ready to get out of the house, eat dinner I didn’t make, dirty dishes I didn’t have to clean, and not be around tiny tyrants anymore.

I know...I know...I did this to myself. I KNOW.

I know…I know…I did this to myself. I KNOW.

And then…this happened…

SERIOUSLY?!

SERIOUSLY?!

I decided I should probably be responsible and NOT abandon my family just for some grown-up time. So I ate the delicious stew and mashed potatoes with my tiny army (and Ben! He came home! He came home!). It was yummy and I was resigned.

But then…the tornado warnings ended. So I called (because no texting for me! The BlackBerry is in RICE, remember?) Toni, and she, Jacqui and I went out for coffee and dessert. We sat on the covered patio of Brown Dog Coffee Shoppe (SO AMAZING), overlooking and overhanging the river, watching the lightening show and listening to the torrential rain (or as Toni called it, her very own WATERFALL!). Decaf coffee, cheesecake and apple fritters, and sister therapy. All in all, a not-too-shabby end to the day.

I know as a parent I’m supposed to be the queen of dealing with the unexpected, of rolling with the punches and putting up with the randomness that goes hand-in-hand with having babies, but some days, maybe even just one day, I would love for the expected to happen…for the plan to go smoothly…for that to be the surprise…not the waterlogged cell phone or the poop on the lawn. Just for one day.

*UPDATE – The BlackBerry LIVES!!! It’s ALIVE!!!! It’s a MIRACLE!!! 😉

~ Julia

Fairy-tale ending

Once upon a time, when I was a little girl, every story ended in a happily ever after. And the happily ever after was always very simple and straightforward – find the prince, get married, the end.

As a teenager, I genuinely thought that’s what was supposed to happen, but maybe with a bit more drama. Be alone, find the boy, find yourself, lose the boy, take a huge chance, win the boy, get married, the end.

During university, I had a hunch that the complication probably extended a bit further, but essentially the end was the same – get married, be happy, the end.

Unless your true love died.

During my second year of university, I met my prince, Ben, and fell in love. And in the summer before my last semesters of school, he proposed and I said yes. My happily ever after was on its way.

Funny faces

My prince and me (a.k.a. Ben and Julia)

There are things about marriage and the happily ever after bit they don’t even mention in movies. Or fairy tales. Or anywhere, really.

Here are some of the surprises that I have encountered in my almost 8 years of marriage:

1. You realize everybody poops. And farts. And burps. And wakes up with morning breath. And has disgusting grooming habits. And isn’t as perfumed and plucked, primped and dressed-up as they appear on the first date, or the fifth date, or even the 1-year-dating-anniversary date. Everybody is gross. And when you’re married (or living with someone), this is a shocking revelation. The only character who I think might not be able to hide these things so easily would be the Beast.

2. Jobs are hard. And sometimes you lose them. And then you have no money and you’re worried and now instead of just wondering how you’re going to pay for nights out or your car, you have to worry about how you’re going to support a family. They don’t talk about that in Cinderella. Or in any other fairy tale. Because someone is ALWAYS royalty with either a ton of cash or a crazy number of really valuable assets. Like castles. And horses. With fancy carriages made of gold.

3. You can’t go home after a fight. You’re usually fighting at home, which means you have to figure out how to sleep in the same bed (or same building, depending on how mad you are) without leaving in a huff and just calling or visiting with flowers in the morning. And when you get married, you’ll be told a dozen times that you should never go to sleep angry. They don’t tell you that that means you’ll be up until 4 a.m. and then a right mess for your day job the next day, which means your job just got harder (see number 2).

4. Your spouse becomes your best friend and then you can’t complain to your best friend about your fight. Or trouble. Or thing that’s driving you bonkers. Because whining about your husband, wife, partner, love-machine to your husband, wife, partner, love-machine is just awful. And awkward. And can lead to more fighting, trouble, and stuff that’s driving you bonkers.

5. Sometimes it’s boring. Like when you’ve run out of dinners you want to make. Or you don’t want to watch TV again tonight because you’ve been doing that for the past 7 weeks. Or you don’t want to go out or do take-out because you’re getting sick of it. Or you don’t know what else to talk about because you’ve both covered your day in five minutes flat and now you have a whole evening stretched out in front of you.

6. Sometimes it’s way too exciting. Or full of too many things to tackle together. Like losing your job, having someone close to you die, watching other married friends go through a divorce or infertility or a family tragedy, having your roof leak, your car break down, or a pet be really sick. Sometimes you crave boring and boring is nowhere to be found.

7. You should still date your spouse. Which sounds ridiculous. Isn’t it the dating ritual’s whole purpose to find you your soul mate so you never have to date again? Or is that another movie lie? All I know is that there’s nothing nicer than getting dressed up (yes, fancier than yoga pants and cotton shorts), picking out an actual restaurant (nothing with a drive-thru), and spending an evening together or a day together, where you’re just a couple. Not two people with busy yet boring lives. Two people with conversations to have and reconnecting to happen and a recharge on things. Inviting Mark Wahlburg wouldn’t hurt. I don’t think.

8. Happily ever after is messy. Especially if you decide to have children. Or dogs. Or iguanas. Or collect vacations. Whatever you do with your married time, happily ever after is not the end. And it’s not the beginning. It’s the middle. The bit between falling in love and saying good-bye. The part where you live the life you’re building together. The part that actually counts. And that was probably the most surprising thing for me – the wedding wasn’t the end. It was the beginning of the very best part there is.

Best picture

~ Julia