12 Days

The hall is booked. The food is ordered. Her dress is beautiful, and the rings are simple but elegant. A day that started as an idea, turned into a long term goal, and seemed so far off in the distance it was almost intangible is now a little less than two weeks away. In 12 days, Tiffany and I will stand before my Uncle, who will pronounce us husband and wife.

A little less than 4 years ago, if you had asked me if I would ever be married again, the answer would have most assuredly been no. After 15 long and tumultuous years of treading water in an unhappy marriage, I was ready to spread my wings and see what was out there. And I did. I have told stories and documented instances on this very blog of the rocky road I went down after losing my mother and then my first marriage. It was a long couple of years of heartbreak and rebuilding that led me to a little bar in Whitehall, Ohio in April of 2011. What started out as a simple date to test the water turned into something so much bigger. And it is funny how God works. Because sitting down and ordering that Miller Lite that night, I had no idea that this would be the last first date of my life. Or that the little red headed girl with the 15 tattoos that sat down across from me would be the one girl that would make everyone else disappear. I had long been looking for that girl. She was that girl.

I took John-Michael to a wrestling tournament yesterday. It was an open invitation event, and he placed second in his division. I am so proud of him, and he has yet to take that medal off his neck. But while I was there, in the hustle and bustle of 500 kids battling their rears off for what JM got, I saw a lot of different slogans and expressions printed on T-shirts and banners. Most said something about wrestling with heart, winners being made on the mat, and other wrestling related motivation. But one stood out to me, and where I will be in 12 days versus where I was 679 days ago. It said "You cannot build a reputation on what you could have or should have done". And it inspired this very post. Because on April 3, 2011, I was thinking about what I could do, what I should do, but what I had not done.

I remember thinking, in the midst of my own personal battle, that Albert Einstein had once said the definition of insanity was doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. Despite having jumped out of of my comfort zone when I got divorced, I was finding myself back in a rut again. I was waiting for things to change, knowing in the back of my mind they never would. Not wanting to be a coulda or shoulda, I stepped out of that comfort zone again and went on that date the very next night. Now, 678 days later, I can look back and know it was the best decision of my life. Because after the smoke cleared, she was standing on the other side. And there could be no greater reward.

We often talk about that night. We remember the nerves calming and the beer flowing as we got to know each other. And how each of our lives have changed so much since. She gives me the happiness and understanding that I had been seeking for so long. I like to think I show her how I feel about her every day. Together we have built a life neither thought imaginable less than two years ago. She is everything I have ever wanted or needed, and I wake up each morning eager to see what that day will bring. A remarkable change from just a few years ago when I would wake up and dread the day to come.

As we move ever closer to the wedding date, the anticipation is almost overwhelming. Someone asked this morning is I am getting excited. Of course I am. But not just because of the wedding. Its about the 40 or 50 years after, when we continue to build upon a life that neither one of us were expecting, but both are so grateful to have.

12 days. All is set.

Day # 678 and it is so good to be me..............

Have a great day everyone


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