PLD Montage Vol. 2.3: Pre-Wedding Wedding Edition (Pt. Twinster)

To say my life has been taken over by weddings this year is a massive understatement. In the full volume of people that I hold dear to my heart, there are only two other single people, with everyone else now either engaged or married – and most of them are getting married this year. Though we planned an amazing weekend bachelorette/bridal shower combo for my partner-in-crime R back in June, this last weekend was a much bigger undertaking, wherein I needed to plan a bridal shower and bachelorette weekend for my twin sister. And truly, the weekend went better than I could have imagined, and at the end of the day, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Well.. okay. Maybe I would have *tweaked* just a few moments….

I give you: PLD Montage, Vol. 2.3: Pre-Wedding Wedding Edition (Pt. Twinster)

  • We had a full house at my parents’ the night before the wedding, with myself, my lovely friend M, T, three of her friends, my parents and my sister’s almost-in-laws. The original plan for the night was for all of us to enjoy a nice, relaxing dinner together, and then M and I would head to a dear family friend’s house, where the shower was being held the next day, so we would each have a bed for the night and then could be there early for set-up. M and I both had stressful Fridays – she was coming in from NYC and her plans changed abruptly two hours before her train left, where I mismanaged my time and was somehow running errands from 9am till 430pm – so when the wine came out for dinner, we gratefully accepted. And accepted… and accepted….
    Lesson learned: If you don’t pace yourself with alcohol on a night you’re supposed to drive to sleep somewhere else, you end up sleeping on the floor of the house family room, where the calming noise of crashing dishes being washed at 5:30am will wake you from a Merlot-fueled restless sleep.
  • We all woke up bright and early the next morning (yours truly at the aforementioned 5:30am), shared coffee and breakfast on the deck in the beautiful weather, and planned to get to the shower location by around 10am for last minute set-up and to heat up the food. I was starting to get somewhat eager/anxious for the rest of the weekend, so my usual two-to-three cups of coffee somehow turned into four and a half. Then I had to get in a convertible and drive the 10 minutes to the shower location with my recently-done hair and flowers picked from the garden, all while in a black dress in the sunshine.
    Lesson learned: Coffee makes you sweaty and shaky, which doesn’t help when you’re driving a convertible with sun beating down on your black dress, which in turn makes you more sweaty, and also convertibles mess up hair. TL;DR: No part of my morning was well thought-out or planned.
  • Set-up actually went incredibly smoothly, and we had popped the first bottle of champagne by 11am, drinking slowly to savor the last few minutes of calm before the 40+ guests arrived. The main event of the shower, the CREPE TRUCK, was running late, but eventually made it, and I was really looking forward to a ham and cheese crepe, as I hadn’t eaten much that morning due to nerves and too much coffee. Then crepe truck man proceeds to tell us that he has: forgotten ice, forgotten all of the savory ingredients, brought one can of whipped cream for 40 people, informed us that setting up the stand was going to take 40 minutes, oh, and he let it slip that he may have been “a little hungover.”
    Lesson learned: Always trust and emulate your mother – not only had Mama B planned ahead and made enough quiche and salad to feed an army (“just in case people don’t want crepes!”), but after exchanging a few words Idiot Crepe Boy, she got them to waive the fee for the truck and send us an IOU for our next party. She’s the best.
  • A few weeks before the shower, T and I were texting and she sent the most bridezilla thing that’s come out of her mouth since getting engaged: “Dude, I’m at a shower and we’ve been sitting in the sun for almost two hours watching someone open presents. If we don’t set a record for gift-opening since you’ll be pre-opening everything for me, you’re fired as my maid of honor,.” Challenge accepted.
    Lesson learned: With a joint effort between the bridesmaids, we had every damn gift opened, cataloged and stored for the taking in under 45 minutes. BOOM.
  • I woke up the next morning after the Moulin Rouge themed bachelorette party that followed the shower, and sighed loudly. M and I had shared the futon in the office for the night, and as it was 7:30am, I inched my way out of the bed so as not to wake her so I could survey the damage in the house and start cleaning before everyone else woke up for breakfast. In walking into the kitchen, the sun was just starting to peek over the treetops in the backyard, calling us to the deck for a slow morning with good friends and laughs about the night before. The house was already clean, a joint effort from all the girls there, and as everyone slowly emerged from the various sleeping locations around the house, we all had laughs and good memories from the two parties the day before. The one thing that was missing? Almost no one took pictures from the bachelorette.
    Lesson learned: Maybe it sucks when you can’t Instagram all of the decorations and hard work that you put into a bachelorette party for your twin sister, but when everyone is having too much fun to stop and stare at a cell phone, you know it’s been a hell of a night.

Two wedding shower/bachelorette weekends down, one to go – next up, H and R’s wedding!!

Perfect, then…

Last week on Thursday, I kept smiling. Despite having worked a full twelve hours, I’d texted my lovely friend M on the way out of the office to complain a little, and it turned out she was around the corner, so we met for some much-needed margaritas and maybe a tequila shot (or three) as well. The weekend ahead promised so many wonderful things: a yoga workshop in Central Park with M and my cousin, who I’d convinced to come in from Connecticut for the afternoon, followed by dinner at a different cousin’s restaurant in Nyack, and ending with a pit stop in FiDi to say hi to the rest of the group, as my partner-in-crime R, her Scot H, my fashionista C and N planned to spend the afternoon and evening on rooftops, drinking in summertime alongside Oyster Bay. I’d also promised D&D that I’d watch their dogs this weekend, so in between all of those wonderful things, I’d get to come home and snuggle with my favorite pug and pitbull, So as I took the last tequila shot on Thursday night and started the long trek back to Washington Heights much later than usual, I had this overwhelming feeling that life couldn’t get any better.

Last week on Friday, as I prepared to leave the office on the earlier side, I kept smiling. It had been a productive but simple day at the office, and I was just on my way out to meet my sorority big for a short walk along the High Line and then a long and leisurely dinner/happy hour at Montmartre, a cozy French bistro in Chelsea. The Supreme Court announcement led to a giddy elation that permeated the neighborhood streets, rainbow flags and songs about love every which way you looked, people gearing up for a pride weekend that celebrated so much more than they’d originally planned. As my big and I moved into our third hour of sitting in the backyard patio, munching on pickled vegetables and sharing a cool bottle of rosé, I had this overwhelming feeling that life couldn’t get any better.

On Saturday, I woke up early and met up with M to head to the Upper East Side, her to babysit for a few hours before our yoga class, and me to drop my things off at D&D’s and hang out with the pups for a few hours before it was yoga time. We rode the bus and chatted excitedly about dinner later that night in Nyack, and bounced in our seats at the chance to train with Superhuman Yogi. I felt my phone buzz twice, the rapid cadence of an incoming text, and checked my phone, assuming it was my cousin with travel plans or brother reminding me to take home the toy he and D had picked up for little miss a few weeks back.  Instead I saw a number that I didn’t recognize but I immediately knew who it was. Before I’d looked at the text, before I looked up the area code to confirm, I knew in the bottom of my heart that The Child had just sent me a text. After thinking all weekend that life couldn’t get any better, he had some fucking nerve sending me anything, especially seeing as today is exactly a year since he told me “I can’t.”

You can see why we call him "The Child" after that final response.

You can see why we call him “The Child” after that final response.

That’s our conversation. M and I debated hotly about what to say in response – should I take the opportunity to be a bitch and tell him to fuck off? Ignore it completely? Play dumb and just say “who is this?” In the end, I realized I just don’t care anymore. Maybe he thought about me for a split second this past weekend but I take that train every day, and I stopped thinking about him months ago. And as I crafted the perfect response to acknowledge I read the text, know who sent it and now want nothing to do with it ever again, I felt an eerie sense of calm. This text three months ago, six months ago, would have put me in an emotional tailspin. And all it did this weekend was make me angry for six minutes and then I didn’t think about it again until the next day, when I was scrolling through texts and noticed I’d forgotten to delete it. What a different place to be in from this time last year; what a different way to approach hearing from someone who used to hold a piece of my heart. What a great way to start a new week, a new month and a new season: surrounded by so much happiness and people I love, no longer preoccupied with the things that caused me so much pain in the past.

Wring it Out

The past seven days have been trying, to say the very least. Between anticipated Whole30 crankiness, a family member in the hospital, then a nursing/rehab facility, plus the general drama that comes with extended time with my family, as well as a slowly-exploding workload, I haven’t had a ton of downtime for anything. Sunday was the first day I had a few hours to myself, waking up leisurely around 7:30, and spending the morning cleaning and warming up for a yoga class at noon. I knew the instructor, and knew to prepare because his classes are a little intense, but the one on Sunday was beyond what I was expecting – and not just from an asana perspective. Like, we started out by singing a mantra while he played along on a weird instrument? I’m sure it was supposed to be moving and spiritual and all that, and don’t get me wrong, I like some hippie granola with my yoga, but this was a little out there, even for me. My thoughts were racing through the whole song: this is dumb, my arms are sore (they were lifted the whole time), why won’t the hungover Australians behind me stop talking, until we started the actual sequences for the class, and all thoughts shut down so I could focus on breathing and praying I would make it through. The class was IN-TENSE – twists on twists on lunges, balancing one two limbs, one limb, planks to handstand prep to planks to backbends. When we made it to the final rest, I could feel my whole body sigh with relief at a few moments to reflect and steady my breath. As I lay there, listening to my slowing heartbeat and counting, four beats inhale, four beats exhale, I could feel all the negativity float out of my body back into the funny limbo where that energy stays,

Something people don’t think about in yoga is that the movements go way beyond… well, the movements. The poses, sequences, flows are all wonderful for toning the body and all, but each movement also has a very specific intention that helps you physically and mentally: negative emotions are stored in the hips, twists detoxify everything, standing postures keep you balanced, i could go on. I’d been focusing on more strength postures in daily practice the past week, still tirelessly working towards a free-standing forearm stand, but in that class on Sunday, my first one since before all the Easter mayhem, the instructor had us focusing on twists: seated, standing, balanced, on our backs, on our stomachs. We twisted in Chair Pose, we twisted in Cow Face, we twisted in headstands and everyone twisted in lunges, massaging the internal organs and sweating profusely as we worked through some emotional and physical build-up in the body. “Wring it out!” the instructor kept telling us, as we went left on the inhale, right on the exhale. “Wring out the negativity and the bad thoughts. Don’t focus on when this will be over. Focus on what’s happening to you right now – the burning, the twisting, the squeezing of toxins out of your body and mind.”

Yoga has this way of getting into my head and helping me realize other moments in life where I may be holding on to needless bad energy. The past week, it’s been difficult to focus on anything with everything happening around me, and it was enough just to try and keep all the Whole30 planning, family time, and work tasks straight. Everything combined meant I was holding on to a lot of crappy emotions, and it started coming out in nasty ways: snapping at my mother after a long day in the nursing center, yelling at the cat for trying to snuggle with me by kneading her claws into my neck, and finally beating myself up over not being “far enough along” in yoga practice, as though there’s a magical endpoint where I should be right now. Much as I can take deep breaths and apologize to the people on the receiving end of my snippy remarks, yoga isn’t so forgiving. If I’m angry, or annoyed, or frustrated, and I focus on that anger and frustration instead of the positive progress I’ve made, I won’t get into things that usually come easily to me, and I won’t move forward, a lesson I’ve carried into many aspects of my life.

I’ve been beating myself up quite a lot lately that I haven’t had as much time to write as I’d like. And even now, this post has taken me four days to put together, and I’m throwing the end of this together in a rare five minutes of peace before back-to-back meetings till five. I can also go into how I’ll probably beat myself up about taking the time to write this now, instead of handling one of the many, many outstanding tasks that need to get done this week, both professionally and personally. But I’m doing my best to stay on the positive side of things for now. I’ll get back to blogging like normal; I’ll get to the level I want to be in yoga. I’ll get to a place where it doesn’t feel like I’m drowning every time I open my eyes, and hey, there’s only two more weeks till I can drink wine again. Everything will happen, and things will feel better. And until that all comes into place, I’ll be twisting left and right and sideways, staying on the right side of a positive energy and wringing out what is keeping me back.

All the feels

I love the moments where I can put my phone aside and just enjoy the freedom of not being immediately accessible. Whether it’s the 75 minute yoga class where the phone is on airplane mode, or yoga in my apartment where the phone is on silent, the moments with friends where I leave my phone in another room on purpose or the times in my apartment I lose my phone by accident and don’t feel like searching for it, there is nothing like knowing you’re disconnected, if only for a brief period of time. Inevitably, after an hour or so away from the phone, I’ll have the same anxiety: much as it’s lovely to be off the grid, what if this is the moment that someone actually needs to reach me, and I’m too busy relaxing to text back? Not that this has ever happened to me, of course. And actually, up until Saturday, I’d never been on either end of that scenario: the person taking a technology break for a short period of time, or the one who knows the person isn’t with their phone but desperately, desperately needs to get in touch with them, and fast. Up until Saturday, I would have been happy not to be either of those people, ever. Sadly, my Saturday morning at home with my Twinster and her fiance turned very quickly from a lazy morning preparing for outlet shopping into the two of us frantically calling Mama B over, and over, and over, knowing she was on a walk with a friend and cursing that her one hour of relaxation fell on just barely the wrong side of an unexpected turn in the day’s events.

My default when I’m stressed out or dealing with an excess level of emotions is to grab a glass of wine or something sweet. It’s the emotional comfort of a chance to numb the scary emotions and soothe a running mind for a minute; there’s nothing nourishing mentally or physically about immediately turning to alcohol and sugar for support, but we all have psychological connections to food and drink that rule our emotions, I need a cupcake since I’m happy, I need a drink since I’m overwhelmed. In the few moments after finally getting Mama B on the phone and waiting for her to rush home so we could figure out the rest of the day, my immediate thought was “I am going to need a big glass of…. Oh.” Because I couldn’t turn to any of my coping mechanisms this weekend since I’m still on Whole30. There was no immediate relief in a piece of chocolate; I couldn’t hold on to the promise of a tall glass of California pinot from my parent’s collection later that night after the hospital visit to help numb the image of someone I love covered in tubes and in terrible pain. All of a sudden the weekend went from a series of happy occasions with family to a series of frantic phone calls and shuffling of plans, picking up a birthday cake I couldn’t eat anyway but now no one would enjoy in the way it was meant to be enjoyed, moving a wrapped present lest it make my mother start to cry.

I thought back this weekend a lot about how I’ve handled the many stressful and scary situations in the past few years: break-up #1, new job #1, break-up #2, my own health scare and new job #2. It’s crazy, looking back, to realize that in every single one of these situations, I numbed the emotions on the outset with a glass (or two) (… or fine bottle) of wine. It’s not to say that I can’t handle stress, or that I’m a raging alcoholic – but think back to the times in the past year that you’ve been really sad, really scared, really stressed or all three at once: didn’t a whiskey on the rocks or a fat glass of cabernet help you calm down a little bit? Did you maybe turn to a cold beer in the summer or a spiked hot chocolate in the winter? It’s part of our culture, practically: the first thing people tell you after you’re done complaining is to take a deep breath and pour a drink. We’re constantly living in these limbo-states where emotions exist but are dulled, a Stepford-level reality that leaves us in the emotional state of a frustrated toddler once you’re forced to deal with the real issue causing your emotions to percolate slowly, slowly and then spill over the edge. Hell, up until this weekend, I didn’t think I knew how to properly process anything without the thin veil of something to take the edge off.

I planned for a lot of things before this Whole30. I planned to bring my own food for Easter dinner and prepared to pass on the champagne toast and birthday cake for my grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration on Saturday night. I was prepared for my brother to tease me mercilessly about my “diet,” throwing Tate’s cookies in my face under the guise that “they’re all natural, right?” I was even prepared to pass on the wine that flows freely in the weekends we’re all home, bringing my own seltzer in the event plain water started to get boring. But I didn’t plan to learn how to cope when you’re forced to feel everything in a scary situation: I was scared, I was upset, I was emotional and I was relieved. And as much as it felt foreign, I survived. I survived sitting with my own thoughts, and I survived coping with a scary situation calmly, rationally (*mostly) and without numbing the emotions coursing through me like wildfire. Aside from improving energy and breaking my chocolate addiction at the office, I was pretty ambiguous about what I was hoping to get out of the Whole30: I don’t need to lose weight, I’m pretty cut thanks to yoga and aside from extra planning, it’s pretty close to my normal diet. And while my energy has been good, I’ve felt on the upside of “healthy” and I’m looking forward to the “turnaround” that everyone tells me to expect in the next few days, I’m really, really happy already for what the program has done for me. Because it may be foreign, having dealt with all of the feelings in such a short period of time, but it was empowering to know that I can handle them on my own: scary, stressful, and everything in between.

Holi-daze

Hay hayy holidays!! For those of us that celebrate Christmas, Merry baby Jesus’s birthday! For those who celebrate Hanukkah, may your lights burn evermore. And for all of the above, plus those who don’t care, here is a picture of little miss in her holiday collar, looking happier than she basically ever does:

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I wish everyone love and wonderful memories to come during this well-decorated time of year. Sending love from my life, to your families, and may all of you stay more sober than I’ll likely be by 4pm Christmas afternoon. That spiked cider really hits you, doesn’t it…

Quick Thoughts: A Beyonce Christmas (ish)

About a month ago, I got an email from my brother’s girlfriend D that was simply titled “Beyonce Birthday Celebration.” Now, if there are any perfect words when put together in the English language (besides “free wine”), it’s those particular ones. The email was an invitation to her pre-birthday celebration, a private class for 15 of us at a Chelsea studio that promised us drinks and dancing to celebrate her big day. D’s actual birthday is on Christmas day, and my family has been lucky enough to have her with us for the past few holidays, so I knew I’d get to celebrate her birthday regardless, but her including me in the pre-birthday celebration was a surprise, and a very welcome one. The party last night was amazing: champagne breaks every 30 minutes or so, toasts to the birthday girl each time, and a kick-ass workout with some amazingly hilarious people, complete with dance moves that I will for SURE be using the next time I’m out. After all, what’s the point of practicing body rolls for 20 minutes if you can’t show it off?

Since D’s come into our lives, she’s integrated seamlessly into my family. This Thanksgiving was the first time in four years she hasn’t been with us, and we felt her absence, her bubbly smile and perpetual cheer. My family is incredibly close, quick to trust and love, but we can be a lot to handle, so I always think how fortunate we are that it’s expanded with people that can handle our crazy, between D and my Twinster’s fiance. Last year around the holidays, I was newly single and very confused, trying to reconcile that instead of it being the first Christmas we spent together, it was the first of an unknown amount of Christmases I would be spending alone. For a long time, I thought this season would be even harder to handle, still single, the only one left. And yet, despite all the insanity of the past year, despite the ups and downs, the highs and lowest of lows, I’m going into this holiday season so much happier than I ever thought I’d be. I’ve moved away from thinking of myself as “The Lone Remaining Single Sibling,” and instead started appreciating that I get to spend holidays with two brothers and two sisters now, knowing there will be a day that I’ll have someone there with me too.

I don’t really know how well our pop ‘n lock skills will translate from “Lose My Breath” to “Jingle Bells” next week, but I have a feeling D and I will be putting on a show this holiday. Maybe in our matching Christmas pajamas, maybe just in sweatpants. And I’m sure at some point we’ll be teaching T the sweet moves, sipping on the ever-present Christmas cocktails, while my brother and brother-in-law-almost will most certainly be laughing and egging us along. Maybe it’s the confidence Queen Bey preaches in everything that’s somehow infiltrated my being, but last night felt like a perfect kick-off to Christmas week and for D’s birthday week, where I don’t feel like I’m alone, or that I’m the lone single girl. Instead, I’m a girl with an amazing extended family and some sweet-ass dance moves, someone with something worth sharing should the right person ever come along.

Turkey Time!

Hooray for long weekends focused on food and sale shopping! I’m hunkering down in Connecticut with the rest of the family for a few days to rest and recharge on this snowy and cold Thanksgiving week. I’ll be back next week with holiday-themed everything until T tells me to stop (she’s very particular about how/when/where the holidays should be celebrated.

In the meantime, here’s a list of the top things I’m thankful for this year:

  • Surviving #eleven25. Check back next week for details!
  • Little miss and her terrible cuddling skills.
  • Salsa Sun Chips.
  • The new Taylor Swift album.
  • And the new videos too.
  • Sharpie pens. (Have you used them? You’d be thankful too).
  • PLDs. My life wouldn’t be half as fun if I didn’t make a mess of it on the reg.
  • WINE. Always wine. All of the wine.
  • The Nickname Posse. You betches make my life complicated and a million times better, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  • Family, and especially my Twinster, for being fully on board with my wearing a jumpsuit as her Maid of Honor next year.
  • This Chronicle. What an awesome time I’ve had writing this over the past nine months.

Until next week – Happy Turkey Genocide Day, all!

Blood and Water

For the first eighteen months I lived in Washington Heights, the best part of my early mornings was the 7:42 a.m. A-train subway conductor. Most people, myself formerly included, don’t pay attention to the subway conductor, either woefully stuck with the same disembodied robot voice announcing that “The next stop is 42nd Street,” or a muffled and disgruntled voice ordering everyone to “Stand clear of the closing doors (please).” But in my first few months in the Heights, I noticed that if I left my apartment by about 7:35, I would get on the same train, where the conductor always sounded like he was in a good mood, and strayed far from the typical conductor script. On Mondays, he’d tell us “Welcome back from the weekend! This is a downtown bound A express train,” and every day at every stop, he’d announce “This is [station stop] – hope everyone has a [beautiful/wonderful/stellar/fabulous] morning.” Every Friday he told us “Happy Friday! Have a warm and cozy weekend.” It was so minor, these little quips, but so endearing that I would race every morning to make that train, just so I could tell myself “Well, looks like I’m going to have an exciting day today!” or “It is a beautiful morning.” In June, all of a sudden he was gone, likely reassigned to another train time or track, and my commutes went back to silent staring at nothing with headphones turned all the way up.

Sometimes people have an impact on your life that is, at a glance, insignificant, but powerful in its own way. From the outside, my morning conductor is just a blip on the radar, but the cheery greetings, without fail each morning, put a little more of a bounce in my step, and every morning I still hope his voice will surprise me as I head down to the Village for another day at the office. I mean, I don’t even know what he looks like. I never introduced myself or saw him walking through the cars, or maybe I did one day but wouldn’t ever know it was him. But there are people in our lives sometimes who are important because we want them to be, and not just because they’re supposed to be. This holds true for things as minor as a usual conductor, and for things as major as the traditional definition of family. I don’t mean that garbage about “traditional family ONLY MEANS a mom and dad,” but the idea that your “family” is limited to the people that share your genes, “blood is thicker than water” and all those great cliches.

This is not to say I don’t have I have the most amazing, ridiculous, and large (quantity, not physique..) extended family. I was so blessed to be born into this clan, the crowd that still tops 30 people for the “small get-togethers” on all the major holidays; I don’t envy T having to sort through how many save-the-dates she needs to send for my dad’s side alone. Growing up, it was hard enough trying to remember which cousin was on whose side, and what aunt lived where in all these family gatherings, so imagine my surprise when at about age 9, I found out one of these families, my aunt, uncle and two cousins, were not actually related to us. CUE KIDDIE LB GASP. The one family I knew by heart, the one who spent summers by our pool, kids splashing each other and adults leaving us be (/drinking heavily, I’ve since learned), weren’t the same as my other aunts and uncles that we saw on Christmas?! “So they’re not our family?,” I remember asking Mama B after I found out, trying to sort through this weird new information about my favorite aunt and uncle. She laughed a little and let me rest my head against her side. “Of course they’re family,” she told me, stroking my hair. “They don’t have to be our blood to be our family.”

This week we said goodbye to a woman that inspired me with every breath she took, a damn good fighter until the very end. We watched her health move like a roller coaster for nearly a decade, the miracles that gave us years we never thought we’d have and the final valley where she chose, on her terms, to stay, surrounded by love and understanding. She spent her entire life surrounded by love; she was so loved by her doctors, her coworkers, her friends, the family she was so fortunate to have and the ones she chose. She was soft-spoken and poignant, poised and caring; she is and was and always will be family, she will always and forever be remembered and be loved and be missed.

Through a sea of black and tears last night, I found my cousin, someone with whom I’ve been so fortunate to share amazing memories since really reconnecting about four years ago: spontaneous happy hours, meeting his “new girlfriend,” going to their wedding, and everything in between. His sister, my other cousin, and I had hugged, and cried, and shared our favorite memories, while his dad, my uncle, kept a brave face for everyone, but my cousin and I just kind of stopped and held each other for a brief moment, and I told him “I’m so sorry” and he just hugged a little tighter. I grabbed his wife’s hand after that, the most recent, wonderful addition to our better-than-family, and told them both I promised to stop flaking (per ushe) and I would make sure we all did another city dinner soon. As I left them, we all looked each other in the eye, and with tears attached to good and sad memories, just said “Love you much.”

It’s a terrible lesson to learn, but knowing my aunt is at peace gives us hope and happiness for her. My heart breaks for my family, and what they’re going through, and it’s making me hold my siblings and my parents a little closer, these sad, cold nights. We’re all so fortunate to have and have had them in our lives for this long, and I will cherish the memories we’ve made and the ones to come forever. It’s a terrible lesson to learn indeed, losing someone you love, but it’s a reminder, and a big one, that family, and the ties that bond us, run so much deeper than blood.

The life of a sister wife.

The next person who dates me is pretty screwed. Not only do they need to impress my family, which consists of a former state police officer, heavily-involved-in-my-personal-life mother, protective older brother who lives across town and twin sister, but they need to impress my sister wife and husband as well. Confused? I’ll explain.

sisterwives

Okay, it’s not quite like this.

In normal relationships, it’s a requirement to impress the family, but it’s convenient to impress the friends. Not that a relationship can be successful if the person’s friends actively hate you, but you can politely keep your distance at social events and choose not to hang out one-on-one to maintain a semblance of acquaintanceship. While it’s absolutely not negotiable that my family approves of anyone I date, I’ve always managed to get by if a few of my friends weren’t enthusiastic about the person. However, after leaning on friends more than usual over the past crazy year, there are a few in particular that are no longer allowed to “accept” any relationship, but will have to “approve” before I’d consider even the possibility of getting serious with someone.

My lovely friend M and I have been friends since I moved to the city, but have known each other since college. To try and describe her as my “best friend” doesn’t do all the nights in the past few years where I ugly-cried on her couch as she fed me whiskey and her incredible homemade meals, justice. She knows more about me than I know about myself sometimes, and her presence in my life has made me a stronger and more responsible (well, mostly)  person. Even better, she comes with another half. I’ve actually known N longer than I’ve known M, and have had more fun with him goading her on in the years we’ve all been in New York. It’s like a ritual, our friendship: M and I talking too quickly about too many things, N offering sage advice laced with innuendo, each of us riling the others up to the point of frustration and then collapsing on the ground in laughter, immature and carefree and wonderful.

We live within 11 blocks of each other, go to the same gym (frequently together) and have been known to experience separation anxiety after 4 days apart. I’ve never once felt like a third wheel when it’s just the three of us hanging out, largely because we’ve all grown together since college and beyond. I was there for them in their brief break up a million years ago, and their apartment was the first place I went after my break up, where N gave me something to numb the pain and let me cry on their couch until I couldn’t anymore.

M, dancing with snowflakes. N in the background drawing penises on cars.

M, dancing with snowflakes. Not shown: N in the background drawing penises on cars.

After the break up, I practically moved into their apartment, helping M with the cleaning and laundry, and helping N with his work. What started as a joking apology (“Sorry I’m turning into your sister wife”) has come to identify our bizarre but wonderful relationship. Spending time with them has given me seriously high standards in terms of what I want and deserve in a relationship – someone you can share anything with, no matter how embarrassing, or scary, or very, very personal (Aside: sometimes too personal, guys. Anecdotes about bathroom habits, while definitely funny, should probably have a line somewhere. End aside).

I was afraid that my relationship with them would change once we couldn’t double date anymore, or that I’d lose myself in single life and neglect my friend because her boyfriend should and will always come first. And sure, there have been a few adjustments to us in the past few months, but it’s all been so, so positive. Someday, maybe I’ll find someone who fits into our crazy marriage, weird anecdotes and all. In the meantime, I’m content to spend time in our (fine, their) king-sized bed, whether it’s Monday television dates or weekend laundry day.

Happy birthday hubs – I’ll leave the presents to your other wife.