This is what it should look like.

I’ve been tossing this one around for a while, so it’s a bit dated now. But I’m going with it anyway. It’s long, so I’m sending this one off on a jump….

 Those who know me, know that I have long been a skeptic of this whole “marriage” idea. But maybe skeptic isn’t the right word. Or it is. Hard to say. My parents are still happily together, and I haven’t had any traumatic experiences in my family or immediate friends that would make me wary of the idea. Up to this point, I’ve just felt that I wasn’t old enough or experienced enough, or really ready in any way to consider the idea. 

But in the last year, I’ve thought about it more than I care to admit. Maybe because I met someone who I could see it with, and that’s never happened before. I could see it. And the sad part is, after everything, I still can. It’s still visible, but now I have to second-guess myself. Which I hate. I have to question if what I saw was the real thing, or if I just wanted it to be. Or if I just saw his vision of what life could be, and accepted it as the right thing. It’s hard to say. But this summer, I got to see what it should look like.
Back in June, I had the privilege and the pleasure of attending the wedding of one of my best friends. This was the first one (to my recollection), that I’ve attended with absolutely no doubt in my mind. I’ve known Courtney for a disturbingly long time now, and the first time that I met her fiancé, I knew it was the real deal. 
It was pretty easy to see. We were down at Summerfest in Milwaukee one night when the two of them were back to visit from Vegas. Courtney had gone to the bathroom, and he turned to me and said, “I think I’ve got something special there,” and I said, “Oh, she’s special alright” (in the usual sarcastic-Heather tone). But just the way they were together and the way they could laugh and be ridiculous, it was clear what a good fit they were. I saw an assortment of relationships float through her life in college and since, and this was clearly different. She was herself, and happy. There was no anxiety, there were fewer questions, and there were less cross-country phone calls to me on Friday nights. That was a few years ago, and this summer they finally had the party to make it official. And when I say party, I mean party.
Courtney has always been close to her family, and there are a million of them. Speaking as someone from a relatively small family (made even smaller by the far-flungness of some of them), this family is something to see. I’ve never really felt that a big family was something I needed or wanted, but spending a weekend around these people made me reconsider. And yes, every family has problems; mom’s drive their kids crazy, siblings fight and so on; but just to have a few days in the presence of that much love, fun, and general happiness was really fantastic. And I thought, yes, this is what it should look like. A family that truly enjoys each other, celebrating two people who love each other. It was fantastic, and it was something that I think all of us want to find, and can only hope that we are so lucky. 
So congratulations to you, Court. When we first met, you and your pink capris and bejewled tank top scared the crap out of me. And now you’ve set a new standard. And not just because of the eight beers on tap, the epic band, or the nacho bar. All of which were awesome. When I said I wasn’t getting married unless it would be as awesome as that day, I was serious. The atmosphere of the whole weekend was something that everyone wants, at least on some level. It made me think. And it made me re-evaluate the things that I want. And for those of us who were there, who were lucky enough to witness such a thing, it was beautiful.*
Myself and the lovely bride.
*No, this does not mean I’m moving home.

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