Tuesday, November 17, 2015

August - the days before the wedding

I received my Temple Endowment on Saturday, August 8, 2015. 
That night i went home and wrote in my journal for hours. 
I didn't stop until literally my pen ran out of ink, and even then i hadn't written everything i wanted. 
mmmm, i was so happy. 

On Sunday I went to our ward one last time with Karl (seriously my favorite ward). I drove home with my parents afterward and thought i would just absolutely shrivel up and die when we were saying goodbye. i wouldn't see him for like THREE WHOLE DAYS, HOW WOULD I SURVIVE?!

our first apartment together!
and yes, it really is number 8 1/2. we love that. sounds a little King's Cross-y. 

I got to drive home with my mom and dad. I HATE driving home. My sister Rebecca swears that if she fell asleep in the passenger seat during any part of the drive from UT to central CA, she would know exactly where she was when she woke up without even having to ask. 
I feel the same way. 

It's partly nice, because you always know how much time you have left, but it's also AWFUL because it takes 12+ HOURS!! 

It was Sunday night when we drove home, and we decided to drive through the night (which i also hate, but voted in favor of this time because i was so ready to be home and not cramped in a car.)
the traffic was bad and it was like midnight. that situation equals contention because everyone's tired, and the driver is being scrutinized and the passengers are being annoying, no matter who is playing which of those roles. 
My dad was driving, and i wanted him to stay awake and alert, haha. He gets into a zombie mode while driving late at night where he is totally capable of driving, but he is definitely tired and it freaks me out. So i started thinking of some open ended questions to ask about his mission .

worked like a charm. 
I also got to hear a lot of stories from his mission that i'd never heard before! I was surprised!

we made it home at like 3:30-4:00am. 
I crawled in bed but was woken up at 7:30 by none other than the dang weasel herself, Jenae Jewel. She likes to scare me awake. One of these days she is literally going to give me a heart attack and then she won't think it's funny. 

I spent the week cleaning and packing up my room, finalizing wedding plans, pickign up borrowed items for the reception decor, etc. It was hectic, but good, because i was busy and not sitting and stewing. I also skyped Karl every night, of course, haha. 

Tuesday night my dear dear dear friend Gina threw me a bridal shower in Madera.
I only got 1.5 slices of pizza, because i was talking to everyone, but i wasn't even mad, because they were so delicious. 

 (Holla at my sister Katrina for this striped shirt. adorable.)

Throughout my entire engagement, i just could not believe how NICE everyone was being. EVERYONE. random people that i knew in like the dang fourth grade were congratulating me, and relatives that i didn't even remember existed came out of nowhere with cards and sweet notes and advice and money and gifts and honestly, it was kind of overwhelming. HOW AM I EVER GOING TO WRITE ENOUGH THANK YOU CARDS. 
I was surprised over and over again by the sheer hospitality of some people. 
It was all very humbling, but nothing was more humbling than all the gifts. 
After my home bridal shower (which was SO fun and adorable! THANK YOU GINA!!!) i went home and we put all the gifts in my bedroom and i just cried, because i couldn't believe how generous everyone was being, and how genuine all their care was!

If I ever wondered if the people in my life really loved me, i didn't while i was engaged. I knew they loved me. They all worked so hard to make sure i was happy and cared for. golly, i'm still shaking my head over it. 

On Wednesday, the day before Karl came to Fresno, I did something i'd wanted to do for a while. 
I swear i already wrote about this. If i did, oh well. 

When i was like, 13 or 14, i wrote the name of the boy i liked on my back bed post, and kept a tally of all the months i continued to like him. I wrote the name of the boy i liked before i liked him, too, and tallied the months i liked him. 
I kept this practice for 7 years. 

When i liked a new boy, i'd write his name on the bed post, or on my wall, and keep a tally of every month i liked him. Dumb, i know. hahaha.

But i kept doing it, it was tradition. As i got older, the boys had longer bouts of check marks. In middle school there were many names, each with one, maybe 2 check marks. I never wrote two tallys a month though. So i didn't let myself just switch from boy to boy every day.

whatever, my point is, i had this tradition.

In those years i also wrote song lyrics on my wall. mostly Taylor Swift and mostly during boy drama. After a few months, i realized that i didn't want to be surrounded by sad lyrics. I didn't want my life to be defined by boy troubles. so i wrote an uplifting quote on the wall above my closet, which led to another, and another, and another.

My walls have since become covered in quotes and scriptures that i needed during hard times.

I went away to college, and every time i came home i always scoffed at the lyrics by my bed. Why were the most negative things on my walls the ones i spent the most time next to? RIGHT next to my bed, right next to my head when i slept? It was ironic, and i didn't like it.

So while i was home the few days before i got married, I decided to paint over it. 

Jenae helped me. 
we talked the whole time, about the temple, the wedding, her boyfriend, all my past boyfriends

as we painted over the names of boys who used to be so important to me, i couldn't help but smile. Many of those boys taught me great lessons about myself and love. 
It might sound weird, but i'm grateful for those names. 
I'm grateful for what i learned as i made those marks on my wall. 
Those were real people, they are real people. they lead completely different lives now, most of them, and most of them are much better people than they were when i first wrote their names. 

I know i am a much better person than i was when i wrote any of those names. 

It took 2 coats on the pink wall, 3 on the green. 

We painted over my old life. 
Not with the intent of covering it up or hiding it, but with the hope of a new start. 
I'm glad Jenae did this with me, because she was with me during all those names, and she's experienced those marks right a long side me. In a way i feel like she was just as happy that i found Karl as i was. Obviously for different reasons, but it's true. 

I'm glad i wrote those names, and made all those marks. I'm glad i had a way that i felt comfortable expressing myself, and that i had a tangible representation of my romantic past. 

But i'm also glad that i got to paint over it that day. because now, i'm new, just like those walls. 

Of all the names, there was one i didn't paint over. 

Karl Stuart Horlacher
There were 9 tally marks next to his name, representing the 9 various months that he was at the forefront of my heart. the first was August 2014. the other 8 were January-August of 2015.
9 is my favorite number. 
i like coincidences like that. 
there are also 9 parts to my wedding ring. 
we originally planned to get married in 9th month, September, but ended up getting married on Aug 15. 8 1/2 months into the year. now we live in apartment 8 1/2. 
I don't know, i like number things like that. 

After the 9 tally marks i wrote " + forever after. Love, Melissa Michiale" and drew a heart

When i go home next, i'll add a final quote. one about temple marriage, on that pink wall. then it will be complete. 
It was all quite therapeutic. 

The next day, the night before the wedding, my bridesmaids took me to get my nails done. I've  never done that before, so i was really nervous, but it was fun and i'm glad we did it. It helped me feel like every last detail was prepared and beautiful - ready for a wedding.

When Jenae and i got home, we had pizza as a big family. I read a book called, "My Wedding Day" to my nieces and nephews. It's a picture book of a dad telling his little girl about what her wedding day will probably be like when she gets married in the temple.

I held it together until the dad started talking about how much the groom prepares too, and has been a good man so that he can marry a good woman in the temple. I cried thinking of my Karl who has worked so hard to be and stay a good man. 
He really is so kind and precious, and as i read those lines i couldn't believe this was all really happening to me. 

i felt lucky. 

Then we all sang together and had a group hug. It's a pre-wedding tradition for most of the siblings. I'm glad we got to do it for me, too. 
It feels like Heaven to sing with all my family members. 

After we sang and my dad said a prayer, the siblings group hugged around me.  sweet. Jenae took a selfie of us doing  our super cheesy "Team Hansen" thing. we put our hands in the middle of us and then throw them up in the air, hahaha. 

I promise we're not super concieted. 
We really just want to stay together forever and little things like this, as cheesy as they might seem, are actually motivating, and remind me that YES! we ARE a team! we CAN make it if we stick together and help each other!

I also think we look alike in this picture. a LOT. the top right is me, then clockwise it's Derek, Donny, Rebecca, Jenae, Katrina, Jonathan, and Allison. with a tiny baby in the top left corner. hahaha. 

We're gonna make it!

After the picture, My parents and i rushed to Fresno with the best man to meet Karl and his parents for dinner. we were a little stressed about timing, but it all worked out. I'd never met Karl's father before, so that was nice. Karl's parents are divorced, but they are nice to each other and i actually really liked having the parents together with me and Karl. 

After dinner, My parents, Karl, Karl's mom, and Joseph the best man, and I, all went to the temple together. It was the first time Karl had ever been in the temple with any family on his side, so it was very emotional and sweet for him. I loved seeing him just hug his mom and cry and smile together. it was a tender experience.
When we were about to leave, Karl's mom pulled me aside and told me how much she loved Karl and was happy for him to have found a good girl who loved him. She wished us luck and gave me a big hug. It was sweet. I cried. I was also grateful that Karl had been helping me become more comfortable signing, because i was able to talk to her even if it was really slow and not true ASL grammar.

Before we got into our cars, Karl gave me a giant hug and a big kiss and told me he loved me and that he couldn't wait to see me in the morning and marry me. 

I drove home alone, and cried practically the entire way, so grateful for my family, and Karl, and this life. I kept shaking my head in disbelief, because i couldn't, and still can't, believe how it all worked out perfectly. I just kept remembering times when i felt horrible and totally hopeless, and how much i had grown through the grace of God and Christ and how i miraculously found KArl and how by no small miracles we ended up together. I felt so blessed that he would be the man i marry. I felt happy that i had finally found a partner. I felt lucky that i was loved, truly loved, in  a way i thought was only possible in fairy tales and Jane Austen novels. 

The whole way home, i prayed and prayed in thanks to God for this opportunity, and for this incredible beginning i was about to have. I was, and am, grateful for everything that led me to that point, and i'm glad i learned so much from hard things. 

I slept easy that night.


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