Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Real Life Begins, Yesterday...

So yes, I am Mrs. McDowell. But I'm going to save the wedding post for later. One, I'd like to have my pictures back and Two, I'm still waiting for the words to describe the whole day. All I can come up with now is perfect. And I don't take that word lightly! But Saturday May 9th is the only day that has truly lived up to that word. And I'm not just talking about the seen from a far, view from above, big picture, overall day was perfect. I mean every detail, every second, every emotion, every loved one, every heart felt tear, every moment was perfect!!!! And I was blessed by the presence of every person there who shared that day with me.

Onto the the honeymoon…

Originally, I assumed the honeymoon was designed to help unwind and rest after a year of planning, planning and more planning. Well, we did rest and relax and were extremely lazy, but yet I'm back at work still completely exhausted and worn out! So after going through the experience, I've decided that the real purpose of the honeymoon is to gradually ease you back into reality. Not that being served all week while on the most beautiful beach is reality, but hear me out.

My wedding, as stated above, was perfect. It was the most magical experience of my life and I was floating on air the entire time. If I had gone to bed as a new wife only to wake up to my alarm at 6:00am to quietly get ready in the dark and then drive to work where I would remain for the next 9 hours, only to do the same thing for the next 4 consecutive days, I would have been brought down to earth with a loud thud! It would have been worse then the day after Christmas as a kid! But NO, I was whisked away by my husband to a beautiful tropical resort. But yet, here's where the test of real life kicks in.

Amidst the continuation of my fairytale…

We couldn't get Steven checked in at the airport because his passport said McDowell Jr. and his ticket just said McDowell.
We land in Punta Cana and realize we hadn't confirmed transportation from the airport to the resort.
We make it to the resort but were given the wrong room.
None of the special touches Steven had ordered were there.
We weren't given any info of where to go, how things worked, where to eat, etc. We were greeted with a smile and an "hola!!" And that was it.

Okay, so the rest of the week was absolute heaven! We got in the groove of this new place and had no problem adapting to the slower pace! Having 24/7 to spend with each other is something I'll never forget and reality or not, I plan to make time like that as often as I can!

And the real life lessons continue...

Trying to leave, we waited in the airport line for 3 hours while they hand wrote the boarding passes and crossed off seats on the plane.
We sat on the plane for two hours waiting for confirmation from the tower before we could take off.
Once in the air, the captain informs us that we can no longer make the direct flight to Atlanta and will be stopping in Miami to exchange a crew member.
Once in Miami, we are not allowed to leave the plane due to customs and must continue to wait in our seats before we can take off again.
What should have been a direct flight of 3 1/2 hours turned into 3 hours in standing in a line and 8 hours sitting on a plane.
Also, just a note, when we landed in Atlanta after midnight, the only meal we had been able to eat all day was breakfast that morning, peanuts for 12 hours...

So disregarding the beautiful surroundings, spending every second with each other, having someone to cook and clean, as well as serve you, the honeymoon is definitely an intro to real life. How do we make decisions together? How to we respond to stressful situations? How do we react when things don’t go as planned? In the first week as husband and wife, I already learned new things about my husband that made me fall in love all over again!

We ran into other honeymooners who had the same problem of not being informed very well and didn't receive all of the special extra things for the honeymoon package, but they did nothing about it and so they just never got them. I couldn't believe it! On the first day, Steven told me to lay down and rest while he went and took care of everything. (Definitely married a problem solver!) So I did. About an hour later he came back and had gotten us our correct room and had everything else arranged for us and the romance began! What's even more amazing is that not only did he take care of everything, he did it all while being friendly and gracious. And that is what makes me so proud. And even with all the travel strains, we kept each other calm but let each other vent and we made the best of it.

Now don't get me wrong, (I know you're probably gagging!) in the course of a week there were definitely times when Steven had to be reminded that yes, sometimes I am right and I do have a much better memory then he does. And I shamefully admit and realize that unfortunately I am past the point of reason and level headed thinking when I am deprived of sleep or food. :) But really, when you are with some one you love and who loves to laugh, how can you go wrong?!?!

So overall I think the first lesson I've decided to take note of and apply to my marriage is this: If you plan for the unexpected, for things to not always go the way you want, if you know that sometimes there will be chaos, then well, there's really no such thing as unexpected chaos. Right??

So bring it. ;)

Monday, May 4, 2009

My Last Name

In five days I will change my last name. With all the wedding details and planning and honeymoon excitement, it's something I really haven't given much thought too. I know that I'm not really a hyphenated kind of girl, so I will definitely go the route of officially being Lindsey McDowell. And just typing my new name gives me excited, girly butterflies in my stomach :) I think it's beautiful. I think there's nothing more symbolic then taking his last name. Becoming one family, a new family, our own family. I will be his, he will be my leader and protector and provider. I cherish that.

With all that, it's not to say there aren't mixed emotions involved… I am, and find a great since of pride and strength in being, a Dunagan woman. It was instilled early on to know my roots. My father and grandfathers were always telling me stories from the past of my ancestors and the things they stood for and the places they came from. And they are stories of strong, passionate and loving men and women. I've never accomplished anything in my life without feeling an overwhelming sense of connection to my family past and present. Knowing that I'm a part of something bigger because I'm really just a continuation of things begun generations and generations ago.

And yes there are different last names all throughout my family, and it's family that is just as true and strong. But there is something I love about the Dunagan name. I love being identified as the daughter of Brad and Mary Dunagan. And it's such a sense of belonging and pride when people hear my last name and say, "Are you George and Ida Lou's granddaughter?" And knowing that my mother and grandmother took the same journey I am about to, they joined a legacy and took a new last name. But what a name to take! My father and grandfather are men above men. And I am who I am because of them.

But I also know that my parents have been praying for Steven since the day I was born. Praying for this time when I will take a new name and leave my father's. Praying for the man that will love and cherish me for the rest of my life. Which is a remarkable task since my own father loves me more than is humanly possible and dedicated his life to providing for and loving his family.

This all reminds me though of my sister's wedding 5 years ago. I remember feeling a bit of loss knowing that I would no longer have the same last name as my sister. It just didn't really feel right. But I didn't get it at the time! The things we as a family gained were incredible! Her husband is another rock in my life and their child is a joy and blessing that I could have never imagined! So there is definitely too much to be gained to feel any kind of loss. It's like my father had said this past weekend. He said he wouldn't be able to be so excited and joyful about my wedding day if he didn't know this was right. The Lord led me to a man that my father feels peace about giving me away too. And that means all the world to me.

So for this week, even among all the little details left to take care of, I will take time to reflect nostalgically on my life up till now. I will look at old pictures of a perfect childhood, laugh at old memories, and probably cry remembering countless moments spent with my grandfathers and my grandmother who aren't here to see me walk down the aisle and who Steven never got the honor of meeting.

I will also take the time to praise and thank God for,
Bob and Donna Grant, my maternal grandparents who were married for over 50 years,

George and Ida Lou Dunagan, my paternal grandparents who were married for over 60 years,

and Brad and Mary Dunagan, my parents, who will celebrate 31 years of marriage this year.

It is their commitment to each other that has given me the foundation to enter a marriage meant for life. It is their example of unconditional love, hard work, and faithful and prayerful commitments that will be a blessing and guidance for Steven and I.
So I sign off as Lindsey Dunagan and next time I post I will be Mrs. Lindsey McDowell and will begin my journey figuring out what exactly will be The McDowell Way :)