When Life gives us Lemons...


Tuck and roll. A repeated theme throughout my life. Maybe you can relate? We have our mind set on how it should go. We have a crystal clear picture of what exactly it should look like. Then... WHAM! Plan B rears it's awful face. And maybe it's not even that awful... but it is not what we had intended so we despise it from the start. We waste precious time loathing the outcome. We might even do some ugly crying. But eventually we know we have to come to terms with what is. So, we suck it up. We make do. We realize we are not the one calling the shots after all. We put our best foot forward and carry on.

I could probably come up with a million stories in my life that have a similar unfolding. For the most part, I am an upbeat, optimistic kind of girl. I will always try to find the good in any situation. But I am human. Like you, I sometimes lose my shit. There are a few times in my life where Plan B just seemed it would be the end of the world. As much as we hate to find ourselves staring down this road... it is fair to say, we can always make lemonade when life hands us lemons.

I am reminded of a very important time in my life. My wedding. A time of planning and happiness. I did 99% of it on my own... and it felt good to be in control. It wasn't elaborate or expensive. But it was a good time, remembered by all who attended.

I relished in every moment of that day. My Grandma and Grandpa were there. Our 2 year old daughter got to be our flower girl. The weather was sunny and hot. Our dearest friends and family were in attendance. People danced and drank their faces off. A videographer captured moments I will forever be able to look back on. But there was something I was hiding that day. A little morsel of shame and embarrassment that no one had any idea about. It lingered like an emotional sinker that would try to pull me down throughout my special day.

Several months before the wedding, I went shopping for my dress. My step-mother and bestie were along for the excitement. We went to a popular bridal "chain" store to search for something off the rack. (I had a tight budget as we were just starting out in life and this would come from our bank account.) Back then, choosing a dress wasn't as epic as now portrayed on the t.v. show "Say YES to the Dress!" Still... I had a vision and knew what I wanted. I hoped to find the perfect white dress for my big bosom, high waist, and round bottom. I grabbed a few potentials and headed to the dressing rooms.

I fell in love with the first two I tried on. Both flattering in their own unique ways. I didn't need to try anymore. It would be between these first two. Seemingly made for me and my body type. After much ado... we narrowed it down to the one that would feel most comfortable as the summer wedding day went on. I made my choice. I brought home my dream wedding dress, smiling from ear to ear that this task had been accomplished so easily. It was empire-waisted, with a simple layer of sheer overlay. The short sleeves and neckline had intricate pearl beading that gave it just the right touch of fancy. I was pleased. I delivered it to our local bridal shop who would be in charge of the minor alterations needed to make it fit like a glove.

I showed up for my first fitting about a month later. There wasn't much to be done so I figured the appointment would be quick. Only one problem. I was growing and my dress was not. The seamstress quickly noted that we would need to make more adjustments than expected. It was way too snug and threatened to tear if I made any sudden movements. I made another appointment for about a month later to try it on again after she had "let out" the seams. I knew what I had to do. Time to focus on shedding a few pounds. Isn't that what most brides do before their wedding?

Not this one. I didn't lose any weight. In fact, I gained. As an emotional eater, food became my best friend while crunching out the details and trying to remain in control. No matter how hard I thought I was trying, the scale continued to rise. I was in denial and did nothing to help myself.

Fast forward to my final gown fitting. 3 days before the wedding was to take place. I undressed in the fitting room and called my attendant over to zip me up once I had the dress pulled over my arms. As she proceeded to zip, a rush of despair flooded over me. I felt her stop mid-back. What was going on here? She was supposed to let out the seams and loosen the torso up some! Clearly she did not do her job! I turned to her with confusion.

"Why isn't my dress fitting?" I asked. (As if we both didn't already know the answer.) Tears began to stream down my cheeks. I knew very well what had happened. Self-sabotage. A dance I was quite familiar with. You could tell she felt just horrible for me. But I knew in an instant this had absolutely nothing to do with her... and everything to do with me. "Jill, I can't make this work. I have already let yours seams out to the limits. There is nothing more I can do to create room." Tears continued. My head hung in shame. My wedding was 3 freaking days away and my wedding dress was no longer an option for the big day. My tears soon turned to sobs and I truly thought I was going to pass out from hyperventilating. My wedding dress was supposed to be going home with me today.

It was a very small, local bridal shop. But there were a handful of dresses displayed on the racks. Very limited choices in my size, 14. She looked over to them and suggested we start trying them on. She very graciously made me an offer. If one of them worked, and was around the same price point as the dress I had purchased and brought in, she would make a fair trade with me.

God had sent an angel. In that moment, I knew every bit how lucky I was to be made such an offer. I silently prayed something in that boutique would work. There would be no time for alterations of any kind. It would have to be meant for me, just as it is. What were the odds there would be a gown in there that would fit me like a glove? A short time later, I had found it. We zipped it up with ease. Not too tight, not too loose. Perfect length for my short height. Empire waist. Victory!

I can vividly recall the sigh of relief that came with finding "my Plan B dress." I hugged the shop owner hard and proceeded home with a completely different gown than the one I had originally chosen. And even though I would shed more tears as I shared this embarrassing moment with my soon-to-be husband, I was eternally grateful this hadn't turned out worse. I could have been completely without options for a dress.

Each time I open my closet, my eyes inevitably peer to the back where I see my wedding dress garment bag hanging. All these years later, I am reminded of my Plan B. I am reminded that even the darkest of moments can shed light and bare hope. I am reminded that life will often throw us a curve ball. It's our willingness to swing the bat that defines us. We have a choice.

This summer my husband and I will celebrate our 20 year wedding anniversary. I have made a promise to myself. When we celebrate our 25th, it will be special. And there will be a new, beautiful white dress worn as we renew our vows on a sandy beach full of sunshine. Do you have a "Plan B" story that worked out in the end?

Share it in the comments to spread hope and inspiration! 💗