The Bird and the Bear got Married.



On May 14 in the most amazing way possible the Bear and I got married. It was everything. It was a dream.

We had our ceremony at the church I grew-up in with my youth pastor officiating the ceremony.



We have a lot of family and friends so the wedding guests consisted of about 225 people.


My family is mythically huge. Luckily, Ryan had about ten of his folks show-up or it would have been a small service. His nephews finally made it to Chicago with their families!

nephews w: us
hines jordan

His one nephew, Cannon, is my favorite person in the world. He is like a 6-year-old guru. He  understands everything can change in one second and doesn’t ask, “why?” It is ok to hate everything but love it the next second and only he gets “it”. Him and Ryan are the exact same so they fight often. The kid is a genius who is not understood by many. I feel he too doesn’t understand himself and he understands no one ever truly has to understand themselves. Sometimes it’s ok to just be.


The bear and I wrote our own vows and saying them in front of that many people was much more difficult than writing them! People came from states away to see us unite. It was a deeply memorable, loving event.  My best friend made my wedding dress and it was perfect. She lives in Illinois and had to make it while I’m living in Georgia. She was able to measure me for the dress once before making it while I was visiting for her wedding last October and when we came up for the wedding it fit almost perfectly. Fortunately, she wasn’t afraid to cut it into pieces and tweak it to make quick improvements when I tried it on in the first fitting and it was not quite perfect, as my mother stared at her in horror. The final result was one of the most beautiful pieces of clothing that ever existed.






She was also able to make our flower girls’ dresses and the little boys’ shirts. You can check out her facebook here. I like her. Clothes are really hard to find that fit Ryan and she had his suit looking so good!


 Bear and I did not exchange rings. There’s just so much about marriage in the traditional sense I don’t understand. Exchanging rings is really cruel and makes me so sad. It’s a billion-dollar tradition founded on slavery, poverty, and hatred. The meaning behind the exchanging of rings leaves me quite baffled. I believe it is a very old tradition started by Egyptians but what it symbolizes is wealth and ownership. The myth is the ring finger contains a vein which leads straight to the heart so that is why the ring is put on that specific finger so what I hear is, “I am going to brand you with this ring and later I will remove it and sever the vein to your heart. You are my cattle and I have branded you.”  Well, I am a princess, not a… cattle.  Bear and I chose to get tattoos instead of rings, which is more symbolic of branding than rings but it doesn’t involve blood diamonds.

For the ceremony, a 500-years-of marriage ceremony was done. A select number of married couples with a combined marriage length of 500 years came on the stage to share how they would support us in our own marriage. They encircled us in a ring and blessed our marriage.


My other BFF was able to do my make-up. She has been doing my make-up since before time. I am a pretty awful canvas to put make-up on. I don’t like people touching me, especially when they are coming at my eyes with sharp objects that will cause harm but my best friend is pretty trustworthy with sharp objects, for the most part..




One of my bridesmaids was able to sing our first dance! My favorite part. We chose Tom T. Hall’s, “I Love”…because we listen to it every day. The bridesmaid who sang it is the one who made me realize Ryan might be something real special and that is why it was my favorite part.


The Bear and I arrived in Illinois three weeks before the wedding. We took the greyhound which I loved but the Bear wasn’t as thrilled about. It was pretty unremarkable, but Bear and I were able to travel just the two of us — a feat I thought would have been much more difficult or impossible. You can read that article here. Those were very stressful three weeks. Weddings are stressful. The bear and I had planned to go to our favorite restaurant in Chicago and gorge ourselves on eggrolls and be merry and care free the entire time, instead we ended up arguing about diabetes and seating charts the whole time and having a Harry Potter marathon.


My bachelorette party was two weeks before the wedding in Illinois.  I don’t understand the whole tradition of modern bachelorette parties, like seriously we have to go see some penises flailing about on this very specific night just because the ‘60s happened. I think not. I understand bachelor parties to a point, this is a sensible tradition, but the modern bachelorette was not even conceived of until the 90s. Before that it a was ladies’ luncheon, which I fully understand. I dig my ladies and I dig luncheon-ing and marriage- with all the wife stuff that happens-makes time for lunching with the ladies scarce and that’s what I will miss about my single life — not going to bars or the strip club or drinking from penis straws, which I do not plan on not doing because I’m now married and am very confused by anyone who would stop such daily single activities.


As chaotic as I am sometimes, I need everything to make sense. Chaos always makes sense, I needed a bachelorette that made sense to me. I grew-up in the hospital. My parents were my everything! My grandmother was my everything! My friends were my everything!




I have the worst memory ever especially of my childhood, I have chosen to erase those storage bins located deep inside my medial temporal lobe. I am lucky enough to remember my family and friends always being able to be by my side at this time. A main reason for my family being able to be present so much was The Ronald McDonald House. The Ronald McDonald house charities were created for parents like mine. It is a place much like a hotel but free. My hospital was sixty miles from home and it would have been hard for my family to travel that every day and I was a sick kid and a lot of sick kids and parents don’t really want or need to be separated. The hospital can’t always accommodate a place for parents to sleep, eat, bathe, etc. With those two facts accounted for my bachelorette party, my girls and I were able to cook a lunch at the Ronald McDonald House near Loyola University Medical Center and donate toys to Comer Children’s Hospital.

Ryan, my “niece”, Kirsten, her mom and, I bought all the toys the night before we delivered them.

kirs drink

Kirsten, who is five was able to help pick some good ones since I pretty much have no idea what kids like. We picked out Monopoly, a ball, some Paw Patrol stuff, and movies. About 8 girls were able to help us prepare the pasta dish and deliver toys on that rainy Chicago Saturday.  

ronald mcdonald group


cooking ronald mcdonald pic

At the same time Ryan was on his way to a Cubs game on this wet day. We were supposed to have lunch ready for the guests at a certain time. I have no idea if we were on time. Ryan makes fun of me all of the time because I have no concept of time. I think I do but I must truly not. We made lunch at the House on a Saturday.  Saturday is a really busy hospital day where a lot of folks stay at the hospital visiting so we didn’t see very many people eating.   Many people thanked us and thought it was amazing which I was afraid of. I do not like that Sam I am. I don’t understand the historical significance of the bachelorette. That is all.

After we did lunch, we drove to Comer to drop-off the toys.  


We did a wardrobe change in the peds bathroom and went to a restaurant, after which we stopped at the Public House bar on State and they had a wheelchair accessible bar! A portion of the bar was low for wheelchair users! I could reach my gin and tonic!


Oh! About Bear…The Cubs game got rained out so he drank with the guys in Wrigleyville all day and broke his leg. He’s fine now. Don’t drink. Watch sports.

pubs of wrigleyville


I missed Audrey so much those weeks! I’ll never leave my baby again. She was unable to travel the greyhound and stayed behind with her Granny, who drove up to Illinois the week of the  wedding.



That puppy is a constant love bug.

aud at grams


Being left was too much emotionally for her, I think, or she is just a spoiled brat who needs constant attention and wasn’t getting that without her mommy here so she got sick and it was bad timing for all of us but mostly her.  She has been to the vet twice or three times since we left her, I think only twice because the third time Ryan said, “no, she’s fine” which she in fact was. She hates this Georgia heat and it makes her act differently! I can’t get her to go potty outside. She goes outside sniffs around a bit and plops down and closes her eyes every time so I try to take her out when it is cooler and the so-called Georgia breeze is blowing. I miss the Illinois wind. When it is cooler the sun is down this tends to make it dark and… I don’t get scared but I…. have you met the people who inhabit Georgia? I am weary. I am reminded hourly everyone is petrified of my little Audrey.  My neighbors can often find me in my robe walking her behind our apartment complex pretending she’s Drogon, my dragon, and I’m Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones. We play out scenes for ourselves one day we hope we will see happen on T.V. It’s our fantasy…Daddy could be a great khal but he won’t participate.

aud at grams 2

Bear invented a self-feeder called the Bear Paw. He reached out to sell some on social media support groups a few months before we left Georgia for Illinois. He was able to sell one to a woman who has a daughter with Arthrogryposis. As God would have it she lives in Bourbonnais, Illinois! A street across from my parents! We were able to deliver the feeder in person when we came up that cold month before the nuptials. The local newspaper heard about the story and Ryan and his first client’s special day made first page news!  I am so happy Bear could help change that little girl’s life! I know how good independence feels and I love that my Bear is helping people find that!

You can watch the video for the Bear Paw self-feeder here

I’m so proud of him.

Pretty sure I’d marry him always.






My Maid of Honor and her husband moved to Portland a couple weeks after the wedding so we plan to visit them for our honeymoon at some point.


My bridesmaid who did our song is also living out there.


It’s really fun being home and writing right now. Audrey sleeps all day because of the heat. It’s real quiet and perfect. There’s some really good writing contests deadlined for the middle of this month. One is about the Apocalypse. I have been obsessing on this topic all month because our PA counselor came over for a meeting to talk about our plan if there was such a natural disaster and the caregivers could not “care.” Since I’m obsessing on it I should be writing it.






Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding story! I love that you challenged some of those notions of a traditional wedding. First time i have heard of a wedding with no rings, a really powerful gesture. Congratulations! May you be happy ever after 🙂


So happy for you two. I wish you marital bliss. Congratulations !

Marilyn Switzer

Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed your story. Congratulations.


That was interesting about the ring finger. Didn’t know that.


Wonderful post. Congratulations from the Netherlands!

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