I am kind of afraid of an upcoming wedding. This June, my first ever nephew… someone I adore to pieces, who is all things good, and talented, and funny, and kind. His fiancé is beyond adorable, smart, and appropriately sassy. Family will congregate and we will be joyful. They are an amazing group of people. I should be so excited. The problem is, it is in South Dakota. Did you know it costs as much to fly to South Dakota as it does to fly to Paris? I was afraid of Paris for a long time too, then I went and I completely adored it. I have been to South Dakota numerous times and loved it every single visit. I spent much of my honeymoon in South Dakota and it was glorious. I should not be afraid. My husband is one of 5 kids, his mom is one of 9 kids, his dad is one of 17 kids. I kid you not, 19 births, 17 survived. Small South Dakotan farm, many kids to a bed, many hands to help with the work. It blows my mind. The extended family in South Dakota have always been extremely warm, and beyond inviting, I have felt very loved. On our honeymoon hundreds of aunts, uncles, and cousins welcomed us with open arms at the yearly family picnic in Pierre, SD (pronounced pier, not Pierre… as in the boy who did not care). They got me on a horse for the first time (ride would be a huge exaggeration), they created a cozy honeymoon tent for us in the middle of the park (proof below). We slept amongst the offspring of the amazing Elizabeth and Edward Nemec, the parents, grandparents, great-grandparents of the crowds sleeping around us. The youngest cousins outside our tent listening and giggling at what might be happening inside the tent… I assure you, given the setting, it was beyond a G-rated situation. Many relatives have since come visit us in NY, such fun times. Until Fall 2016. In Fall 2016 lines were drawn, labels became tattooed on, beliefs were spouted and anyone who differed in thought became “the other”. People (on both sides) behaved poorly and I became scared of South Dakota. I would joke with the South Dakotan snowflakes… “they will tar and feather me if I step foot in your state”. Nobody disagreed. Hmmmm. Nobody disagreed. A few said “don’t worry, we will have your back”, which is lovely and reassuring, but having a posse is not the way I attend most weddings. One said “don’t worry, they are scared of you”, again, not exactly what I was hoping to hear. Sigh. It will all be just fine. The conflicts are yesterday’s news. I am thinking I should have been a lot less outspoken, less Queens, NY (an ok delivery for the President but not a 5 foot woman also from Queens). I am thinking of course they are the same kind and giving and loving people I met on my honeymoon. I am thinking I am being ridiculous. I am thinking I need to keep telling myself this because I really want to enjoy every second of this wedding… an amazingly joyous occasion where two completely delicious people declare their love for each other. Swoon.