You know, I’ve been trying to write this post for two months. I would experience a fireworks show in my head; flashes of images from our wedding day which would swirl and circle and explode into colorful illuminations of what I would say and how I would say it. Then, I would sit at this very laptop, place my fingers on the keys and, well, anything that settled onto the screen was never good enough. For this wasn’t just an ordinary day.
This was the best day of my life.
If you are getting married, or have been married, you know that people will tell you what to expect and will offer their best advice. They tell you that it will go by so fast. They tell you to enjoy every second. What I found was that, when you are right smack in the middle of it, your wedding day feels almost like an out-of-body experience. There were moments when I felt completely present, yet others when I felt as if I was walking through a fog or watching myself from above. I remember the first moment when I felt it. Like, really felt it. That holy crap I’m getting married moment. It was the morning of my wedding and I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror in my hotel room. I was just standing there and staring at myself. My hair was thrown into a makeshift bun and I was wearing my white floral robe. As I stood there, I was swarmed with overflowing emotion and I could almost hear myself in my own head. This is it. Everything you have ever dreamed about. Everything you have ever wished for. It’s happening today. And I started to cry. I was standing there, in front of my bathroom mirror on my wedding morning, crying my eyes out. I would oscillate between allowing the tears to flow to reminding myself that there are photographs to come and that my eyes can’t be too puffy. It was real. It was really happening. I was getting married.
I dreamed a long time about this day. When I was a little girl, I would never wish for Barbie’s, or doll houses or ponies which I could ride around and brush its mane and name it Abigail. I would wish that, one day, I would be happy. That’s all that I ever wanted. To be happy. I felt happiness before Brian, sure, but once you find “the one,” any happiness that you have ever felt is intensified a thousand times over. Suddenly, everything makes sense. When you find that person, for the first time, you gain the courage to look forward and, for the first time, you gain the courage to look back. You look back with a fresh set of eyes and with the understanding that, yep, everything that has happened has led me here. For the first time, you are thankful for everything that has ever happened to you, good or bad. And for the first time, you find yourself surprised for even saying that.
So, I breathed it all in.
That afternoon, I met Brian at the fountain for our “first look.” He faced away from me but beneath the sunshine. My left palm grasped a flowing spring arrangement of spring roses and cherry blossoms. My right strummed an ivory tulle veil, which gracefully lifted at the hello of a two o’clock breeze. With each step towards him, I breathed every step that I have ever taken to find him. I breathed the little girl who dreamed of happiness. I breathed the young adult who made the mistakes and, sometimes, drifted farther away. I breathed the woman in her thirties who finally found it and, then, fought like hell not to let it go. This walk along the path was a symbolic one. I was walking the path of my story. This is who I am. This is where I’ve come from. This is my past. And I walked towards my future. Excited and elated and full of hope and promise and possibility, I walked that path towards my husband.
When he hugged me, I felt embraced by the arms of a man who would never let me go. I felt loved. I felt safe. You know, I have read countless fairy tales which begin with once upon a time and end with happily ever after. But this? This was real. Take away all of the fluff and the fancy dressing. This wasn’t a fairy tale coming to an end. This was real love. This was our life. And it was just beginning. From that point on, I knew that walk I just took was the last I would ever walk alone.
From that point on, we were together as one.
Later that evening, we made promises to each other in front of our closest family and friends. Above us, the birds sang the song we all gathered to hear. The trees swayed in applause. During our ceremony, Brian and I stared deep into each other. We leaned into every word. And after we were pronounced husband and wife, I looked at him. I wiped from his lips the first kiss remnants of pink. We made our way through a cheering crowd and, as we took that walk, that walk together, I realized that I needed a new wish. No longer did I need to wish to be happy. So, on the eighth of April, I made one. Not for me, but this time my wish was for him. For my husband.
I hope that I am always enough.
When you are having the best day of your life, when you are swimming in the depths of your biggest accomplishments and your greatest successes, I hope that I am enough to share that joy with. In those moments, I hope that you will always look to find me, ready to share in your laughter and to dance in those moments when you are so happy that you can’t sit still.
When you feel like you are having the worst day of your life (which I hope is rare if not nonexistent), I hope that I am enough to give you comfort. In those moments, I hope that my words are enough to ease your worries. I hope that my touch is enough to calm you. I hope that my love is strong enough to help you through.
If you ever find yourself confused or uncertain or questioning where to go next, I hope you can always look to me with reassurance that we will figure it out together. In those moments, I hope you know that you are not alone. I hope that you take my hand and walk with me.
Most of all, I hope that you will never, ever, need to wish for happiness.
And that you will always find it with me
as I have with you.
Photography credit: Rachel Pearlman Photography