Today would have been my 17th wedding anniversary.
That is bizarre.
Seventeen years ago today, I woke up on an overcast morning. It had been a rainy June, and the day before me included an outdoor wedding. With no back up plan. Just my luck.
I was terrified, to say the least. I fussed, and clucked, and worried. Worrying about things over which I have no control is a specialty of mine.
I went about my day. My fiance sent me flowers. Everyone told me how lucky I was.
Around 11:00 a.m. I had the notion that it was most assuredly going to rain, and that I’d better get over it. I sent someone to Borders to get me a copy of the song, “Singing in the Rain.” I figured I’d walk down the soggy aisle to it, if need be.
I went to get my hair done. I’d chopped it off into a pixie about a month before, so it was more a ritual than a necessity. The sky turned a brighter grey. My hairdresser chatted with me about the wedding, and my little boy. About finding a man who would love us both. She told me how lucky I was.
I got home, took a bath. Put on my dress, and regaled my bridesmaids with the story of how it was the only dress I tried on and it cost less than $200. They told me how lucky I was.
We got in the car to head over to my fiancé’s father’s house- where the wedding was to be held. On the way over, the sun broke through, and the sky turned a brilliant blue. My friend Julie said, “Oh my God- you are soooooo lucky.”
We pulled up to the house. My father, who had refused to walk me down the aisle, was out front. We greeted one another. Then I saw my mom, and thought how lucky I was to have had a parent that never left.
She walked me down the aisle. I looked around the beautiful backyard, lovingly landscaped by my soon to be father in law for the occasion. He’d become the father I never had. I looked into the faces of all the people who loved me. The beams of happiness and support radiating from them practically blinded me. My eyes stung with tears, as I thought about how lucky I was to be so beloved.
Toward the end of the ceremony, we beckoned my beautiful little boy up to the altar. The officiant said a few words about us becoming a family. My fiancé pinned a silver pin with three entwined figures on the tiny little tux lapel. Waves of joy and the knowledge that we were blessed washed over me.
At dinner, I listened to the touching and hilarious words of my new husband’s best friend, and my college roommate and was struck anew at what good people we had in our lives. More luck.
I chatted with my new mother and father in law, and my brothers and sister in law – a whole big wonderful new family. Such good people. Was there no end to my good fortune?
After dinner, we cut the cake. A gorgeous affair, covered with a bazillion frosting daisies – my favorite flower at the time. It was made for me by my amazing aunt. It was delicious, and I don’t even like cake.
I danced with my new husband to, It Had to be You surrounded by the people we loved and who loved us.
I felt so incredibly blessed.
When it all fell apart, I couldn’t remember any of that. It all seemed like a lie.
Perhaps some of it was. Some of it definitely wasn’t. And, in the end, none of that matters.
As bad as it got, and it got really bad for a while, as much as the betrayal and upheaval and loss hurt, if I had to go back to that (eventually) beautiful June day, if I had to walk down that aisle again, and say those words, and make those promises, I would. Even knowing forever wouldn’t be forever. Even knowing what it would cost me. Even knowing everything I know, today.
I am the woman I am today, because I was the woman I was on that day. I am free to make the choices I am making today, because I made that choice on that day.
We don’t always get to choose how we get where we end up, but I really love where I am. Even the broken parts. Even the mistakes I’ve made. All of it.
I really am the luckiest girl in the world. Ask anyone.
Happy Anniversary to me.