On this final day of 2016, I find myself reflecting on the last 8,760 hours in the rear-view, as so many others are. This entire vacation has been rather introspective and I have already evaluated the year as a whole in a separate post, but I only touched on my biggest triumphs and heaviest regrets thus far. The two go hand in hand, ironically, as my best memory and my biggest shortcoming outline the same event- My wedding day. On April 2, 2016, I made a promise to my best friend, in front of a room of sincere smiles and tear-swept eyes. It was the happiest day of my entire life, yet now as I sift through the photos I have of the special occasion, I have only that- Photos.
I regret not writing through the entire process- The proposal, the engagement, the wedding day. I’ve been waiting my entire life to find my fairy tale ending, have written countless accounts of “almosts” and “could have beens,” yet when I was finally blessed with the real thing I didn’t document the feelings, the words, the reactions… And it tears me apart.
Before I knew that Mike and I were going to write our own vows, I wanted to give him something special on our wedding day, that transcended beyond a few textbook words recited aloud. I started a Word Document when we got engaged, and I anticipated writing him vows throughout the entire engagement process. I was excited to turn the document into a book, along with our engagement pictures, and give him the gift of endless promises. A year of memories.
I only got as far as the introduction.
April 1, 2015
We wake up and exchange morning pleasantries, one always more sleepily than the other. We motivate each other on our workday commutes: discuss dinner plans, rant about the traffic, rattle off to-do lists through our car speaker system. We send quick, heartfelt reminders of adoration throughout the day, we race home to catch up and unwind together before the sun goes down. We laugh, we bicker, we wrestle, we sink into comfy couches and connect, hand in hand, until it is time to close the bathroom doors, set the alarm, and turn out the lights.
Our routine has been perfected: In just one year we have grown comfortable in our ways, more confident in ourselves while electrified by the presence of the other. Hours pass, together and apart, yet we are always connected- physically, emotionally, in spirit. We are in sync in every way: I feel your presence while we move, intertwined beneath the sheets, when we’re standing across the room from one another, when we’re miles apart and the only thing I have of yours is my trusted stuffed companion and a fragrant t-shirt of yours. Every thought I have is of you, every decision I make is based on your judgement in mind… My being is officially incomplete without you by my side.
Yet, I will never be able to fully articulate how much you mean to me: Not in the writing realm, not at the altar, not during a sappy date night or after a fight. Although I’ve spent much of my life trying to accurately portray feelings on paper, I know that our love is bigger and more special than any literary picture that I could ever paint. It’s almost disappointing to know that in one year I will stand before you and recite such few lines, let you take a mere snapshot of my heart.
I want you know everything. You are my best friend, you are the voice inside my head, you are the reason I open my eyes in the morning and the motivation behind my anxious journey home. Every day starts and ends with you, and I feel so truly blessed to have such a strong, capable, incredible human being representing my other half.
My gift to you then, is to articulate this fairy tale in the only way I truly know how. I will not be able to fully express my love as I stand before you on April 2, 2016, and I don’t think I will be able to keep emotions at bay. I therefore will be documenting my vows to you, for the next 365 days. In good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, during rich and poor paychecks, I will write, so that once we are one, once I take your last name, you will be able to refer to this book as often as you need.
So without further contemplation, love, I give you this token of my appreciation, admiration, and anticipation for everything that we stand for- all that we are, all we remember, and all that we hope to be.
Happy One Year Anniversary.
I am posting this excerpt not because I wish to share our personal life with the world, but because if the single entry cannot be published in a book, I want the intention to be highlighted somewhere, at least, in some point of time. This is all I have. And if someone else reads this, sees this, perhaps it will move them to want to write things down. Preserve their own memories in a way that I did not.
My husband and I got in a playful fight while labeling wedding invitations- I spelled someone’s name wrong and flicked the tainted invitation toward his frame. The point of the envelope targeted his eye and sent him into a pain-filled frenzy: He punched a hole in our kitchen wall as I ran up into our bathroom to hide. Twenty minutes later, I came downstairs to a newly patched job and a red-eyed fiance- We laugh about the memory every time we pass by the bumpy band-aid on our wall. I wish I captured the day on paper.
My parents threw Mike and I the most wonderful engagement party- something my mom calls my “mini wedding” to this day. I barely have any recollection of it. They put so much work into making our home a garden oasis for our guests, poured blood, sweat, and tears into the project so that I could have yet another memory in the house I grew up in… I wish that I had documented my enthusiasm for the day, to perhaps one day give them the raw account as a token of my gratitude. I have nothing.
Cake tastings, seating assignment bicker sessions, budget blowouts, music playlist creations, engage-iversaries, it all went by in the blink of an eye.
And the wedding day… That went by the most quickly. It’s amazing that you can spend every day for 14 months planning a few hours- and that’s exactly what it is. I wish that I could’ve walked through my storybook themed banquet hall alone before the wedding, drinking in all of the details. I wish I preserved the day in a deserving way.
My photos, the videos, the ceremony and vows that we wrote, they will suffice. But if I could go back in time, I’d document the whole journey.
Life is so fleeting. Memories fade as new ones take their place. So my advice to all, is to write. Write messily. Write without abandon. Write privately, or publicly. Write about words spoken, actions that spoke louder; Capture the dainty details. Because those are the things that fade first. Subtle smiles. Eyebrow raises. Happy tears.
Those are the things you try the hardest to remember, 8,760 hours later.