Today, I was sad.
So to cheer myself up, I did what any totally sane person would do: I got my wedding dress out of the attic and tried it on and wore it while I got dinner ready in my kitchen.
|Nothing to see here folks. Just a normal lady making dinner.|
And maybe more importantly, it got me thinking of that younger version of me who wore this dress so earnestly all of those years ago, walking down the world's longest church aisle with the courage only late morning champagne can provide.
What would she think of me, now? This life that I live so messily and love so much and fail so often at, would she be proud? Or embarrassed of me like I am ever so embarrassed of her, mostly because she was so incredibly ignorant (and so incredibly unaware of her ignorance) and now that I am older I am sure that almost everyone who sat in those pews with their disposable cameras and flip phones and wished us well knew how very ignorant I was, making my way down that long aisle with just a touch of buzzed up sass like I knew a damn thing about marriage.
Well, 24-year-old-blushing-bride-me, let cusp-of-35-year-old-wedding-dress-in-the-kitchen me tell you:
YOU HAVE NO IDEA.
Walking down this aisle (and yes, I agree, it IS long) is the easy part. And tonight you will dance, and drink, and eat and drink some more and then dance so fiercely that your mom pulls you aside and reminds you that "Elizabeth, YOUR GRANDMOTHER IS HERE,"and tomorrow you will have a headache and a wedding band and a plane trip to Key West to pack for where you will sip more drinks on a big boat and wax philosophical about the perfect kids you will have and the dizzying career heights you will achieve and your collective life will spread in front of you like a goddamn open book and it will be the turning point of your whole life.
And then you will come home and make babies and have babies and life will stretch out in front of you like one long painful nursing session and your new husband and you will scream in the middle of the night with bags under your eyes that you are still much too young to have about whose turn it is to get the baby, AGAIN. Your cocky swag that carried you down the aisle will be replaced with the absolutely crippling anxiety of new motherhood and you and your marriage will spend long, uncomfortable periods of time teetering on the precipice of not-gonna-make-it.
But you will make it.
And you will fall so incredibly, deeply in love with your babies that it will make you fall in love all over again with your husband and the two of you will make this magical life in a big old creaky house that you ridiculously fill with throw pillows that feels like home in a way that nothing else ever has and you will learn to sleep in a big king sized bed with three kids in between you and still, somehow, touch.
And yet you will break, and often, because having this family is like walking around with five open wounds that make you more vulnerable than you ever were before and hoping that against all odds you stay protected, and of course, you don't. You will ache and fall on your knees on the floor with the force of it and be absolutely, completely convinced that you can never get up again.
And then you will get up.
You will change diapers and do laundry and make and buy and clean up food until it feels like you do nothing else, and you will go to your therapist (because yes, you will have a therapist) and say "WHAT IS THE POINT OF ALL OF THIS?" and he, a grey haired poet who you would be at a dangerous risk of falling in love with if he didn't insist on talking about feelings all of the damn time will say: "the Buddha would say, chop wood, carry water. So maybe for you, it's change diaper, make mac and cheese." And you will go home that night and after everyone falls asleep and the house is blissfully silent you will suddenly burst into laughter because you actually get it.
And if you are lucky, 10.5 years from now, you will stand in that kitchen in an old wedding dress, you and your rock of a husband the island in the swirling chaos of children around you, and you will say to him:
"Honey, you know why I am sad today?"
And of course, he doesn't, so you explain:
"I love all of this SO much. And yet I know that it won't always be this way."
And he will say, "so you're sad because you're happy?"
And you will know that he gets you.