…What have you waited a long time for? (Old Friend From Far Away: Natalie Goldberg)
I woke and realized how well rested I felt. I was relieved that I’d slept so well; I hadn’t slept in days. And then my heart filled with so much excitement and happiness. One of those feelings you know you only feel on certain days of your life. I rolled over and saw A who was smiling at me, and I gleefully cheered: I’m getting married today!
As a kid, as a teenager, and even as a young adult I always wondered what I’d feel like on my wedding day. I’m not sure there are words to describe the way everything feels: dreamy? Magical? Romantic? Perfect…perfect…
My maids all arrived, and we crammed ourselves into my parents’ bathroom. Such a contrast: all our hair looked so polished and beautiful; we were all makeup-less, but our smiles sparkled. I was overjoyed. Every person who has ever been important to me surrounded me that day. Even those who had already passed on. I felt them there.
It was time to go. I was one of the last ones out the door. But I remember stopping for just a moment before I walked out of the living room I’d spent my entire life in and thinking to myself: I’ll be a changed woman the next time I’m in this house. And amidst all the joy, part of my heart ached for my childhood. But in a good way. The kind of way that you realize you’re proud of yourself and you’ve grown. I blinked back the tears that threatened my makeup and bounced out the door onto the only red carpet I’d ever walk in my entire life.
My father and I stood behind closed doors. My future husband was so close and so far. I thought I’d feel nervous, scared…anything really. I felt good. I felt calm. I felt like I’d waited my whole life for this moment. …I had.
The doors opened, but everything around me blurred. It was like a kaleidoscope of colors: people who love me with a clear image at the tunnel of it: my husband. He was beaming. I waited for the tears, they never came. I cry at all weddings: friends, family and even TV shows. I don’t know how to explain it, but the feeling is completely different when it’s your own. I was overjoyed. The man I’d fought so hard to love stood at the end of an aisle waiting for me. It was all I could do to stop myself from running down the aisle dragging my father behind me. I smiled and giggled through the entire service. And I remember every second. I will for the rest of my life.
The priest announced us and my heart felt like it might burst. My husband (!!!!) and I joined hands and walked down the aisle to our life on the other side. We just hugged and hugged and hugged. We’d done it. We’d made it. Our love had survived it all.
To my husband: I waited my whole life for you. I love you.
all images courtesy of NancyRayPhotography in Raleigh, NC.