Thursday, May 15, 2008

Four Years

Four years ago, I was dressed in a button down shirt, still no makeup on, getting my hair done with my bridesmaids. I was nineteen, as was my maid of honor. My bridesmaids were eighteen, seventeen, sixteen, and fifteen. We all had long, layered hair down our backs, all but one with basically identical blond highlights, and we all owned Cover Girl Disco Ball eyeshadow. We all had undergone an intense tanning regimen in the week prior to the wedding. We were thin, and pretty, and there was nary a wrinkle or a stretch mark among us.
I was strangely calm all day. I think the only time I felt anything approaching nervousness was when my makeup artist got bumped and stabbed me in the eye with an eyeliner pencil. My eye teared up immediately, and I leaped from the chair in panic, dabbing with Kleenex to make sure the rest of my face didn't get ruined. Other than that, it was a perfect day, unmarred by anything other than perhaps the excessive face and body shimmer/GLITTER I insisted on applying.
I remember feeling beautiful, and blissfully happy, and very sure of my decision. There was no hesitating in the church vestibule, a la Charlotte of Sex and the City. As we stood before the minister, I remember hearing the ceremony only vaguely, but being very very aware of how lucky I felt to have already found the person I wanted to be with forever. During the vows, I don't remember crying or even choking up. I just remember that my face hurt from smiling so hard. But I couldn't have stopped if I'd wanted to.

Four years, three pregnancies, two babies, and one move later, my face still hurts, so to speak. I still sometimes get that pinch-me-I'm-dreaming feeling. (I notice it usually happens now when we're smiling down together on a SLEEPING child.) The years have felt crazy and jam-packed, and I still haven't caught my breath since the honeymoon, but they have without question been the happiest years of my life.
I haven't felt blissful every second. We have each lost two grandparents since our marriage, and have been through several rough patches of pregnancy related scares and health and money issues. Sometimes I've felt frustrated and resentful, frightened and sad. Often I've felt hormonal and pregnant and miserable. Occasionally I've felt furious. And more than once I've felt overwhelmed, misunderstood and unappreciated. I have no doubt but that Jim has felt the same (hormonal and pregnant being the possible exceptions to that rule.)
But more often I have felt cherished and loved. I have been comforted when I was sad, reassured when I was insecure, and refocused when my perspective was lost. I have been complimented when I saw only stretch marks and puffiness, and encouraged when I was stuck in my usual mental patterns of fear and negativity. I have been hugged when I only wanted to lash out, and I have been forced to communicate when I would have preferred to passive-aggressively sulk in a corner.
I have learned to enjoy (some) sports, the outdoors, exercise, beer, and bratwurst, all of which I had loathed prior to marriage. I have left my comfort zone. Mostly, I have liked it. I have learned to worry far less about what other people might possibly be thinking about me. I have learned to relax and enjoy my life as an experience, rather than as some sort of performance which is being judged by an audience of peers. I have learned to care less, and thereby, live more. I rarely think about calories, for instance. I am always forgetting to wash my makeup off- when I even WEAR makeup. I actually own sweatshirts and track pants. I can sort of keep up with sports conversations. I have seen We Own The Night three times, voluntarily. I have evolved.

I can only imagine where four more years will take me. I love you, honey! Happy anniversary!

24 comments:

Shannon said...

Wonderful post. Do you have a photo? I'd love to see you in your awesome tanned & glittered awesomeness.

Happy Anniversary!

Jess said...

This is the cutest post. I concur with Shannon on the NEEDING TO SEE WEDDING PICTURES thing.

Happy anniversary!

LoriD said...

Happy Anniversary!

Also: you're a baby! I never would have pegged you as so young (that's meant as a compliment, a testament to your maturity). No wonder you look so great!

JMC said...

Happy anniversary!

SLynnRo said...

Congrats! And you are so young. I feel old.

And don't feel too bad about the body glitter. I was in a wedding for a 25 year old who insisted on it. At least you can blame being 19.

Saly said...

This made me cry. :) I would love to see a wedding photo as well.

And also, I had no idea you were so young. :)

Happy Anniversary!

Fine For Now said...

Happy Anniversary!

I 7th on the Wedding Pictures!

Banana said...

Happy Anniversary! Congratulations on four years, two kids and a wonderful life.

Mimi said...

This is great! Happy Anniversary!

K in the Mirror said...

Yup, must see pictures. I love this post. And I did know you were so young, but I still marvel at it because you're so grounded and mature and fun. :)

Shelly Overlook said...

PICTURE PICTURE PICTURE PICTURE


Happy Anniversary!

Maggie said...

First, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Second, pictures!! Please?! Pretty please?!

Chelle said...

Happy anniversary! That was a lovely post :)

Kelsey said...

Congratulations!

And pictures please!!!

Valley Momma said...

Happy Anniversary!!

Marie Green said...

Jumping on the "need to see wedding pictures" bandwagon.

Please?

Happy Anniversary!

jess said...

Awwwww. That was so sweet. Happy Anniversary guys!!

beth said...

Happy Anniversary!

You are much, much smarter than I was at 23. Seriously? Did I do the math right? Now I just feel old :(

Bird said...

I want to see the tan, glittery bride too! Gosh, nineteen. I met my husband at nineteen and I knew I would marry him. I had to wait four years, though. Then I waited another four to get pregnant. I'm on the slow track or something.

Happy Anniversary!

Billie said...

Ok... where is that bitter and ungrateful post you promised us! This doesn't sound like either!

But congrats on enjoying your journey together.

bananafana said...

Happy Anniversary!
I love posts about marriage from people who are happily married. Congrats on 4 years and I wish you many many more

Astarte said...

Oh, what a sweet post!!! I'm glad you're so happy. :) Yes, please post pictures. I would love to see!

We're going to have our ten year next week. It seems so strange!

Mommy Daisy said...

Congrats on 4 wonderful years! You two are an awesome couple. I pray you have many many more wonderful years to come.

For those who are begging for photos, I will assure you that it was a beautiful wedding. Sarah was/is one of the most beautiful brides I've ever seen!

Anonymous said...

This is awesome. I think you should try to publish it!!