Nine years ago today, I woke up wondering if I was about to make a huge mistake.
My eyes blinked open in panic while my bridesmaids slept another few hours, and I couldn’t shake the terrifying feeling that nothing in my life would ever be the same.
Always a fairly realistic person, I had a strong hunch that marriage would hardly be a walk in the park.
Combine that with a huge move into a tiny flat halfway across the country, add in two new jobs, the start of grad school and a smattering of unexplained health issues and you’ve got yourself a stress-bomb bride that is simply ticking her way toward the aisle.
I was worried that I was way too much for Gerard to handle and that he would somehow not be quite the “enough” that I needed.
I tried not to throw up while I had my waist-long hair set into curlers and a slick of colors painted onto my face, but even though the sensory parts of the day were so tangible, I remember thinking that it felt like I was watching the whole thing play out while I watched silently from the corner.
The wedding-blur came and went, and I actually loved how the reception felt like it was more about our family and friends than it was about us. Dancing cousins, drunken college buddies, and a dress drama that was heroically solved at the last minute by my bestie from 2nd grade. I was relieved to look around and realize that we were far from alone.
When we hopped on that scooter and zipped off into the starlight, I was struck with the feeling that I’d spend the rest of my life holding on for dear life.
Turns out that marriage is a lot like riding double on a scooter. One minute you smile so hard that your face hurts, and the next minute — A scowl, because “someone” forgot to fill up the tank with gas. Sometimes she sits too long in the garage when life gets busy (thank God for jumper cables), and other times you hit a slick spot in the road and crash HARD into the pavement — the latter has happened both literally and figuratively.
The scars may be permanent (Exhibit A: My Knees), but I’ve learned that we’ll always have control over whether we choose to smile or scowl.
I’ve also learned that marriage (and scootering) are both a lot more fun when you’ve got a gang to ride along side of you. Plus, safety in numbers and all that jazz.
Someone to send for help or drag you to safety when you’re lying in the middle of the road. People who can read your nod + wave combo from across the street and know that it means to meet you at McCoy’s for a couple of drinks.
These are the friends still sitting around your table at 2am on a Tuesday night… Talking about what a crazy ride it’s been, and getting excited together for the road that lies ahead.
We’ve been lucky enough to have our own tribe from the very beginning, but this year it turned into a full-fledged Gang of duos who are all after Great Love.
Gerard and I still don’t have a roadmap and we can’t give advice to others on where to go next, but when I think back to our wedding day, I’m both humbled and heartbroken by how much we’ve experienced together since then.
It was fair to let myself be afraid (and to be honest: sometimes I still am), but I am so grateful for this guy who turned out to be the man of my dreams… AND that I was able to muster enough guts to marry him that day.
Thank you for letting me drive during the times that I feel brave, and for almost-always laughing at my ridiculous dancing around the kitchen.
Thank you for loving me better than I could EVER have expected, and somehow helping me believe that I actually AM and forever will be enough.
I still have that feeling that I’ll spend the rest of my life holding on to you for dear life, and no matter where we end up or how many times we get lost or whoever we meet along the way — I feel so lucky to be your co-pilot as we watch life zip by and enjoy the ride.