I pulled down our wedding photos last night, looking for a group shot with my high school friends. I could not find one, but I did enjoy looking through the photos from nearly 10 years ago, trying to pick out my favorites.
There is this one, where I am overcome with emotion and Mark is laughing at me:
This one where you can see the pure joy, and perhaps too much champagne, in my smile:
This one, because who doesn’t go to the bowling alley for lemon drops before their reception?
And this one, our priest singing with the mariachi band:
When I look at these photos, my first thought is, my God, we were kids! Babies! We knew nothing about marriage, and not that much about life in general.
We were “dating” for only two months before we booked the church for our wedding, we were formally engaged three months after that. I say “dating” because, looking back, we were actually dating for years before that, we just did not think of it as dating at the time. In fact, I knew that I was going to marry Mark five months BEFORE we started “dating,” when I caught the bouquet at my friend’s wedding. And I never once doubted that.
But now, with the value of hindsight, I can see how maybe our families thought we were crazy! When we told my parents we were engaged, my dad said to Mark, “Well, I guess you know what you are getting yourself into.” But he did not. We did not.
So THIS is my favorite wedding picture.
Kind of weird, right? You cannot even see our faces. This was not planned, just a moment our photographer caught during the ceremony. We were returning from lighting the unity candle and we had to walk around our chairs to sit back down. We had been holding hands as we walked up the stairs, and we had to stretch our arms and we were just barely able to keep our fingertips intertwined to get around the chairs.
It would have been easier to just let go of each other’s hands, walk around the chairs, and then grab each other’s hands when we sat back down. But we chose not to. So, even though I just see two crazy kids when I look at most of these pictures, this picture reminds me that we must have known SOMETHING about marriage, even back then.
How many times, in 10 years of marriage, would it have been easier to just let go when faced with a shared obstacle, and regroup on the other side? Dozens? Probably more like hundreds, maybe thousands.
How many times could we have not backed each other up because we do not agree with each other’s parenting style? How many times could we have been too tired at the end of a long day to have a conversation and just retreated to our own corners of the house? How many times could Mark have just thought, lady, you are CRAZY, and walked away from me? How many times could we have stopped treating each other like the love of our life, and started treating each other like the annoying housemate that we can be sometimes? How many times would it have been easier to live separate lives in the same house?
Yeah, I think it must have been easier to let go thousands of times. And though it conjures up a cheesy image of Jack and Rose saying, “I’ll never let go,” I’m just going to keep on reaching my arm out, pretty confident that I will find Mark’s hand reaching out for mine.
Ten years down, a lifetime to go.