Hurricane Sandy graciously spared us from an electrical outage, but it still meant long days inside. Which meant much more TV than usual. Which meant we dug into DVDs we hadn't watched in ages. Which somehow led to us watching our wedding video.
Braden was the inspiration for it, really. He has been obsessed with the concept of marriage as of late, frequently wrapping a sheet around himself and saying, "Look, Mommy, married!" When asked who he wants to marry, he always says "Mommy," not willing to accept the fact that Mommy is already married to Daddy. We thought maybe the wedding video would set him straight.
The year after our wedding we used to watch this video all the time, but by all counts it had been close to five years since we had seen it when we put it in the DVD player on Monday. I didn't expect it to be emotional, it was all for play with Braden, you see. But for some reason, I found myself choking back tears.
It was one of those occasions where the passage of time smacked me across the face.
How young I looked! How much skinnier I was! How much more hair my husband had! I like to pretend that we look the same as we did in our 20's, but it's simply not true. The evidence is right there on DVD.
But more than the physical was the emotional. Events of the last six years have changed me in so many ways. I look at that person, from September 9, 2006, and in many ways I feel sorry for her. I was so unsure of myself, so naive. I had a vision for my life on that day that is completely different from where I am now. That's not to say that it turned out worse - in fact, in many ways it has turned out better. But back then I didn't realize that life wouldn't necessarily go according to plan. I thought I had it all under control. And there's is an inherent anxiousness and insecurity in that that you can see all over my face.
I got emotional as the camera panned our guests, our wedding party, our families. So much has changed since that day. Some of the guests have vanished from our lives due to break ups, divorces, or even death. Some we have simply lost touch with, and seeing their faces, and the reminder of the closeness we once shared, was a sobering and saddening feeling. Some relationships have turned bitter, nearly beyond repair. Others have grown so much stronger. There were also noticeable absences - people that have come into my life since that day who I didn't even know back then, much less invite them to my wedding. New friends that have replaced some of the old ones.
And of course, the starkest of all absences were my two boys.
It may seem weird to feel the absence of your children at your own wedding, and isn't it usually best for them not to be there? (No judgments here though if they are!). But what dawned on me is that at the time of our wedding, I wanted the most important people in my life to be there. Isn't that what a wedding is all about? I thought I had accomplished that. But the reality is that the two most important people in my life I hadn't even met yet.
As I watched the wedding reception clips with Braden sitting on my lap, I realized that any given moment in time is just that - a moment. You think you know your world, your reality, your priorities, your goals, but in fact all that is ever changing. Nothing in life is stagnant. Even the right here, right now.
Looking back on that moment in time in 2006, scanning all the faces, knowing what I know now - the tragedies that would befall, the miracles that would take place, the relationships that would be torn apart and built back up - it dawned on me that someday I will look back at this moment in time - November 1, 2012 - just like that. Perhaps five years from now I'll read this post, with the full knowledge of those five years, and shake my head in disbelief at the places life has taken me and those I love. Places I could not even imagine as I type this today.
Perhaps there are more important people to meet.