Nineteen years. That’s how long it’s been since this picture was taken. Our October day was take-my-breath-away stunning in every way imaginable. My brand new husband, my family, my friends. Lots of booze and dancing. Wedding cake. Billy Joel. Forever vows.
I was looking through old pictures today, reminiscing, laughing. We were such babies when we married — just 24 and 23. Did they really let us sign a marriage license? And two years later, let us create our first human being?
See those beautiful women in the picture with me? They were my life at 24. The culmination of my childhood, my high school years, my college memories, my entire existence. At 24, they comprised everything that was real and good and important and beloved.
When I looked at that picture today, I felt a little heart tug. Because as we’re all aware, things change. One of those women has chosen to no longer walk with us. Another has willingly moved to the periphery. A couple have grown distant due to time, geography, circumstance. At 24, I would never in a million years have imagined this scenario. But life has other plans.
And on the flip side, there are those who remain steadfast, loyal, and present. There’s one who just called me — breathless and fun and crazy and supportive, as always — from NYC. One who recently “Moondanced” with me in the middle of The Rathskellar. One who stood beside me as we watched our Mom wake up from yet another surgery.
These women shaped and molded and made me. We’ve married husbands, divorced husbands, made babies, nursed aging parents. They held my hair while I vomited, held me in their arms while I cried. We’ve helped, hurt, broken, and mended each other. We’ve screamed, fought, forgiven, and moved forward.
And if that picture was to be re-taken today? I can happily name all the others who would don those horrible shades of purple and blue to stand with me. Friendships made at 25, 32, 39, 41, and everywhere in between. Women who have lifted and loved me throughout the past two decades. Sisters, soulmates.
Perhaps some must leave so others can stay.
In nineteen years, so much changes. And so much remains the same.
Chris and I have 26 years and four kids under our belts. We’ve lived in three states, nursed a critically ill baby back to health, buried dogs and guinea pigs and hamsters, changed jobs, added degrees (well, one of us at least…), bought and sold homes, gained and lost weight. We’ve laughed and loved and created an extraordinary life.
The beauty of this existence is that until the final breath, life always gives us another chance to discover something new, to hold on to something precious, to let go of what’s no longer needed, to remember and honor, to embrace what is yet to come with arms wide open.
That’s worth celebrating.