The dreamer in me appreciates the idealism, joy, and love I witnessed at the wedding I attended yesterday. I cannot help but think back to my own wedding nearly nine years ago, and how I want to recapture the love of that day.
I have vivid memories of the intricate details of my wedding on a warm August day that began with my wife and I going to a Toys R Us for the express purpose of buying a whiffle ball & bat for pictures. I had mani/pedis and my hair done with the bridal party, and I even waxed my eyebrows for the first time. I remember being at the park, and spying on our friends & family, as we ran five minutes late for the ceremony and my bride got ready in another room. I walked down the aisle with my mom, because even though our wedding occurred pre-transition, I still wanted to walk down the aisle like a bride. I even had my own music. During the ceremony, our unity candle would not light because of the wind (we had contingency ceremony text for that possibility), and the laying on of hands we added to our ceremony was a special touch. I was given keys to my wife’s aunt’s house in Florida in case we wanted to use the house on the honeymoon—you know, the one my wife did not know we were taking until we were at the airport later in the week. Our cake was lopsided; our song was “At Last.” We took pictures of the bridal party on a baseball diamond with the whiffle ball and bat we had purchased in the morning. And as we traveled home after a long party, I remember our truck breaking down on the freeway, and us awkwardly opening gifts as we waited for the tow truck to arrive. The details are clear in my partially photographic mind. The day was truly special. A framed picture from that day still hangs prominently in our living room.
We were truly in love. My wife and I vowed to be newlyweds for five years after our wedding. We were going to beat the odds and not fall out of love no matter the challenges. We would hold on to everything we held dear about each other.
The thought was nice.
About a year after our wedding, the newlywed bliss ended around the time my wife became pregnant with our first child. She had an incredibly difficult pregnancy complete with neverending morning sickness and dehydration. During labor, she had a tear that needed emergency fixing. Breastfeeding was a problem, as the baby did not want to consistently latch. The stresses built up, as did our debt. Reality set in, and the challenges really started to hit us. The repercussions of those challenges and how we dealt with them are still felt in small parts today. A second child, careers shifts, and now my transition, and we are on the brink of disaster as a married couple. Neither of us wear our wedding rings anymore.
While we are in a wildly different place than we were nine years ago, some things do not change. The idealistic love I have—that I yearn so deeply for—still fills my heart. I still love and want to be loved as wholeheartedly as I loved and was loved on my wedding day. Watching our friends get married yesterday made me both ecstatic and sad. I am so incredibly happy for the them. One half of the couple told me she was have the most amazing day of her life, and I was happy with her. Then, I watched the couple dance, kiss, and gaze into each other’s eyes, just as I did with my wife on our wedding day. That pureness—that joy—cannot be replicated. I cannot express how much I miss those moments and wish they could be mine again.
Yesterday when I left for work, my wife told me that she loved me. I had not heard those words from her in a long time, and they immediately made me smile, even if she could not see my reaction. I do not know why she said it in that moment. I did not ask her. I can only presume she meant it honestly and to make me feel good. I miss the days when that was a regular thing. A kiss before we separated. An “I love you” out the door. An “I missed you” when we reconnected. Now, we don’t even dance together at our friends’ wedding. There used to be days when we would dance in the living room without any music.
Love exists between us. It will never fully erase itself, but it will never be like it was on our wedding day. I am a woman now, and that is not what she married. I do not know how to move on. I want to find the love of that day all over again. I want another chance to be newlyweds for five years. Instead, I do not even know if we will celebrate our anniversary in any meaningful way.
I hold on to the past; I must love in the future. Someday, I want to reconnect with that wedding bliss—that total and complete joy—and to do it in a wedding dress. Since that will not come in a re-commitment ceremony, I must find a way to open myself up to another. I have so much love still to give. I hope there is someone out there willing to receive my love and offer their undying love in return.
Congratulations to my friends. I am truly happy for the two of you—even if I am simultaneously jealous of what you have right now.