October 17, 1998
Take a moment and breathe. Just breathe. This is your last bit of childhood. Wrap it up tight and seal it deep that you might never lose that romantic wonder. May it forever be a part of you, no matter how grown up life demands you to be. Look at yourself. Drink in your youth. Love the smooth planes of your face and the way the baby's breath looks a little wild in those long loose curls. Laugh. This is your day. You will shine. (And congrats on that center aisle, babe! You got your wish!)
When you slip into that dress, stop just long enough to soak in the history of your mother's own love story. Remember that you are strong enough to wage any storm because you have learned strength from her. You are wearing her armor today - may it hold you like a promise.
Today isn't going to be perfect. It's not going to be a flawless symphony. There will be some flubs, some improvisation, so just call it jazz and call it awesome! Don't worry when the rings get forgotten or when the minister smashes two eggs together in a pickle jar. Don't stress about what Aunt Carol will think about the Bon Jovi processional or that hubby-to-be hasn't booked a hotel yet. None of it matters. Just relax. Enjoy it. Kiss your new father-in-law because in thirteen years you won't be able to kiss him any more.
You are going to learn so much. You are going to be stretched and broken and stitched back up again. This is the hardest thing you're ever going to do. But don't stop. Don't. Ever Stop. There will be a lot of 'for worse' but there will be even more 'for better's. Be authentic. Always. Love radically. Always. Don't let it steal the essence of who you are - that's what he fell in love with in the first place. Be honest. Be patient. For a while it will feel like you're moving to two different drummers but you've got to work passed that and see each other for who you are and what you need. You will find a
Fifteen years from now you're going to wake up beside a man who has held your heart for almost half your life and every laugh and tear you've shared will be etched lightly in the lines of both your faces like shared tattoos. You will have changed a lot in all that time. You will be stronger and wiser and sharper and braver. You will feel less beautiful but he'll tell you that you're more. You will feel frumpy and weary and wish for the body that wore that white dress and he still won't be able to keep his hands off you - don't ever take that for granted because that's a beautiful gift!
You will have three babies and you'll think the world has been reduced to colic and diapers but trust me, it gets better. So much better. You're going to amaze yourself when you look at the beautiful little humans you create together.
You're going to store all your memories of this day in a beat up cardboard suitcase. You'll pull it outevery once in a while and look through those things; the invitations and the gift book and the feather pen that signed the register. It will make you feel old. It will make you feel proud. Today is worth the memory! Try to hang on to it. Try to catch little moments. Don't forget your first dance or how you ran around barefoot at the hall...
But for right now, go. The music is playing. This is your cue. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. He's going to tear up a little bit when he first sees you and you know that's not like him, but don't worry - it's only because he can't believe how lucky he is. You love him. He loves you. That's not going to stop and that's what matters when everything else is stripped away.
Say 'I love you' every single day. Try not to complain too wildly about his smelly feet. Go for walks together and hold his hand. Kiss him in the kitchen. Don't stop loving. Don't ever stop loving.
You're beautiful. You're ready. Your life awaits.
Love your future self.