Five Years Later

Everyone has “are you kidding me?” moments with their parents. One of mine is when my mother told me that she and my father were actively trying to stop me from marrying my husband.

Defiance wasn’t an option in my childhood home. The severity of consequences for even the smallest infraction left me with a fear and mistrust of my parents that lingers to this day. So you can guess my incredulity when my mother told me I’d been allowed to defy them. Perhaps they hoped our relationship would just fall apart naturally, like the other three romantic relationships within the family that they’d destroyed with silence.

But this guy wouldn’t go away so easily.

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I really wasn’t sure if my mother meant what she was saying, so I probed her. Her responses came with a level of pride that left me in no doubt of her sincerity. I could imagine a parent drawing themselves up with dignity to inform their child that they “never liked that fellow anyway” if their child had been sobbing about wrongs done and the need for retribution, but not when the couple is still very much content in their mutual love.

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I asked for reasons, but none of them made any sense to me. In fact, her complaints were opposite of facts. “He’s not spiritual enough.” “He has no respect for you.” “He’s irresponsible.” It was like they’d never met him, and we dated almost five years before we got married. He is now, as he was then, the sweetest, most caring, and supportive person I have ever met, a sentiment more confirmed by the sandwich at my elbow which he just made for me after stacking wood outside in the freezing cold for over an hour.

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I thought about this conversation with my mother while Timothy and I were at dinner on Thursday, celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary. I thought about all the beauty and the pain we’ve been through in almost ten years together.

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Our first kiss in a parking lot before a Patriots baseball game
The loss of our first child
The birth of our baby girl
The way he used to shove his hand down into my glove because he wanted to hold my hand, not my glove
Struggling together through my panic disorder and suicidal depression
Setting up our first apartment
Taking long walks
Watching sunsets
Getting up early to watch the sun rise over the ocean
Setting off fire alarms with smoky dinners
And how nervous he was to propose to me, even though he knew there was only one answer for both of us.

Yes. Yes then and yes now. Yes for always and always and every day for the rest of my life.

So here’s to you, darling, for being the best reason ever to leave my home and defy my parents, and for giving me the home and family I never dreamed I would have.

Happy anniversary. Happy ever after.

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Sunset on Another Time

She was perfect. In my mind, then as much as now, we fit together in every conceivable way. She was a funny, kindhearted, blackbelt, dirty blonde who loved Weird Al, the Beatles, and goofy teeshirts. We were inseparable. We spent hours on the phone, making each other laugh so hard that we couldn’t breathe. I made her a stuffed carrot. She scotch taped angry eyes and a mouth on him and named him Sargon. We listened to each other cry about boys and pretended to fight like we hated each other until we would both collapse with laughter.

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I blame myself for losing her. Her world grew and spread with maturity while mine was systematically shrinking because of my anxiety disorder. Then I got hurt over something stupid and I let her slip away. We grew up, grew apart, got married, stopped calling.

This is not a boo-hoo-poor-me-I-have-no-friends post. I am by no means friendless. In fact, I could even say I am lucky enough to have three best friends, two of which live in the same house as me. Friends I trust with my core (something I don’t easily hand over). I am not trying to downplay this blessing. I just miss her.

She was the one and only Christie. There will never be another one like her. And it makes my heart ache to think that, since she’s the only she, that I will probably never again have what we had together, that perfect symbiotic, we’re totally the same but totally different, mixture of salty and sweet. A girl that I could tell the hard stuff too, who would listen instead of judge. A girl that could see me make a fool of myself and turn it into an opportunity to make me feel real and beautiful and accepted.

This has been a hard season of life for me. I’m struggling. I’m not unhappy, but the harshness of day to day is making me more than usually nostalgic. I used to be able to look back on the past with more of a gentle sigh. Now, it’s heavier, almost a burden, to pick up the pieces of yesterday for a moment’s remembering.

I miss her.

Sunset is one of my favorite parts of the day. I love seeing the sky splashed with brilliance and color. Each one is individual, from the cloud formations, to their chosen shades of reds, purples, and yellows. I have a tendency to snap pictures of almost every sunset I see (my Instagram feed is FILLED with them). Image-1But like many things, the pictures I grab with my cell phone rarely do justice to the rich layers of color, or the golden glow of the clouds hugging the fading sun.

Christie is a sunset. I can’t get her back because that time in my life has faded and the pictures left in my heart will never do justice to the brilliant light she shed on my life when she was part of it. It hurts. Goodbye’s always do. But the nice thing is that sunset happens every night. So I’m just going to wait, with eyes open, for the next beautiful thing to come along and flood my heart with light.

© Rachel Svendsen 2016