anniversary

once upon a time, i hated my wedding

I believe history can be rewritten.

For a long time, my wedding was not a happy memory for me. Besides the fact that my father was not invited, my sister was in Taiwan, and my mother refused to attend, it wasn’t my style. If I had really known myself back then, I would have admitted it was not the kind of wedding I wanted. I’m not extravagant, but I do like to celebrate. I like parties and people and photos and public displays of merriment.

For a long time, I didn’t want to share our story. I was hurt and angry, so I told a story of hurt and anger. We never dated, we had a small, simple wedding, and then we were married. We postponed our honeymoon to start our life together. And there we were: married, poor, boring. The plan was to stay married forever. End of story. End of adventure.

But now I see it was just the beginning.

I travel less than I did when I was single, but travel is not the only kind of adventure. Love may not always be exotic and glamorous, but there is still excitement and risk when your heart is on the line. There is mystery in vulnerability and intimacy, and there is power and freedom when your heart is held with care. Five years ago, I gave my heart to Noah, and he has kept it well.

When I have a new perspective, I have a new story.

38

Now when I look back on our wedding, I no longer feel hurt or angry. I feel thankful and nostalgic.

That was the day everything was new. My family was not there, but I was creating a new family. That was the day I chose love above everything else. I decided love was more important than my post-grad opportunities, more important than money, more important than a career. That was the day I started to become myself, because I finally felt safe to take down my walls. That was the day I stopped running from my pain, my insecurity, my fear. That was the day I chose home.

When I embrace the past, I allow it to bless me in the present.

We started talking on Skype. We had a long-distance friendship across 12 time zones. We were both intense, strong-willed, and a little aggressive. We were intent upon the best that life could offer and saw that life in one another. We chose each other and got married and keep choosing each other every day. We learn more about ourselves and who we want to be, we learn more about each other, and we keep falling in love.

I love our story.

I love how we choose what is right for us and follow how we believe God is leading, even when it seems crazy. I love how we prioritize relationships and community. I love how I am more attracted to Noah the longer I know him. I love how honor and unity have strengthened us in every way. I love how we support each other’s dreams, and that’s what makes them come true.

I love how each season has a new beginning.

Anniversaries are new milestones of old events. This year, it falls during my 38th week of pregnancy, on the eve of another new adventure. Phoebe is a product of our love and a reminder of how we can become new again and again. Our family can become new. I can become a new mother. We can tell new stories of old memories that have not changed — but with fresh eyes, the past can become new.

It is in reminiscing that we keep alive what time inevitably dissolves. And so our love grows and we fall in love again and again.

50

 

one year anniversary of motherhood

It does not matter that Atlas will not remember his first birthday. The decorations, the presents, the photos — they were centered around him, but they were all for me.

Turning one is not a big deal for Atlas. From the womb until now, he is constantly reaching developmental milestones. His “normal” is to grow leaps and bounds every week.

But that’s not my normal. Every year, I clarify beliefs, shift priorities, and gain insight on relationships. I evolve, albeit rather slowly.

But I have never changed so instantly, permanently, drastically, as when I became a mother. The day I become a whole new person by giving birth to a whole new person.

Today marks one year.

One year of hard work and sacrificial love.

One year of surprise at how well I can function with so little sleep.

One year of recognizing the difference between loving your child and loving parenthood.

One year of wearing nursing-friendly clothes, i.e. bras that never properly fit.

One year of traveling with more stuff than I ever thought I would bring on a plane.

One year of telling anyone who will listen how I kept Atlas’ penis intact. He was perfectly made and I want him to love every part of himself.

One year of staring at the sweetest face I have ever seen.

One year of falling so in love with this person who has never spoken an actual word to me.

One year of learning the Father’s heart is just to be with me, to love because it would be impossible for him not to love.

One year of knowing the greatest responsibility for another life, and the greatest freedom for my own.

One year of never feeling insecure about my body. Now that it has carried a child, I could only ever be grateful for it.

One year of experiencing the purest love I have ever known, giving me hope that greater love is always possible.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Happy first birthday, Atlas. Thank you for being you, making me a mother, and sharing with me the most life-changing year.