Life changes a lot over sixteen years, and I have changed with the living of it. My world has lost some lives…and gained some. I have added three souls to this world. I have uprooted my world, took leaps of faith, and found the bits of myself I thought I’d lost. Through it all, the one constant was family.
Sixteen years ago today, the only thing that held the cold autumn breeze at bay was the heavy layers of satin and lace that I wore. Feeling more like a young girl playing dress-up than a fairy princess or a young bride, I moved through the day cloaked in unreality. (Perhaps that, too, kept away the cold.) Our guests had no such protection and huddled in small chattering groups as they tried to keep warm. The pristine white betrothal tent was carpeted with the fading grass of summer and a generous sprinkling of crisp fall leaves; the day was divided between seasons with one foot in each. And, with all eyes on me, I felt much the same as the piper’s drone announced my arrival: one foot leaving behind those years of Just Me, and one foot posed on the brink of Us. In the sea of faces, I found the only one that mattered at that moment, and I focused on the man that I had long loved. Still clutching my father’s arm I moved forward. The walk that day was short, although the journey was long. The piper played on as my father walked me towards my future and, as the last note hovered in the breeze, I felt him let go. For a moment, one last fleeting-yet-impossibly-long-moment, I stood alone. And then Travis was there, taking my hand, leading me forward.
We stood together before witnesses and, shivering with something quite unrelated to the brisk chill, clung to one another. With hands bound together with a length of tartan, and with no idea what Life would bring, we bound our lives together. The vows we shared, that oath we took, were words full of Hope and Love; but still, for all of their sincerity, the words were untested. For what did we know then of loss and hardship and fear?
All these years later, they have most definitely been tested; all of these years later, I love him even more.
Life changes a lot over sixteen years, and I have changed with the living of it. What has not changed is the unwavering belief that love is a choice, and that an oath is not to be taken lightly. So, whatever the next sixteen years bring, and whatever Life tests us with…I choose Love.