Four years ago it was was pouring rain in my mom’s backyard in Brockville, and I was sitting outside by myself, sheltered under the gazebo, eating cold pizza crusts, staring at the outdoor setup for our wedding, and hoping the sun would find its way to us. Hours later, the seats had dried, the sun peeked out from behind the cloud cover, and we were married in the glow of daylight — light that stuck around and fended off the rain for the rest of the ceremony and into our reception. It didn’t rain a single drop more.
And now I’m here in my house in northern Ontario. My mornings look a lot different, these days. There is no leisurely pizza-eating. It’s usually a whirlwind of trying to evict our almost-three-year-old out of her bed, or OUR bed, scheduling showers and scarfing cereal and packing preschool bags and crossing my fingers that I can throw some coffee into my mouth before I have to navigate the strange circle that is the childcare drop-off parking system because people don’t understand physics at 8:30 a.m.
That rain turning into sun has stuck with me over the last four years, though, in that transition from newlyweds to celebrating our fourth year of marriage (we figure it’s the traditional fruit and flower anniversary because after four years of marriage odds are your budget may only support a bouquet and some apples). I feel like every year I come back and say wow, that was busy, wow that was tough sometimes, wow, we made it, but this year I don’t know what else I could say but we survived the rain.
My dear husband acted as a guiding light this past year — even through his own hurt — and helped me find shelter and shore. And like the sun came out on our wedding day, and dried up our surroundings and lit our way down the aisle, love came out of all of that pain.
It was one of the hardest years of my life, of our lives. But we made it, and we’re stronger, and despite all of the horribleness, we worked together to help the sun shine again. Life looks nothing like we plan, more often than not, and sometimes it feels like it is flying past caught in the blur of a toddler, and sometimes it gets mired in the for the love of everything please help me with laundry pitfalls, and sometimes it all rests in a semi-conscious hug in the middle of the night, with a baby kicking in my belly and the knowledge that we’ll wake up tomorrow and do it all again, happy, because we’re all together.
We’re taking our kid to dinner with us tonight, because of course given the opportunity she gleefully said “I wanna go out to eat TOO!” One day we’ll have kids old enough to leave at home, or we’ll get a babysitter set up in advance, but for now? For now I’m glad to celebrate all that we’ve built in the last four years, little ones included. I can’t toast to us with anything stronger than juice, and I’ll probably have at least half my attention on making sure hands stay out of water glasses, and it may not be very exotic or adult or luxurious, but it’s us. And it’s our family. And that’s perfect.