July 20th. Another day to some, but one that used to hold a fond place in my heart. You see, 11 years ago on that day...yesterday actually...I said "I DO". July 20, 2002. I walked down the isle in our sweet, little church which had been lovingly decorated by the ladies there with items donated from all the other couples that had just recently gotten married and with the floral arrangements the decorating committee had. My step-dad, dressed in shirt and tie, walked me, a new, young mother who was shaking tremendously, down the isle to be given to the man who gave me the gift of a daughter. Here I was 24 years old beginning, what I thought to be a life time of, well, something. Meeting me at the end of that isle was a man who was doing the right thing. Who was making us a family. Who, now, was not actually my forever someone. July 20th, 11 years ago.
It was hotter than the hinges of Hades that day. I can remember the friends and family that came out to support us. There weren't many, really. It was a small wedding. But honestly, does the number of guests truly matter? I can remember the planning leading up to that day. There wasn't much. We didn't have much. The whole thing cost under $500. Amazing, I know. We were just a couple of young kids, scrapping by, working at being a family. I didn't chose the colors. I left that to him. A comedy of errors, really. I didn't want to chose. I had already planned a wedding once before. I big one. An over-the-top, elaborately expensive waste. I wanted nothing to do with the planning of this one. He chose green and purple. Why not? It had something to do with a Jim Carrey movie. Yeah...I know. But it didn't matter. It wasn't about that anyway.
My best friends stood up with me. Kim, who regrettably is no longer a friend, and my Sarah. My beautiful, strong, Sarah. He had his two friends. The only ones I have ever met. Two. I have no clue what they are up to now. Truth, it doesn't matter. After the ceremony and the amateur pictures taken by anyone who had a camera that wanted to help us capture the day, we headed off to his mom and step-dad's for a hog roast. Remind you that is was hotter than the hinges of Hades. Hovering in the 100+ range - and it was outside. No shelter from the heat save for a big tent like thing. People milled around playing croquet and talking. My biggest memory of the reception? The cake melted. It was a beautiful cake made by Kim. The heat had other plans on what it should look like though. Thank goodness it still tasted good! Ha! We didn't have a honey moon. You know, being a young married couple with a baby, the money was never there. But we made a go of what it was. It was, simply, what it was.
And then, then for all the July 20ths after that I'd like to sit here and tell you we/I had a fabulous memory of them all. Honestly, I cannot remember a single one save for last year. Last year which was our 10th. The last one, had I known then, would be the last one we shared together. We didn't really. Share it that is. We took the littles to the city. It was hot and miserable and they simply did not want to walk around at all. They did like LegoLand. I think I wrote a post about that somewheres. You can look. It's alright. Then there was this July 20th.
This year I spent it with my kiddos. We went to the lake, their favorite beach actually. We got ice cream at their favorite Ice Cream shop. Then we went and saw Turbo. They didn't know what meaning the day did and didn't hold. They didn't need to. They never need to know any of it. It isn't their place to have all that grown-up emotion thrust upon them. But I spent the day deep in thought. Playing and enjoying the day with them, but with all the what-ifs and the why-that's filling my brain. All the brokenness and wrongness and in some cases the rightness that was the previous 10 July 20ths in my life. I won't lie there were some good days. Actually some of those days followed each other often enough to turn into weeks and in some cases months. Sadly never more than that. I accept it now.
However, what didn't hold itself true for this July 20th, did so in another way. This first, happy un-anniversary that I celebrated. I was able to work through a lot today. I was able to spend the day in a way that, though it wasn't what it would have been, was perfectly what it was. It was a celebration of a day, a newly ordained, non-committal, ordinary day. And I spent it with the people I love most on this Earth. Each one bringing a smile to my face and helping to create a special memory. Sand castles and splashes. Skipping rocks and sea shells. Hugs and kisses. Giggles and smiles. Ice cream cones and root beer floats. Junk food and a movie (yes...I gave in!).
So here is to all the future July 20ths. Here is to celebrating it like every other day of the year. Here is to the love and support of my family. Last, but certainly not least, here is to all you out there who will or have celebrated your first happy un-anniversary - may it be a day of new found hope, love, joy and strength.