I remember days. I hold onto days with a force I'm never aware that I possess. The day of my first kiss? The day I had my heart broken for the first time? The first time my husband told me he loved me? I remember them all. As this week began and I let my eyes rest on the days on the calendar that lay ahead, I can remember each day with such vividness that the memories pinch at my flesh. The 20th was the last evening I went to bed with the ability to feel her move inside of my body. On the 21st, she was dead. And on the 22nd, I labored in drug free agony while the man I love sat in a chair across from me and cried tears that he tried so hard to hold in for my sake.
As this week unfolds, I want to write more about my daughter. I want to share her with the world for what she is: my child. My beautiful, wonderful child. Wylie isn't a bad thing that happened to us. She isn't a reason to feel sad. She is a life that mattered more than I can fumble into words. Anyway, as this week unfolds, I will talk more about my daughter. Today, though, I wanted to talk about our wedding anniversary.
I loved our wedding. I loved every aspect of planning (obsessing) over the details. I still love to flip through our wedding album and let the photographs take my breath away. It was a beautiful evening celebrating a love that I am fortunate to have experienced for so many years. When we were first married, I felt a little sad that we were suddenly gifted this new anniversary other than the one we had celebrated yearly since we began dating as teenagers. By "a little sad," I mean that my eyes sort of welled up and the back of my throat stung as I tried to accept that January 17th, 2002 had been overrun by May 23rd, 2009. It didn't sit right. It didn't feel right. For so many years, we had clung to January 17th as some sacred anniversary date that the new one felt more like an imposter. "Let's just celebrate both, then," I'd begged my husband. And so we did, but January 17th always received a warmer welcome.
I will forever romanticize our wedding, remembering the beautiful details and the magic in the air as we got to exchange vows of equality and love and forever in the way we dreamed of doing since we were high school students planning out the rest of our lives on a blanket under the stars in an open field. Our wedding was beautiful, but it wasn't the day we first promised to love one another forever. That day was January 17th, 2002, as I sat tucked into the home office in my parent's home hoping they wouldn't realize I was still awake. "I really like you. I like you more than you know. Please be my girlfriend." "I will. I will." The barely-past-puberty exchange of I do, the vows that sealed us together as tight as we stood in the field watching local bands play on our first date. "I love you. I can't stop telling you that I love you. I just love you."