Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Toast to Love

john and i attended a wedding this last weekend. on our anniversary.

and it was awesome.

it probably went down as one of our all-time favorite weddings we have ever attended.

one of the sweetest moments that made my heart swell to capacity was when the two best men (the groom's brothers) gave a toast together. it was everything an amazing toast should be. engaging, hysterical, a bit humiliating to the groom, and a love displayed authentically in ways we rarely see.

i remember thinking, if i were their parents i would be unbelievably proud. brothers who genuinely love and respect each other, stick up for each other, and can express their admiration of each other to each other. it was a beautiful thing to watch.

and then my heart ached a little.

at the end of night, my heart ached again, as i realized for the millionth time, how much of a profound impact noah has on my every day, every waking moment of, life.

the groom got up to thank everyone for coming and said, "we realize this is the only time in our lives where all of the people we love will be together in one room. and that is so special."

he's right. that is so, so special. and i would have said the same thing on our wedding day. but he's wrong. at least, in our experience.

we had a baby that died. and noah's memorial service where we celebrated his life was in the same room where john and i said our marriage vows and celebrated the beginning of our life together. and it was eerie, and weird, and mind-blowing, and out-of-body because the room was filled with almost all of the same people who were at our wedding. the circumstance was obviously different, but the love felt the same. the reason all these people in our world were brought back together was just another side of the same coin.

the beginning of a marriage is so hopeful. the start of an amazing, wonderful life. we'll have lots of kids. we'll grow old together. a happily ever after. i don't want to say we're all a little naive at the very beginning. but, yeah, maybe a little naive. (as probably it should be!)

had i been able to, i surely would have written a different story for john and i. a marriage without so much tragedy and heart-break. less fear. less stress. and for god sake's, less loss. to be perfectly honest, i look at some other people's marriages and think, how in the world did they get it so easy? obviously i don't know what goes on behind closed doors, but from the outside, some people's lot in life seems pretty damn good.

but our story is ours. only ours. and i'm proud of us. because of the hell we've been through, and still find ourselves in, we're becoming stronger. i can feel it. and as we persevere, we choose to keep loving, even when it looks ugly. there is still joy. thank god. there is still joy.

we're different people now than the wee ones we married five years ago, but that's okay. because we're still together. we are growing and changing together. and accepting the other however they come (at least trying to). and there isn't one moment in any day that i don't take the john butler i married or the john butler of today for granted. because i know all too very well that life is frighteningly fragile and we are not guaranteed any tomorrows, i will say yes to john butler for as many tomorrows as i'm given.

and as insane as this sounds, sometimes i'm grateful for what we've been through because we have seen things and experienced things in our marriage that others don't even get to scratch the surface of. an intimacy that can't be duplicated any other way, but through huddling together on an island of sorrow only we know.

to sum it up so perfectly only in the way she can, the following were words written and spoken by one of our dearest on the night of our wedding.

and with my blinders off and my nativity shot, i say:

so be it.