Friday, October 14, 2011
2001. Ours was the third in a series of family weddings that year. Boston in August, Newport Beach in September, and the grand finale in New Hope, Pennsylvania in October. We were living in Seattle by then, but most of our friends and family were still on the east coast. Destination wedding!
We’d just gotten back from the Newport Beach trip feeling so happy. Even on the drive to work that morning I couldn’t stop smiling, remembering all the fun we’d had and anticipating my own wedding – only a month away now. Even the AIRPORT CLOSED sign didn’t raise much concern or curiosity. Good thing we’d flown in the day before, I thought. I was handing out Disneyland souvenir pens to my co-workers when I first heard the news.
One sobering month later, we locked up our house in the dark and loaded our wedding-couture-filled garment bags into the airport shuttle van. It seemed wrong, somehow, to completely indulge the giddy anticipation and visions of sugarplums. The airport was nearly empty and eerily quiet. No one spoke as we waited to board our flight.
In Pennsylvania, American flags abounded. They hung on doorways, from cranes on construction sites, on lapels in ribbon form. Back in Seattle, we’d seen the same shocking images on CNN, felt the same deep sadness and confusion. But here in the northeast, it was raw. Real.
Somehow, though, a wedding was exactly what was needed. There were my sisters, my parents, and my old beloved Pennsylvania autumn. There was the man I loved so much, together for nearly four years at that point but still very much in the early wide-eyed throes of it. Everyone was so excited, so ready to come together and just be happy again, throwing ourselves into the joyful project of pulling this wedding together.
And pull it together, we did. Sunflowers. Baked brie. Falling leaves by the Delaware River. Chocolate raspberry cake. The best, most wonderful circle of friends and family. Pure fun. Pure love.
Life moved on pretty quickly from there. Our dreamy wedding gave way to the realities of marriage, and the dreamy “United We Stand” mood of the early post-9/11 weeks gave way to…well, you know.
Funny how those dreadful political years became the backdrop for some of the happiest, most monumental moments of our lives together. We were watching Fair Game the other night and I kept mentally comparing the story’s timeline to our own. That’s when we got married. That’s when I found out I was pregnant with The Boy. Et cetera.
I guess it feels like ten years – personally and politically. I can’t quite believe where we’ve been. I can’t quite fathom where we’re going. There will be joy and distance, absurdities and hope, setbacks and triumphs. It reads like a narrative, but really it’s a process.
Happily ever onward.