Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I do... I still do... I always will.

Photosource: Marco Clara
Staring at the flashing cursor on the blank Microsoft Word page, I have the complete notion that no matter what I write and how well I edit it – no matter how much effort I put into this post, it can never do justice to describe the happiest day of my life.

27th of February 2010

For most a rainy and chilly day better spent indoors – for me, the perfect day to put on the prettiest dress I own and celebrate with the people I care most about the love I share with the man I chose to wake up with every morning for the rest of my life.
Until this day, to me a wedding was nothing more than an expensive party filled with excesses, a ritual unnecessary to unite two people.
People are together because they want to be together and they stay together because they choose to – it’s not a signed contract that guarantees a relationship.
It’s this belief and the witnessing of so many failed marriages that kept me uninterested… until…
He asked… so sweetly, so unexpectedly that disinterest suddenly transformed into something really important, maybe it had always been – the opportunity to celebrate something I knew I already had with the people I care about.
For months, all I could think about was the one day I would join all the people I care about under one roof... it was this thought that kept me focused each time we had to fork out another exorbitant amount of money for something else we hadn’t thought of but needed for that day.
I distinctly recall the panic I felt each time I saw the numbers rising on our budget and the guilt I felt knowing that the amount we spent with that one single day, we could’ve bought our much needed car instead.
However, if I knew then what I know now – even if our wedding had cost the double of what we paid, I’d still do it all over again.
No one can evaluate what that one single day meant to me, it was simply priceless.

One week before

My stomach churned as I picked my mother up at the airport. Although nobody spoke about it, I knew all four of us had the same nervous feeling at the pit of our stomachs.
It would be the first time the four of us were together in nine years and a lot had happened since then.
I knew my parents would be good for my wedding, I also knew that deep emotion and the bringing up of an intense past was inevitable.
It was time to make peace.
There are moments in life so intense that they take you back to another time in life when you were a child and felt incredibly vulnerable – that’s how I felt when I saw my parents greet each other for the first time in a long time…
My little brother had the same expression on his face as I had on mine. I wish he’d known them during those few years when they’d actually been friends.
Seven days gave him that opportunity.
I’ve never felt as much love and support from my parents as I did on the week before I got married.
If ever they made me doubt the whole institution of marriage, on that week they transformed me into a believer. Things might not have worked out for them in the long run – but the companionship they shared made me realise that their ending would’ve been different if they’d done differently – I’m going to do differently.
Luis and I plan to preserve all of what attracted one to another and all that keeps us together – we’re going to keep communicating even well after we race each other on wheelchairs at the nursing home…
It felt reassuring to hear my parents do just that, well into the early hours of the morning. Time has a way of healing so much… I believe these days were just as important to my parents as they were for my brother and I.

One day before the wedding.

It rained and it poured and no planes were coming in or out of Madeira. Nine people meant to be at my wedding waited out at the airport for the rains to subside in the hopes that their much delayed flight would make it out to Lisbon.
It was while the hairdresser put in the curlers that I caved into desperation and cried… at that point it felt like even on my wedding day things had to go wrong, a direct reflection on my life – something always goes wrong.
The amazing thing about women is that they pull you through anything – five strange women that I hardly knew wiped my tears and reminded me that regardless of whether or not those nine people made it – they already showed me how much they care about me just by refusing to give up.
Months before I asked Saint Peter to give me a beautiful sunny wedding day. Saint Peter had never failed me before but the weather promised otherwise… but I know Saint Peter never fails me – so I asked for a change in our contract. I told Saint Peter he could let it rain as much he wanted on my wedding day as long as he stopped the rain in Madeira and let the people I care about come through.
It stopped raining and at two in the morning of my wedding day with curlers in my hair and in my slippers I waited at the airport for that plane to land…

Three hours of sleep later…

I couldn’t be calmer.
I realised that all that I all I could possibly do was already done and that the day would simply play out…
As I arrived from the hairdresser and climbed the stairs I was stopped dead in my tracks by the vision of my little brother in a suit and the purple tie we’d picked out together.
I can’t call my brother “little” anymore – my brother is a tall, handsome and charming young man with a heart of gold and I couldn’t be prouder to be his sister.
At that exact moment, I saw the first moment I saw him, held him and saw him smile at me. I recalled the way he made fists when he didn’t want to sleep and then opened his hands when he finally fell fully asleep; the plastic motorbike he rode around; the day he broke his arm; the day I he disappeared and the day he arrived in Madeira…
I’ve never seen my little brother look more handsome than on my wedding day.

My grandmother helped me put on my dress and my aunts helped.
As tradition calls for, I was late… but surprisingly calm about it… until I was lead to the entrance of the hall and saw him.
My man.
Suddenly every other reason for this day fell away and he was the only reason for being there at that moment. The noise and the people faded and nothing was more important then his eyes looking directly at me.
That’s when I felt it all – the love I felt, the love we share and the love that keeps us together.

Once the “I do´s” were pronounced and the pictures were taken I finally got to walk into that room that fit all the people I care about… to see their faces and feel their smiles and to know how much happiness they wished for us – it was simply overwhelming.
There’s simply no price tag to it.

There were so many special moments…
The children running around, blowing bubbles…
The slide show that told our history with a series of photos no one had seen in a long time…
My dad dancing… my dad dancing!!!
My family… my friends…
…Everyone smiling, everyone enjoying themselves, everyone happy…

There was I moment I looked around me and felt like Luis and I were the luckiest people in the world – to have so many people that care about us, that made an incredible effort to share our day with us.
I felt blessed for our family – mine and Luis’s. We are both blessed with the parents we have and the siblings we were given.
There are simply no words to describe how much I love them and how much I’m grateful to them.

In a blink of an eye the night came to an end… and once again, the people I care about dispersed… I doubt I’ll ever manage to get them all together again… but on that one day – on my wedding day, it happened!

One by one… they left.
My mom left, my little brother left and lastly… my dad left.
There are two kinds of tears – the ones you cry at the “hello” and the ones you cry at the “goodbye”.
In the shortest time, I saw my dad cry tears of joy on his arrival, tears of pride as he saw my brother and I dressed up and then tears of utter despair as I watched him say goodbye to my brother through the review mirror.
From the wedding on, every trip to the airport was a sad one.

On the day my dad left – the house felt so empty.
I felt so empty and so utterly alone – but I wasn’t alone.
Someone was there to hold me while I cried and wipe away my tears.
When I went to bed that someone was next to me and when I woke up he was still there… the man I married, the man that makes me laugh and smile and wake up every morning to life.

Five months later nothing has changed – I have a ring around my finger but the relationship I have with my better half continues as before.
I still believe marriage is overrated and that weddings are expensive parties… but knowing what I know now, even if it had cost the triple of what we paid for it… I would still relive the 27th of February 2010 and wouldn’t change a thing about it.

Thank-you to each person that was there… to my parents and to my amazing mother and father in law

Porque o destino se esforçou para nos unir… Para sempre aquele pedacinho.