Dear Evan and Lulu,
One year from tomorrow I will stand in this spot and take vows that have been in the works since two years ago when Mike and I first met. We will marry three years from the anniversary that we started.
You aren’t quite old enough to know what a year is yet. The only way to describe it is the distance from one birthday party to the next. So of course you think it is eternity.
I don’t have the right words to illustrate for you what is in a year and maybe I wouldn’t even want to if I could. Because at this point you can’t realize that one day you might wake up in a life you don’t recognize or even want. Your possessions, your body and worst of all your spirit broken. Your arms, clasped around your chest, are the only things holding your life together and sometimes they aren’t even strong enough. You repeat the words “how did I get here?” over and over again so many times that they lose all meaning and become a mantra. You’ve lost most of your tears but when you dream you cry while trying to escape the grips of the year.
Then one day you wake up a year later and your arms no longer tremble. Where they once held together the pieces of your life they instead hold a tiny child. She consumes your arms, your chest, and your entire year. You murmur “how did you get here?” to her so many times and watch her answer with flutters of her eyelids. She smells like a new beginning. A few tears drop every time you watch her chest rise and fall as she sleeps. You dream of nothing but holding her, glued to this year forever.
Some people would say it is irresponsible to tell your children about these types of years. I think it is irresponsible not to. I want you to know that I understand the magnitude of what a year can hold just like I recognize the enormous, life changing impact a year can bring.
Most years are actually a mixture of both these experiences. They are knee surgeries and engagements. New jobs and lost loved ones. Holding yourself and holding others. The only thing that gets us through the years, regardless of what they hold, are the ones we choose to travel through them with.
I already made my choice of partners. First with you when you melted away the worst of years. Next with Mike when he created the best of years. Although I’ll take my vows one year from now I decided long ago who I wanted to spend my time with, which has made every day of every year a little easier and a lot more enjoyable.
When you are struggling with your own demon years, or when you are embracing a new type of year, I hope you will also choose me to travel with. And when you choose other people to join your travels, I hope they will recognize just how powerful you are. You changed not only my years, but my entire life.
I love you and I can’t wait to see you as flower girls! (And yes, that is one of you, I think Evan, doing yoga on the alter. Of course. )