Spoiler Alert… It’s not all rainbows and butterflies (though I’ve had a lot of both very recently).
There is a story that most of us are taught, about life. A story that starts with beautiful beginnings and continues to wind its way through a path of happiness and wonderful moments. We are told that if we do everything right, life will be full and satisfying. It’s true, but as we also learn, through the act of living out that life, that it comes with ups and downs and bumps and bruises. I’ve spent a fair bit of time these last few days trying to balance out the way I am feeling. I’ve got mixed emotions and I’m trying to reconcile my grumpy mood and the empty/lost feeling that I’ve been having. I should still be riding on high from the celebrations this past weekend. But I’’m not.. It is quite the opposite. Though I’m still getting so much love and well wishes from people (mostly social media because I posted pictures of our day), it feels fabricated. Like, only one side of things is visible.
I need to take a little time and step through the days – not the Wedding, or parties, or all the things leading up to that (which I should also do), but what has happened after. Rewind to last Sunday at 3PM. Picture this…
The bride, standing at the bar with a drink in her hand having a conversation with a friend. There’s a small plate with a half eaten piece of cake and two macaroon cookies positioned on the bar next to her and several family members close by. She glances around and notices that people, most notably the man that she has just married, are scrambling around the room collecting decorations. Him and his children and a few others are dumping water from vases and putting flowers back into the bin she so carefully filled and carried and used the day before to decorate the space. What’s she thinking?
“What the hell is going on? Why are they doing that?” She looks at the plate with the cake and around the room again and then lifts her left wrist to look at her watch. Only she’s not wearing it because it’s her wedding day and she wore a bracelet instead. “What time is it?” She asks her friend.
“About 3PM” is the reply.
“Already?” Yes, already. A horrible feeling washes over her. It’s all over and what now? She had not thought much about this moment, other than wondering how she would feel. She looks at the cake again.
This is what I remember. Of all the things to remember from the last time, this is the same. I didn’t get to enjoy my own cake and I didn’t get to really talk to the people who came to support me because it all goes too fast. And then people rush around to clean up, and I’m all like “hey, but I’m just getting started”. Of course, I kicked into gear and started helping clean up too, because that’s what I do (and I wanted to make sure certain details were not missed).
An hour later all the stuff has been dumped in a room off of the garage in the house and we’ve changed out of our Wedding best and are sitting in the living room. We realize one of the cats is missing. We start to look for her. She’s nowhere to be found.
We spent what was left of the afternoon searching and even thinking she got out of the house somehow. Jim and Z and I walked the neighborhood calling to her and I carried food in a food dish, clanking it as I walked (as that is how I used to get her to come to the door when she went outside at my old house). This is not how this afternoon was supposed to go.. we were nervous and worried and thinking if she did get out, she could be long gone. She’s not used to this neighborhood, she has never been outside the house here. It was a terrible sinking feeling.
Several hours later the sun is down and we are back in the living room on the couch. The kids have retreated to their rooms and the mood is low. Jim has childhood trauma from a lost pet, and I’ve had several scares in my life to reflect upon. How do we even proceed with our day/evening. We should be happy and celebrating and falling into each others arms. We sit with anxiety and share our stories.
Jim goes to do a few chores as we had not yet had time to address the aftermath of the party at our house the night before. In the midst of doing that, he spots the cat slinking down the hallway. We have no earthly idea where she could have been sleeping that we did not find her but all of a sudden, there she was. We were elated and relieved. It was all so overwhelming it was like I had not exhaled for hours. All of a sudden, there we were in the kitchen and I was just sobbing uncontrollably. How could it all be over? How could this be happening? What now?
We continued to clean like it was a regular day after a party and I was already checking social media for pictures of events. That is when I started to feel a bigger let-down. I wanted to share the news of our day with the world, yet, I didn’t have any pictures. I wanted to keep the party going, but that’s not how it works. We had a few good snaps from friends and I posted the “life event” on FB.
1 day after (Monday), Jim goes back to work and the kids go back to school and it’s like nothing ever happened. Except that I have more cleaning up to do. I spend the morning sorting through the pile of decorations and vases and boxes to put some stuff away. I solicited for more pictures and kept my eye on FB for comments and other people’s posts. I had coffee and a chat with my friend Sarah who was still in town and that was really great, and felt like the best conversation I had all weekend. I guess I’m just better at one on one interaction (or at least that is what I prefer).
2 days after (Tuesday), Jim is at work and the kids are at school again. I space off my 10AM work meeting and spend the morning sorting through the party trash cans and separate the recycling from the trash, rinsing out glass and plastic. The kitchen smells like alcohol and I notice it is getting cold. By 4PM, I realize the furnace is not working. I’m exhausted and have not slept well for several nights.
3 days after (Wednesday), the living room and kitchen are cold and none of my troubleshooting efforts have paid off. I take one of the cars in for its regularly scheduled maintenance checks. I continue to obsess over pictures and frantically put together a scrap book of all the paper artifacts from the weekend, as if my life depended on it. I troll social media for more comments and post some of the pictures I’ve received of our big event. When Jim comes home from work, he looks at the furnace and we decide to call a service tech. I finally get my period (I had been spotting for about 7 days straight), and begin having bad stomach pains, which is not normal.
It is now Thursday, 4 days after, and the service tech has been and gone and the house is slowly warming up. Jim is at work of course and the kids are at school and I’m finally getting to sit down and really write what is on my mind. I’ve got a lunch meet-up today with a friend who was not at the wedding and plans later to grab a drink with my other friend who was. It feels very much like back to business as usual. But again, it’s strange because I’m not ready for it to be over.
You know, you work for weeks and months to plan something and when it is over and done, there is an emptiness that happens. I know I’m happy because I feel happy, and I am looking forward to lots of future stuff, but it’s like I’m so sad it’s gone. I thought I would feel relief. I thought I would be happy to get back to “normal life,” but I’m just not. I’m just sad.
Some of the flowers are in vases in the kitchen and they are starting to droop and wither. Soon, they will be too far gone and I’ll have to pitch them into the trash. That’s depressing.
For all the wonderful things and for all the happy moments, there is a balancing act that takes place. An equal and opposite feeling, a yin to the yang, a low to match the high. I’m definitely experiencing that. I don’t want to dwell on the negative, but I can’t ignore it either. It’s just a part of the big picture.
I have more to say, of course, but I’ve already gone on too long today. If you are still with me, thanks for reading. I’m going to try and break away from this funk today and just start enjoying married life. Married life??!!! I wonder what that’s like?!
Cheers through all the laughter and tears,