Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Belize It

B and I were married on a little island off the coast of Belize on May 25, 2013. When we first returned to San Francisco, I had this idea that I would give myself a little time to process before memorializing our wedding week with some fabulous multi-installment blog. It’s been over 5 months.

I’ve never liked endings or goodbyes - I prefer to move, and think, ahead. I still hate closing the back cover on a book I love; I wish I could work the characters off the page and into my life. I used to cry every single time we left cousins, aunts, uncles, old family friends. Even the ones I didn’t like that much. I guess coming home and writing about my wedding immediately after would have forced a kind of closure I've never been very good at. I didn’t want to acknowledge it was over. Much like during childhood, I didn’t want to feel the dissonance between a week bright with familiar faces and laughter and a reality absent of family and friends' company.  Talk about a come-down far worse than the post-Christmas blues. So, instead of writing about Belize, I eased back into San Francisco and floated through a few weeks with my new husband, high on all that positive post-nuptial energy. And when scrolling through new images uploaded to our group album while waiting in the salad line started to bring that familiar ache for friends and family, I moved on. I focused on the next big thing.  

I grew up very far from our extended family. I moved away from home when I was 18. I left Boston after college and have lived in San Francisco, far from my sisters and parents, for 8 years now. I’ve moved on a lot. But I carry the people that raised me, shaped me, loved me, taught me in my heart everywhere I go.  The past few years have been hard. My family, health, support system and future life with my husband now resemble nothing close to what I envisioned 3 years ago. With each new piece of bad news, I closed my eyes and wished I had my sisters to hold me up or the Boston girls to make me forget or my Farmington girls to remind me how to be tough. When my parents ended their marriage, I wanted to eat cupcakes with Beth. I remember waking up in the hospital after surgery and thinking that I just wanted to have tea with my Dad. When they told me I can’t have kids, I just wanted my own mom to baby me a little. Every time I felt broken or lost, I just I wanted my people. But I knew that wasn't an option, so I just kept moving on.

And then I got off a little puddle jumper in Belize and took a boat to our hotel and tiny Emmie ran up the dock beaming and waving her camera in one hand, clutching the hat that was about to fly off her head in the other. From that moment on, all the people I longed for over the past 3 years- the people who make me strong, make me laugh, make me who I am- arrived one by one on that tiny caye off the coast of that beautiful country. It was as if they each carried a piece of me with them; and together with my sweet, gentle soul of a husband, they put me back together again.

Belize will always be paradise, but for that week, with my heart as full as it will ever be, it was my paradise. I’ve never felt happier, luckier, more at ease, more loved, more in love. I have never felt whole in the way that I did when we were there. No wonder it’s taken me 5 months to even begin to admit it’s over.

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