Four Years.

Yesterday was four years from this day. The most beautiful day of my life.

Even though we have an impressively empty bank account right now, we truly focused on each other all week. That’s the whole point of celebrating your anniversary, isn’t it? Whatever helps you relive the memories best, whatever helps you feel a new surge of love and excitement for your person… and maybe, if you’re lucky, whatever helps you make a new memory to make that year stand out when looking back from future anniversaries. 
I’ve come to realize, its not about an expensive date night. Or a valuable gift. Or an instagrammable bouquet. (Although I appreciate all of those things). 
Its about renewing the passion, the gratitude, the memories.

Jason surprised me by finding our old journal – we bought it together a few months into dating to save some of our favorite memories and secrets (yes, a few months in – we were bold. And very sure of each other I guess, lol)… and he wrote in it! Not telling what. 😉 But it made me choke up. And feel very cherished.All this week, we’ve been like, “Ok – what were we doing this time four years ago?”… reliving and reminding each other of the little moments that get lost… the hanging the plants in the reception hall in the sunny afternoon and last minute beer runs; the moments that paralyzed you with excitement when you drove your worldly belongings from your empty dorm room to your fiancee’s apartment, and walked out of the door realizing you’d come back to this place in 2 weeks and it would be home. You would get to wake up next to the broad-shouldered man of your dreams from then on… the putting in your earrings in the bedroom of your childhood as your bridegroom calls for you to hurry up so you can drive to the rehearsal… the last minute flower mixups…The crying of your sweet Dad in the back room of the church waiting to take you down the aisle.

(My Dad’s kind of a huge crier). 

The tears streaming down your husband’s face as you walk down the aisle to him. My husband is not a crier. In fact I think that may have been the one and only time I have ever seen him cry. Everyone in my wedding party fell to pieces. It was a cheesy romantic mess. Unfortunately our church had strict photography rules, and none of the pics were close enough to capture his handsome face. But I will never forget it.

Oh my goodness. My Dad! haha I love him so much. He raised me to feel more loved than you can imagine. And one of the best parts about getting to marry Jason is how much my Dad LOVES him too… they talk on the phone about, oh, everything, almost every day. 
It is kind of appropriate that we didn’t spend much money celebrating our anniversary, simply focused on soaking in the memories – because that is how our wedding went down as well. I got married a week after I graduated college, and we had no money, lol. Much like my Wedding Anniversary Buddy Theresa Brez (hey girl heyy!) I had no time, no Pinterest, and no ability to plan much. 
I am the oldest of 6 so Dad couldn’t give me a big wedding budget, although he was so generous and so helpful with all the planning – even to providing all the plants from his own garden for the reception! :). When it became very clear very quickly that we could afford only the simplest of wedding receptions… in the Church hall…  I just embraced it. I didn’t even try to make it a sit-down fancy evening. I decided to forget the fact that it was a Wedding Reception, capitalized, and toss all the little expensive add-ons like favors and place cards and all that stuff, and treat it like I was simply planning a huge party where everyone Jason and I loved the most would be in one place, so all we had to do was to make them comfortable to relax and enjoy each other and us. 
And that is exactly how it went. 
We filled that Church and hall to the limit, and it was the biggest, happiest, most fun Saturday afternoon party you can imagine. 
We couldn’t afford a DJ, but instead of having an iPod going, I was lucky enough to have some old high school friends who had a little John Mayer Trio-like band. These guys were so sweet about playing for us, and it really set the mood. Jazzy and mellow and energizing all at once. It was awesome.
We had the big ancient windows opened wide to let in the sunlight. Wine flowed in abundance – thanks to good ole Charles Shaw from Tradah J’s! – and people danced and laughed and hugged and cried and all three at once, and my cup was full.

And this guy. How handsome is he! Man. He was draggin’ me out of that place as soon as we had hugged and thanked every one of the 250 people there. 😉

Not to be all “Love is all you need”… but really. Here I was, 21 years old(!), in my fake chiffon dress from David’s Bridal, with that little $4 Goody’s hairband that I had decided would make me feel like a Greek princess (it did and was genius. And I came up with it allll on my own yo. Pinterest shminterest!)… I did get my hair done, but put on my own makeup and my cousin painted my nails the night before (thank you Teresa dearest, if you are reading this!)… my parents’  beautiful choir sang the wedding mass, and everyone was bawling because it was the most beautiful mass in the world, and I held Jason’s hands on the altar where I first saw him, serving… and even our pastor who is notorious for being a huge scrooge about weddings choked up more than once… and then in the reception hall, our little college boy-band playing in the background and cheap wine and simple little horsdeurves and my Dad’s potted plants hanging from the walls and decorating the tables… and Jason and I were in heaven. 
Jason said afterwards – “I don’t think I sinned once all day. I was so happy there was no room!” No room for even a nasty thought or an angry word, no room for anything but perfect love. That is happiness.
Fast forward 4 years and, thanks to our impulsive generosity in the baby-makin’ department, and our desire to soak up our short time with these little men instead of scrambling after the American Dream, we still are living on love. Jason picked up a simple grocery-store bouquet for me yesterday on his lunch break, and I surprised him when he walked in the door late after his class with a clean house, a hot dinner, a candlelit living room, and cheap champagne. 
We played our “what were we doing?” game, and toasted, and beamed at each other and barely-escaped me spilling my entire glass of champagne down Jason’s shirt… and counted our blessings. Here we are… We are more in love than we were that day we were married, more in love than either of us could have imagined ever being with anyone… we each feel honestly that we are becoming “one” as the Catholic view of marriage teaches, that we cleave to one another and pursue a selfless union with each other and with God… and we have these two little dudes in our life who are the funniest, yummiest, sweetest people. And in a couple of days, we will be bumming off my parent’s beach vacation for a whole week and getting free babysitting to go for long walks on the shore and maybe even a little date night or two. 
Our cup – the cup we get to share together, in sorrow and in health – overfloweth. 

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9 thoughts on “Four Years.

  1. Anniversary Buddy, loving all these new-to-me photos! That church is gorgeous! Your reflection, as usual, brings me to the verge of tears… And seriously, Jason – “I don't think I sinned once all day…” – that is the sweetest thing I think I've ever read.

  2. Reading this filled me with such joy, not to mention surprise tears. You and your husband have a relationship and marriage that I can only hope that my fiancee and I will grow to attain. God bless you both!

  3. @Andrea – thank you for your encouraging words! I hope people don't think I use this blog to set myself up as a model to be attained though… more like, I share some of my heart and my story to encourage everyone GOD GIVES GOOD GIFTS! He is never outdone in generosity, and He promises to give us the desires of our hearts! We just have to take delight in HIm first! 🙂

    I cannot take any credit for the blessing of my marriage, except that Jason and I both individually sought God's Will first, and His Will blew us away 😉

    Best wishes for your own upcoming marriage!!

  4. Gah! I just found your blog and needed to comment because we too got married at St. Mary's and also had our reception in Gallivan Hall! What a beautiful post. The photography rules are even more strict now and I am kind of jealous of all your midway-down-the aisle shots! I knew Fr. Newman had some emotion in there somewhere. 🙂

  5. Happy Anniversary! Ours was yesterday, May 26th. It was funny because we kept looking at the time and thinking about 7 years ago. I spent our anniversary doing tons of laundry from our trip (I live a glamorous life).

    I loved this post and seeing and the photos! I don't think I've heard your wedding story or seen the photos before. Love your veil with the style of your dress! Love your story too, it's so sweet. Yes, no Pinterest or the The Knot for us back then!

  6. I got married at that same church! Love, love, love it! We live in Atlanta now (where we are from originally) and I still wish we could get back to Greenville one day to be apart of that parish. I want our little boy to go to school there! I only lived there for about a year and a half, but that church really made an impact on me. The priests are so intelligent and wonderful (though we were intimidated by Fr. N at first!). Deacon Heuser did our ceremony and he gave the most beautiful homily about 'becoming one'. My husband converted through their RCIA as well. I still compare every other church we go to to that one. There is a chance we might be there this weekend and we are going to go to Mass if we are…I'm so excited. It is such a beautiful Mass! I was a budget bride as well…had no idea you could use the church hall! I found a little farm out towards Easley that let us have our reception there and it ended up being wonderful. We were their first 'real' wedding reception other than one other small one they had done for a friend. Now they do them all the time. I love the quote about not sinning your husband made….now that I think about it, I think the same went for me. I was just SO HAPPY that day. Glad I found your blog (:

  7. @Christina – thank you! I could not agree with you more about St. Mary's, and Greenville in general! it will always have a special place in my heart, and my husband's!

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