As we wait anxiously for my sister’s professional wedding photos to come back, I thought I’d tease you with this little iPhone treat. I have others — even taken with real cameras! — but not many, honestly. Which is strange. And good.
I made a vow for Katie’s day: I would stay present, physically and emotionally. I would not be updating the events in real time on Facebook; I would not be tweeting or Instagramming (save the one above!) or checking email. For once in my life, I would live by my long motto: be here now.
And more than anything, I wouldn’t be taking pictures.
That last one was hardest. It was easy to tuck my phone away for the day — a reprieve, really. My little hiatus last week was restorative in many ways, and I definitely needed the time to break away from social media and its many distractions.
Saturday was a great day, but it was a hard day. It was hard to be with my emotions, to sit still and not shrink from them. To embrace them, actually. I cried a lot. Not because my sister was getting married, but because my sister was getting married. I love Eric, my new brother-in-law; I think the world of him, in fact. But this wedding was both a beginning and an ending.
It was emotional. And raw. At one point, a friend walked up to put her arm around me and said, “Are you okay? You seem really . . . sad.”
And then I was embarrassed. My carrying-on may have prompted family and friends to think I was devastated by my sister’s nuptials, which just wasn’t true — but it was too complicated to explain. In that moment, I couldn’t begin to articulate the swirl of feelings in my heart.
It was happiness. Of course.
But also sadness.
It was everything, really, and also nothing. As I stood on the steps with the other bridesmaids, waiting for my turn to walk down the aisle, I felt an odd zen that I was in the right place at the right moment . . . that there was nowhere else I could possibly be.
And then I panicked, thinking I wanted to run and retreat into the night. I wanted to turn the clock back a day, a week, a year or three. Maybe then my sister and I would be back home in our pajamas, back when we were freshly engaged and just beginning to plan our dual weddings. Or further, back when I was home late from work in college and Katie was waiting up for me. Or much further, back and back, back to when we were kids with an entire summer day to do nothing but play Uno and watch the Nickelodeon line-up and play Barbies.
But we were there together in our too-high heels, all grown up. Katie with her hands in Eric’s. Me white-knuckle clutching a bouquet, squinting in the sunshine.
And then it was over. He was kissing the bride.
It went so fast. It all went too fast.
I’ve been in a bit of a turmoil this week, honestly. An existential crisis, perhaps. I haven’t even been reading much. My own wedding is six weeks away and there is much to do, but I haven’t felt like plunging right back into the wedding cauldron. Spence and I have made inroads in lots of areas and life is still busy busy, busy as ever, but I feel a little detached from it all.
But I’ve started moving. I transported one whole shelf worth of books on Tuesday — the first step in a daunting process. Spence and I have those tall bookcases from Borders lining the living room walls, and the prospect of neatly and categorically organizing my novels filled me with a sense of hope and calm. My books made it feel homier, like a place where I belonged. I felt happier stacking my books in their new home than I have in days. Knowing each hardcover will have a place to nestle is soothing.
I like knowing there’s a place for everything . . . and everything in its place. Including myself.
Even if I’m not sure exactly where that will be.
Even if life seems to move faster than I can process sometimes.
I will get there. I will have a place . . . with Spencer, and with my family, and with my career. I will have a place.
Even better, I will make a place.
Our place. Together.