JUNE 1, 2017 (almost) FOURTEEN months old

Chris and I celebrated our two year wedding anniversary last week and my best friend Kati got married. I was lucky enough to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, and the night was so fun and an absolute success. It was nostalgic being with my childhood best friends and their families, all dancing to I wanna put on, my my my my my boggie shoes, in-between spilled sips of beer and wine on the hot and crowded dance floor.

I loved seeing parents from my past but still present friendships, and telling them about my husband and baby boy. And when Kati and her husband danced together on the dance floor during the last song of the night, all encircled by family and friends watching them with that new hope in their eyes, I silently wished my best friend all the joy and good change the two of them could ever hope for.

Mr. Summers was so calm, clear and deliberate in his words during the Father of the Bride speech. And it got me thinking about Dad’s speech at my wedding. And our father/daughter dance together, to John Mayer’s Daughters, and how the three minutes of our waltz seemed to sum up all our past problems and discomforts and grudges and erase them.

Somewhere in our sorrow, him and I fell away from each other for a long time, filling our distance with fights and misunderstandings of each other’s lives. I tried so desperately to hold onto you, while he tried just as desperately to let go.

I resented him for moving on so quickly. I was mad if he would’t talk about you. I hated him for not asking about my plans, where I was going, when I’d be home–the things you would’ve been on my case about. And I couldn’t stand that he was so angry all the time.

When he danced with me that night, I was reminded for the first time since we lost you, that I was his little girl and he loved me and always would.

Hayley,

I hope that you and Chirs had a lot of fun in Maine on your honeymoon. I wanted to write you a letter that you could open when you got back with some of my feelings and emotions.

I wanted to tell you again how proud I was when I turned the corner and saw my beautiful and amazing daughter standing on the front sidewalk waiting for me. While I was walking you down through the yard and the song you chose was playing, I had a rush of memories from when you were a little girl flashing in my head. Like I said in my text message, it was a magical experience. Everything I had done as a parent was all for that one moment.

The entire wedding was perfect from start to finish. If it were half the amount of people it would not have been the same. If it was at a venue, it would not have been the same. It was meant to be what it was and where it was. It was your vision manifested.

While I was emotional at times, I was not sad. I know this sounds strange but I felt like there was a dome of happiness and love over us. I know your Mom’s energy was there running through everyone. She wants us to be happy and to love and that is the best way to respect what she gave us all.

When Pinja and Cole were announced into the tent together with the bridal party, that was an emotional moment. I thought about after the the tragedy we all faced and how hard it was, and that now I was able to beam with pride because it all worked out and the au pair I chose for help became your close friend. I was emotional walking Terri to her seat, thinking how profound she has been in my life and how she and Nana are so close or the fact that I may have self-destructed years ago if I didn’t have her love and support. 

When “Dreams” played right after the ceremony was over, I thought of you as a little girl on my lap listening to the Cranberries. Also how when we danced together to John Mayer, you looked up at me and said, “I feel like I’m floating.” 

So many people were happy, laughing and dancing and having a great time. A number of them said it was the most fun they ever had at a wedding. All of the vendors were wonderful, and Veronica asked how she could marry into our family.

It was all worth it.

Have fun creating your life with Chris now. It’s not easy but everything worth anything never is.

I love you,

Dad.

The day Chris and I got back from our honeymoon, I got that letter in a mailed envelope from Dad. It was the first thing I ever saw written with my new married name.

Both the wedding and the letter changed a lot between Dad and I. It unified that we felt the same way; we both loved one another, and our past relationship could finally be put behind. And the wedding validated to him, me and everyone else who was there, that you were still with us all. Like he said, you could feel it. 

Chris and I have been together for six years now, two of them married. That seems like a long time loving only one man. What do the people who make it to their fiftieth anniversary feel like?

Earlier today I read through the journal I kept from the fall of 2011, when he and I were in full swing of our dating.

October 23, 2011

The time that Chris and I have had so far, in this little space of a few months, has been wonderful. I can’t complain about one thing. I used to say he didn’t show enough emotion, but he does–the perfect amount of it. I think he just had to get warmed up to me. And I still haven’t gotten over attracted I am to him. He’s embarrassed he has a hairy chest, but guess what? I always liked a hairy man–it’s manly.

He’s made a few jokes/slight hints about being married and when I really imagine it, I can see him being the kind of man I want as a husband. Especially when I think of his Dad and mine and the kind of men they are.

Him and I went on a date last night to Burgatory and in the morning, cuddled after I slept through my alarm to take a yoga class. Then we met in the afternoon to see Tatum at cheerleading, and we sat with Dad, Terri, Grandma and Papap. On the drive home, I cried right before the Squirel Hill tunnel, singing to the song Sweet Disposition. I was so incredibly happy and the turning trees overtook me with beauty and promising change. I wondered how everything in my life could be so wonderful, because it really and truly is.

Coincidentally, the song I was singing in my car was Sweet Disposition, the song Dad walked me through the yard, or “down the aisle,” to. I’ve always gotten good goosebumps when I hear it.

I read journal entries like the one above and am able to be taken back to when we were “kids.”  I know you probably think, you still are kids, but we aren’t.

We are adults, with a house, a dog and a baby and a thriving life.

I’ve come to just expect this thriving life because every woman in our family, including you, has stayed at home with children and been married to a good, kind and successful man. That wonderful family dynamic is all I’ve known (which is a priviledge in itself), so the fact that I have it, doesn’t seem so unusual or special until I take the time to appreciate it all.

Like staying at home. I know I’ve told you many times already, but I love being with Everett all day. I honor it. And what a privilege to get to do so because of a husband who works so hard. A husband who has learned to keep his work and his family life separate, and loves us all with the softest parts of his big manly heart.

I am so lucky. I am so thankful. I am where I am supposed to be.

Life has been good and the days seem to be blending together. I have to check my calendar when writing the date because I can’t keep track. And recently, I haven’t been thinking about you much, like I’m so concentrated in Everett, I don’t even have time to miss you. He is into everything. I must say “no” two hundred times a day, and I know anyone whose ever had children knows exactly what I mean.

Little Everett is loving his fourteenth month of life. He’s happy and free and funny and oh so loved.

I always go into his room at night, right before he falls asleep. He lays on his belly while I rub his back and talk to him, thanking him for being a good boy that day and telling him how much I love him. While he lays there and listens, he looks up at me from the side of his face like I’m the best person ever–like I’m his entire world. And when I look back at him, I get sucked into an oblivion of loving my child and feel proud that he’s mine.

When he laughs, it’s so full and pure, like the most untainted form of joy, for he still only knows love, not a thing of hate or pain or loss. His laughing is my best medicine; those deep little buddha belly chuckles are contagious.

Chris taught him how to “pound it”, a little fist pump in the air. When you ask Everett to do it, his eyes light up and when he successfully contacts your fist, you would think he conquered learning how to fly. He’s so proud to make us proud.

I keep bringing it up to you a lot, and I’m sorry if I seem to be overthinking it, but I cannot stop thinking about a second pregnancy and when. 

I constantly question: when’s the best time? Should we spread kids out or get them “done” with? How old do I want to be when I get pregnant again? How old do I want to be when we have our last child? What kind of age gap do I want between Everett and the next baby? How far apart are Allison and I? How did Mom know she was ready for a second?

I bring up a second baby often in conversations, subconsciously hoping to find my answer through someone else’s experience or opinion, as if they have the ability to persuade me into pregnancy. But I know ultimately it’s no one’s decision besides mine.

I was a $200 deposit away from buying a puppy this past weekend. For an entire month, I’ve been convincing myself that another dog would be the answer to my boredom. I think I wanted to prove that I could take on more work and responsibility, just not in the form of a baby. That is obviously very stupid thinking.

So instead of a puppy purchase, we ordered a king mattress. Chris slyly worked his ways, successfully convincing me another animal was a bad idea for many reasons, and that a new bed was the more logical option. I know he’s right, but I hate when he is.

Cheers to that man for always keeping me upright and sane. Happy two years to us.

 

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