Something happens in a matter of seconds, but feels like an eternity?
That was me as I (not-so-graciously) fell into the water on my wedding day.
Yes, fell into the water. On my wedding day.
After a decade together, my hubby and I decided to tie the knot in a backyard wedding at my parent’s riverside house.
After the ceremony, as the guests were mingling, my husband and I went to take the typical couple photos.
There was a quaint little dock, the skies were just perfectly clouded, and like any woman on their wedding day, I was feeling all the feels.
Being totally overconfident in the moment, I gushed at my husband that I wanted him to “dip” me. You know, like they do on all the dance shows. (For the record, I am not a graceful person, we are not dancers, nor had he ever “dipped” me in our decade together.)
At that point in time, I wanted a freaking Beyoncé moment.
And that is when the world slowed down.
… A flash of terror in my husband’s eyes.
… Gravity pulling me down as I squealed in a slow-motion voice: “Baaaaaaaaaaabbbbbbbbbbbeeeeeeeeee”.
… And then quiet as I was completely submerged in the river.
As I re-emerged from the depths, I remember looking for my husband and having a flood of relief at least knowing I was not alone in the river and he had also toppled in.
Then came the haze of blank thoughts as my mind could not even comprehend what had just happened.
The next ten minutes are a blur of nervous giggles as reality had not yet sunk in.
After pulling ourselves out of the water, cutting through the neighbor’s yard, avoiding the mingling guests, I took shelter in my parents’ bathroom.
As the shock of the fall was beginning to wear off, I took inventory. My hair was a matted mess, my mascara was running down my face, and I looked like a drowned rat.
And I just remember thinking “WTF just happened and what do I do now?”
Just as I was on the brink of crying and throwing myself a pity party, desperately waiting for my three sisters to find the right words to say, my brother-in-law popped his head in the bathroom and let out a gut-wrenching howl of laughter.
Instead of punching him (because the idea quickly grazed my consciousness), I just started to laugh too.
And we all laughed.
I looked at my sisters, tears of laughter rolling down their faces; tears of shock and laughter rolling down mine, and will never forget that moment.
Dripping wet, hair ruined, dress ruined, makeup gone, I choose to embrace the moment for what it was…
So often in life we are faced with situations and events that we convince ourselves should look and be a certain way.
We build up ideas of what our wedding should look like, what pregnancy should look like, what birth should look like, what marriage should look like, and what motherhood should look like.
Easily getting fixated on our, or society’s, definition of perfect. Leaving us lost in disappointment if these expectations are not met.
My wedding looked nothing like I had envisioned in my head. It was not even close to looking like a wedding “should” look.
And it was still the best day of my life.
After untangling all the bobby pins from my matted hair and taking a rather large shot of rum, Mother Nature decided to have one last laugh by opening up her skies and blasting us with a mid-Canadian torrential downpour of rain.
As we walked barefoot through the sheets of rain, greeting our guests, laughing at what just occurred, it didn’t bother me one bit that it was raining on my wedding day.
Because in that moment we chose to let go of the “shoulds” and embrace our wedding story.
Little did I know then the lesson this experience was teaching me for motherhood.
How getting caught up in the “shoulds” of life keeps us from living and appreciating the present moment for all it is worth.
In all its beautiful messiness.
So next time:
– You are frazzled from that epic tantrum your toddler just threw in the mall,
– That imperfect family vacation that nothing seemed to go as it should have,
– That day everything seems to be going wrong and not like you imagined motherhood should be like,
Choose to let go of the “should” and embrace the moment for what it is.
Choose the messiness.
Make the memories.
Embrace your story.
Falling into the water on my wedding day was the last thing I expected to do, but looking back I think it was one of the best life lessons I have had to date… and hey, I always have that back up card of, “Remember when you dropped me in the river on our wedding day?”