vows and nearing 49

I need to write my wedding vows.

It’s 11:01 on Saturday morning, exactly two weeks from my wedding day.

I need to write my wedding vows.

Yet, here I am floating in the pool, watching the reflection of the pool water bounce through the trees. It’s so quiet and with five dogs, that’s a rare occurrence. I know there is a list of things to get done today and only a few hours left to do them. I should probably do some laundry and the dishes from last night’s dinner.

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But I am so relaxed.

When did I become so relaxed?

I look down at my body and there are white lines on my stomach and I wonder what they are and realize that the sun doesn’t tan in those lines because the skin rolls together there and the rays can’t reach that area and when I stretch out, the lines appear. I guess I am a little fat. Just a little.

I see the stretch marks on my thighs. They have been there since I was a teenager, growing faster than my skin would allow. They appear more pronounced with the darkness of my summer tan. I see them but I don’t react to them. I rub them lightly with my fingers, following the lines absentmindedly. I am 49 soon. Right around the corner from 50. I’m old. But I don’t really care about it. I notice it but I don’t mind it.

When did I stop hating my body?

I need to write my vows…five more minutes, I tell myself and then notice that twenty minutes has passed and I am still floating along, doing nothing.

When did I start allowing myself to do nothing?

I am thinking about my brother, imagining his skin, imagining the last conversation we could have had if I hadn’t been so stubborn. He would be 52 in a few days. 52 years old. He turned 50 without me. He turned 50 without a call or a text or a card. I wish my brother could come to the wedding. I wish I could talk to him and touch him on the hand and look into his blue eyes and remind him how much he mattered to me, matters to me. I long for some sense of resolution and forgiveness and acceptance. I feel wetness at my eyes because there will never be a chance for that final conversation. I let him down. Yet, I am not angry at myself. I forgive myself because I know I did what I could with what I had at the time and that I do more and better when I can. I know I am someone who strives to improve. I know I am not perfect and I forgive myself for it, generally. I still get annoyed with myself when I am not the perfect person I imagined I would be but I recognize that perfection doesn’t exist and that we learn and grow and change and evolve into something different but still imperfect.

When did I start being so kind and forgiving to myself?

It’s 11:33 now and I am still floating and I need to write my vows but now I find myself thinking about my children. Not in a frantic, anxious way, more like pictures of them are floating along in my mind and I am watching them transform into the people they are becoming and I am scared and excited for them. I am honored to be their mother. I don’t get to see them as much as I wish I could see them. It’s harder and harder to connect with them as they grow older. I know how little impact I can have now on my almost adult children besides being more present with them. Simply being present has been such a struggle for me for so long. It’s not a struggle much anymore. Some days are better than others but overall, I am more present with them than I have ever been before.

When did I start becoming more present?

The sun has shifted and I find myself shivering a bit because the pool water is warmer than it is in shade. It must be noon now and I need to write to vows.

I am struck like a slap in the face as I recognize that these are my vows, these thoughts, these floating along musings, this realization of who I have become because you love me and I love you.

More relaxed, more kind to myself and to others, more present, and more forgiving.

You, my love, have broken down my walls. You’ve shown me what love is and can be and should be.

You’ve taught me to slow down. You’ve taught me to relax and enjoy my life more. You’ve taught me to love my body by watching how much you love my body. I shudder sometimes when I see you, seeing me. I don’t know what to do it with it. I like it even though it’s scary sometimes. You let myself be loved. You have taught me to forgive myself for being imperfect.

I want so much to love you completely and I can’t do that until I start loving myself completely. So I will. I do. You’ve asked me to be present and I want to make you happy so I am fighting harder against my tendency to shut down and tune out. You love me anyway, exactly as I am. But I long to make you completely happy, forever, so I try harder to be present and it’s getting easier.

It impacts every aspect of my life, our love…how I am in friendships, work, with my children and family.

I can’t wait to be your wife. I can’t wait until you are my wife.

Oh, there you are, walking outside in your red stripey bathing suit, looking so cute.

Damn, you are hot, I think.

“How’s it going?” you ask.

“Done”, I respond. “Let’s get in the pool.”

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