We were so young then. In some ways. I was one of those proverbial old souls, already having lived through some pretty rough stuff. To say my childhood was dysfunctional is such an understatement it would be funny, were it not so sad.
Compared to my upbringing, my husband's looked like a 1950s sitcom, the mother wearing an apron over her freshly pressed dress, greeting her returning husband with a joyous glow as she brought him his cocktail, insisting he put his feet up after a long, hard day at work. And it wasn't even really like that. It was pretty average but to me, I couldn't grasp what that life would have been about. I'd never known normalcy and you'll have to take my word on it, I mean that literally. My parents didn't have friends, and our exended family lived hundreds of miles away in Mississippi. That insulation made it all the worse. There was no one to provide checks and balances, no one to see what was happening and maybe rescue me. But there was no help. I had to make it through as best I could.
Looking at these photos, I seem impossibly young, though that wasn't really the case at all. I was ancient, life experience-wise, from the lack of receiving guidance from nurturing parents and growing up in the natural, normal way. There was no standard of reference for me. No wonder life was and continues to be so hard.
Twenty-four years of rollercoaster ups and downs, buying a house, having kids. It's serious stuff. The young me was looking no further ahead than the honeymoon in Europe. Changing diapers, sleepless nights, post-partum depression, all that stuff that came after...
Never would I have imagined any of it.
We've been hit pretty hard since the day I wore that pretty dress now packed away in one of the closets. A big part of what's made it so rough happened way before my wedding day but I didn't realize how deep the impact was until a few years ago. Until I started working through it, after a lifetime spent sweeping it under the rug, in denial.
With age comes wisdom, I guess.
Next year will be our silver anniversary. Or so I presume, if nothing happens to change our course. We'll have two kids in college, our youngest becoming an "only" child. It'll be a weaning of sorts, preparation for how will life will uproot and change, all over again, when all the kids are away at school and it's just us after a whole generation of being married with kids.
Like everything else I never anticipated in life, I couldn't begin to say what life will throw at us then.
I guess we'll see.