A Year of Anniversaries

5 years ago

They say that the worst thing after a big life event, whether positive or negative, is the year that follows. It's a year of anniversaries, because you remember how different life was a year ago before the big event.

I think that has been the worst thing about the post-wedding era. I can't help but think that a year ago, we were tasting food, tweaking vows, stuffing invitations, getting RSVPs, planning the seating arrangement, talking about what music we wanted to hear, having our final dance lessons, doing hair and makeup trials, having showers and parties, sitting at my desk at school thinking Only one more month...

It's not so much that I miss doing these things. I was so busy during the last month before the wedding that I didn't know which way was up. But I think the hardest part is thinking about how excited I was for the big day, and knowing that I may not feel that sort of anticipation again for a long time.

The anticipation leading up to a big, positive life change is sort of addicting. Personally, I was running on adrenaline and sparkling cherry wine (Which my favorite winery doesn't even make anymore! Sadface.) up until the big day. I see now why thrill seekers travel the world for the most dangerous and adrenaline-pumping adventures they can find; that sort of energy is incomparable to anything else in the world. And now, I'm sitting here just remembering the feeling rather than feeling it.

This weekend also marks the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. My students, 15 and 16 years old, don't even remember anything about that day except a vague recollection of watching the news in school. I remember all of it. I remember sitting in AP Biology (which I dropped shortly after that because, well, it was really hard and I didn't need it to be an English major) and our teacher came out of the lab room talking about planes hitting a building in New York. We went to our next class, and our next class, and finally I got to a television in the band room of all places. I saw the towers fall. I called my dad, who was in Pennsylvania on business. I went through the rest of the day not quite sure what to do next. The gravity of what had actually happened didn't hit me until the next day, when I saw the cover of the the Chicago Tribune and there was a huge, full color picture of the towers and people jumping out of them. I told my students yesterday, in a discussion about Fahrenheit 451 and whether or not ignorance really is bliss, that I wish I had never seen those pictures and if someone burned all of them, I don't know if I'd be that upset. I said, "Think of the families whose loved ones jumped from those buildings. Should they have to see those pictures again every year?" And one of my students replied, "Yea, but think of the other scenario. I don't remember 9/11. I don't remember seeing pictures of people jumping out of buildings. But I saw them today when we were watching a video about it. And now I, like you, fully realize what happened that day. I think it's important that we never forget." (Yea, I have really awesome students.)

I spent some time thinking back to 9/11/2001 this week, just like I've spent some time thinking back to 10/9/2010. These are two events that have changed me deeply. One changed how I defined the world, one changed how I defined family.

We grow with each event we experience, both good and bad. Some events, like 9/11 and a wedding, are monumental; some are much, much smaller. No matter the event, though, it's important to keep remembering. Even if it's painful or bittersweet.

Originally posted at Small Strokes.


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