On crying in a bathtub on my wedding day

No, trusting blogosphere, my headline was not intended as a hyperbolic ploy to lure you in and win your readership (though I can’t say the thought didn’t cross my mind…)  It’s true.  I did in fact cry.  In a bathtub.  On my wedding day.  Now I’m sure you’re cringing as images of Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride come to mind, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  No need to flood my inbox with referrals for your best friend’s cousin’s hairdresser’s marriage counselor.  And please no phone calls to my mother about your concern for her daughter’s well being.  Let me explain.

You see, this weekend I had the privilege of attending the nuptials of one of my dear, dear friends.  And, make no mistake, it was beautiful.  An exquisite, magical and overwhelmingly joyous occasion for all.  As I watched the happy couple dance the night away, gazing lovingly into one another’s eyes with that familiar “newlywed glow,” I couldn’t help but reminisce about my own wedding day.

I remember waking up in my hotel room, my sister curled up next to me in our comfy king sized bed and my bridesmaids sleeping quietly nearby.  We’d been very fortunate at check-in the day before as the front desk staff, upon discovering that the honeymoon suite was unoccupied for the night, graciously upgraded us at no extra charge.  I felt like royalty awaking to a spectacular view of the Charleston Harbor, the historic peninsula not far off in the distance.  The plans had been finalized to the very last detail.  The ceremony had been rehearsed.  There would be no more fittings or tastings or meltdowns over budget crises and last minute changes.  For the first time in months I awoke to a sense of calm.  This was it.  I could breathe.

So while the bridal party serenely indulged in a last half hour of sleep, I tiptoed into the larger-than-life bathroom and treated myself to a wedding day bubble bath.  My favorite Pandora station quietly serenading me, I rested my head on the edge of the tub, allowing the warm water to rise up to my chin.  Eyes closed, I took a series of deep breaths, and as I exhaled I felt my mind clearing, a weight lifting from my chest.  I allowed myself to be fully present in the moment – to soak up the significance of the day.

And as I banned all checklists, timelines, menus and floral arrangements from my thoughts, I found myself processing the very reason for my presence in this particular place at this particular time.  The reason for all the excitement and stress and planning (not to mention the obscene amount of money donated by my generous parents for “the cause”).  On this day, in a few short hours, I would stand in front of my soul mate, professing to him my eternal love and promising him the rest of my days, in front of God and everyone.

And that, oh blogosphere, as I lay chin-deep in fragrant bubbles, is when the tears came.  What began as a minor sniffle quickly escalated into uncontrollable sobbing.  In that moment I dismissed the strange episode as wedding jitters.  I simply needed to “get it all out” to avoid unleashing the flood during my walk down the aisle.  But looking back, I’m able to accept the tears for what they really were.

They were joy.  They were fear.  They were the nerves that often accompany the approach of a life-altering event.  They were the acceptance of an era’s end.  They were a step toward adulthood and responsibility, a step away from the safe arms of parental dependence.  They were an unwillingness to give up being “Daddy’s little girl.”  They were an irrational notion that this all may be a dream.  They were an image of my almost-husband standing at the front of the church, seeing me in my wedding dress for the very first time.  They were the simultaneous excitement and sheer terror of sharing a home with a messy stinky boy (Sorry, hubs).  They were thoughts of growing old together.  They were plans for puppies and hopes for children.  They were love.

(Cue affectionate sighs and sentimental music.)

So yes, blogosphere, I cried in a bathtub on my wedding day.  And, dare I say, it was the best cry I’ve ever had.