I was reminded of this while going over our wedding pictures--no, I'm still not done looking through them--and I saw something I missed whilst merely skimming over the images, recalling the day's events.
Today's theme, being the Hallmark Holiday that it is, is something that I can best celebrate by going back to my wedding day.
Though there were loved ones who were unable to attend, I can confidently say that those who were present were definitely people we love, both because they were family and because we chose to love them.
Now this is not to discount family. My argument for choosing to celebrate, today, the friends that I have is precisely that: because we chose each other.
As I said at the beginning, I know how truly blessed I am to be able to say that there are more than twenty people in the world I know I can trust with my life. (Immortal soul excluded as that is between me and a higher power.)
The photo series on the right, all captured by Gracielle Hernandez of Imagine Nation Photography, were chosen because they reflect precisely that: the blessing of having people in my life whom I know without a doubt have my back.
The two women behind me (one standing and holding my veil, the other kneeling and arranging my train) have been part of my life for the past quarter of a century. In fact, I count myself doubly blessed by their presence in my life because I have called them my best friends for the past quarter of a century.
The truth is that we just barely have anything in common. Just barely. And we will be the first to admit that we do not always see eye to eye. The fact is our personalities, likes and dislikes can be so different that people have wondered why we were friends to begin with and how it even happened. Believe me, I've wondered about the same thing sometimes except I was actually there so I do know how it began and how it happened.)
We have gone through all the imaginable phases of a friendship. From the inseparable to growing up to grown up and we are still going strong. Ours is the kind of friendship that I would wish for my own children to be blessed with. I find it a matter of great fortune to have friends who will unabashedly tell you to your face
- that you screwed up;
- this is why you screwed up;
- don't screw things up;
- you're screwed;
and they will take it in stride for you to yell, protest in anger, and deny everything. They are the people who know that when you've calmed down and thought things through, you'll come to your senses and realise they'd merely spoken the truth.
It is one of life's greatest gifts to have friends who love you so much they will slap you in the face if that's what it takes to get some sense into you.
These are two of the people whose presence I can count on to pull me out of the worst moments in my life and the ones who revel in the best moments of my life as much as I do.
There have been times when we would only meet once or twice in an entire year and yet we can talk as though we'd just seen each other the day before.
The term we have used is that we can take each other for granted knowing our friendship and love for each other is that strong. Yet this is the kind of friendship that one should always be thankful for and never take for granted because it is such a blessing to have, I cannot emphasize that enough.
And so this is my Valentine's Day story: a thanksgiving and celebration of the friends I have been blessed with. Not all my friendships have turned out this way but those that have I know will last a lifetime...most especially for these two women who, on my wedding day, literally had my back.
Thank you and I love you.