“Come here, stand like this, closer to the lady, yes, I want your hand here, good, lower the bouquet, smile, yes, now a little kiss, hold it, hold it, ok, now here, like this…” the ‘military’ lady at the city hall is directing everything so that she can take “just a few pictures, not many, just a few!”
As soon as we get inside the marriage room, she takes over and informs us she’s going to take photos of us whether we like it or not.
“It’s ok”, I try to stop her, “we already have our own photographer, so it’s not necessary, thank you.”
“That’s why I’m telling you it’s just a few photos, not many, and it’s gonna cost you just 100 ron, not more.”
We later laugh when we remember her, in her military style, giving us orders about how to stand, where to look, when and how long to kiss for the camera. Eventually, her photos didn’t turn out bad at all, though. But the military lady’s style is in such a sharp contrast to our dear friend’s, who’s actually a lawyer and took a day off from her office so that she could be with us and give us this wonderful gift of taking our wedding pictures in such a loving, soothing and embracing manner! And she’s a very talented photographer, indeed!
Oh, I got married, yes. It happened on a perfect Indian summer day, 17 October, in our 37th week of pregnancy. Only 7 guests (what a number!) – our parents, our godparents and the very good friend who took photos. I’ve always had a special connection to number 17… And it was one of those days when you are so happy and truly believe nothing can ever go wrong again, everybody seems friendly, you feel great and look your best standing up tall in your pink shoes matching the pink flower in your hair and the rose bouquet in your hand and basically can’t stop smiling.
He proposed in May, under a very special tree, with pink flowers grown right on its bark, in a garden where we often used take long walks. My ring has a small emerald stone, embraced by a loose silver knitting. We’ve been through so much since May and it does feel as if the relationship had to grow and ripen until autumn so that we could take the big step. I didn’t feel fearful at all, which is such a blessing after so much inner turmoil, anxiety and so much questioning.
Not bothered by other people’s expectations and projections, I am enjoying the freedom and confidence a higher level of maturity brings. Having gone through a lot of comparing and feelings of inadequacy, getting the urge to run away so many times, I feel stable now, I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be, where I have chosen to be, with my new partner, taking a new name that I love, living in a new house that we’re making into a home, wearing new clothes and new shoes, on a brand new day, in my brand new life. Exactly what I was dreaming of.
Nothing is what it used to be. Before the wedding day a lot of memories from my past lives visited and even haunted me for a while, making me nostalgic, sad and even regretful at times. It felt as if all the past ghosts wanted to visit and say goodbye before I stepped over the threshold and into my new life. No, the whole thing was not just a formality (as I initially thought it might come down to).
When we first stepped into the church, exactly one month and a day before the wedding, I knew that was it – we’d found the place. It was a beautiful Saturday morning, still quite warm, and we had an ultra sound appointment at the medical center next to the church, on the same street as the university I attended more than ten years before. The receptionist told us the doctor was late, so we went out and decided to visit the church. Such a pleasant, quiet and warm atmosphere! When the priest – white haired, kind, smiling and sociable, probably in his late fifties – came out and gave us a brief introduction in the history of the church (dating since the late 1700s), I was sure.
Among other fascinating pieces of information, he tells us it’s the only church where a woman has ever been allowed to preach in the orthodox church – Olga Greceanu, who also painted part of the church. It’s my church, I’m thinking, feeling happier and happier about the discovery. “When I first entered the church, more that twenty years ago, I just knew this was my church.” the priest adds, and I know for sure he’s one of my kind. Which later proves right, as he performs the wedding ceremony and then comes out of the church with us to tell us more stories and we are all amazed at so many coincidences, which make us exclaim one more time: “It’s such a small world!”
I was happy my parents were there, although I admit the thought felt a bit irritating in the beginning. Their presence, with their warm smile and affection, their hearts pounding and palms sweating, their discretion and decency, their respect, strong support and warm love – everything made me feel I am so lucky to have them as my parents, despite the more difficult childhood years and the conflicts we’ve had. It all melted away in the light of new love and newly found common ground – a magical place where I felt our hearts met.
This week, the 38th week, I’m feeling slower and I’m getting tired more easily. It’s an interesting feeling – not being able to rush. Slowing down always brings me closer to myself, helps me become more aware of my breath, the sensations in my body and my thoughts. I notice the rush around me as I’m walking in the street and I’m feeling so lucky to be in a totally different world. It’s as if I were the center of the tornado sometimes. Still and heavy, a pregnant whale floating in the vastness of the ocean casting its waves on faraway beaches. Sometimes the heaviness of the belly or the sudden baby kicks hurt, but they’re still so beautiful. Well, a whale is luckier since she doesn’t have to take toilet trips every two hours (be it night or day), like I do… I’m still feeling so beautiful, in spite of the heaviness.
On the other hand, the nesting instinct (of which I used to think was a mere marketing invention or at best a pretext for bored housewives) having taken over me, I can’t stop making preparations, although I know the best way to spend this time is simply to rest… “Maybe you can find the time to stop and enjoy the last week you’re carrying your baby inside you… It’s a miracle you have there.” a friend writes and I decide to follow her wise advice.
So… I’ve made lamps for the entire house, a felt and wool raining cloud to hang over the changing table, I modeled angel wings and houses out of clay and started planning Christmas gifts and decorations (the earliest I’ve ever started preparing for Christmas.!), I’ve sewed a felt ball and stuffed it with wool for the baby to play with, washed all his clothes, of course, ordered the closets, drawers and shelves…
And so much more. I keep thinking after I finish preparing, we can just relax, take naps, cuddle and enjoy the nest. And that after the baby comes, we can focus on him and not worry about anything else… I know it doesn’t really work like that, but that’s what I’m dreaming of.
You know, I’ve discovered that even when you are in charge of your own time and you can set your own rhythm and schedule, if you’re used to being busy, then you’ll be busy all the time, you’ll always have a long to do list you just can’t get to the bottom of because every day you add more and more tasks to it. I feel like laughing at myself for that, but still cannot help overdoing it. And walking long distances, which still feels great.
My birthday is coming up this Monday, so I’m evaluating the time since my last birthday and find it amazing! It’s been the year with the greatest changes ever! But this is for another blog post, coming up soon unless the baby decides to come out sooner that that. By the way, I expect birth to be the most amazing experience ever, intense and smooth and also funny (why not?) and moving and rewarding. Oh and then Christmas as a new family… I’m feeling so grateful for such precious gifts!
PS Photos of the big day (taken by our friend) are still on their way.