Friday, July 24, 2009

Letters from Half-A-Decade Ago

Today is our five-year wedding anniversary. Five years. Whew. Doesn't feel like its been that long. (Although we are watching Independence Day on TV right now -- you know, the one where Will Smith punches the alien and says, endearingly, "Welcome to ERF!"), and I feel like it was in theaters pretty recently.

Wasn't it?

Time is relative, I suppose. :)

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At our rehearsal dinner on June 23, 2004, after everyone had finished their meal, Steven's mom handed out stationery and pens, and instructed everyone to write a letter to us that we would open on our five-year anniversary.

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It was 2004. I'd just been accepted to law school. It was the day before our wedding. We didn't have an apartment rented in Arlington yet. I'd never stepped foot inside the law school. The whole world was ahead of us, and we were equal parts thrilled and terrified.

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And now, five years have passed. We've done more than I could have imagined -- we found an apartment, then another and another. I made it through my first law school class, then the second one, then the first year, the second year, the third year. Then graduation. I took a bar exam. For all the flashcards he dealt with, Steven practically took it, too. Then I took another one.

Steven landed a great job, then an even better one, then an even better one. We bought cars, traded them in, bought different ones.

And then we bought a house.

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I could not, in my wildest dreams, have imagined on July 23, 2004, that we'd be right here, right now. I told Steven tonight at dinner that I wish the 2009 me had been able to talk to the 2004 me. I would have told her to quit worrying so much about the future. I would have told her that things will usually work out for the best.

And then I realized that my 2014 self would probably say the same things to me, now.

Funny how we don't really change that much over time. Same concerns, different backdrop. So I suppose I'll try to spend the next five years trying to worry less about "how will [insert Heather's Worry-O-the-Day] possibly work out?" Because it always does work out somehow. It always does.

We opened the rehearsal dinner letters the moment they came in the mail. We couldn't wait to see what people had written to us five years ago. And just seeing all of that familar handwriting was enough to bring us both to tears. It was precious, wonderful stuff. We read each letter, laughed, cried, and spent a goodly little while just pondering how much these last five years have encompassed.

After we finished reading all the letters, we folded them up carefully and stowed them in a special place. We might get them out and read them again from time to time, just to remember what it felt like to be ourselves in 2004, with the big scary world stretching before us. It felt great to remember all the love and support of all our family and friends, then and now.

And just so you can be a part of our little happy moment, here are a few of the letters, written to us five years ago yesterday:

Winner of the "Most Accurate Prediction": Josh Mulvihill (Steven's sister's husband)

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"I predict 0 children by 2009, not by infertility but by choice." How did he KNOW?

Winner of the Making-Social-Plans-Five-Years-In-Advance: Jenny Mulvihill
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"When you read this, give me a call and we'll make plans!" Always making plans- that's our Jenny!


Winner(s) of the "made us teary-eyed" prize: All of the letters from our parents. Something about opening a letter and seeing your parent's handwriting is just so very touching.

June Huff:
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The bit about "when I found out I was expecting" brought the waterworks right on. :)

Debbie Steele:
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I love this one because I can "hear" her saying these things to us. :)

David Huff:
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Nice one with the AARP joke, Pops!

Daniel Steele:
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We especially appreciate that Steven's dad identified himself by his ham radio operator call sign. :)

Most Excited Letter-Writer: A thirteen-year-old Chris Huff, dreaming of being voting age.

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The front of the letter said, "Don't open this till I'm 18!!!" Haha.

There is something really precious about a letter from your sibling. It makes me want to go sit down and write a million letters to all my loved ones.

Jon Huff:
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Matt Huff:
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Thank you again, Mom Steele, for such a fantastically thoughtful idea. We were really blessed and encouraged by the letters, and I might go read them again, right now, they were that fun.

Thank you to everyone who was involved in our wedding and wrote us letters -- I've posted most of them on Facebook for posterity, so you can go see the rest there. We love you all and appreciate having you in our lives.

Now! Onward to the next five years! (Hurry, everyone got get a pen and paper and write me something to open in 2014. This is too fun to stop doing now!)

2 comments:

Steven Steele said...

This was one of the most special times and moments in my life.

Thank you to everyone involved! It is a blessing to have such wonderful friends and family!

Tracy Swift said...

Awwww.... such a sweet post.

I got a little teary-eyed thinking about summer of 2004. Dan and I had been dating for a year, and we left South Africa in July; he left for grad school Chicago, and I left for DC to start law school. I used to cry a lot, worrying that we would break up (due to the long-distance struggle) when I knew, I just KNEW we were supposed to end up together! I used to ask God, "why won't you just let us be together??" And I could have saved so much energy by just trusting that everything would work out just as it has. 5 years later, Dan and I are about to celebrate our 3 year wedding anniversary and we're moving BACK to Africa, just as we'd hoped!! AND I'm finally a LAWYER! Life is amazing.

Here's to being really lucky--I mean, blessed!