I wrote a letter to every person in our wedding, and here's what I found


I found my soul on the corner of West Main and Highway 47. It was hiding, and I only needed pitter-patter of rain, George Bailey, and a few thousand poundings on my keyboard to uncover it.

I was getting married the day after tomorrow. Kasey and I only invited those we thought would keep us to our vows, which left us with less than two dozen people. With a number that small and intimate, we decided to write each person a letter, telling them how grateful we’d been for them in the past and how hopeful we were that they’d play a part in our life together in the future.

Sitting at a local coffee shop, I stared at two dozen blank Word documents. A bunch of noble thoughts greet me, somewhere in between pondering if I’ll ever try dark roast, lamenting I didn’t get six pack abs for the honeymoon, and wondering if I’ll spontaneously combust after having sex the first time.

The noble thoughts were a collection of plot points in my nonlinear life. The memories were roads leading nowhere. I saw my grandpa’s wrinkly gray U of M t-shirt, his tanned arms straining as he dished up sherbet for us at the end of a long day. I heard him scold my brother and I to try the crab cakes, and I felt the itchy redness in my cheeks as I wished I was invisible at that country club. My spine hurts as I’m back in the industrial blue seats of the Metrodome, two best friends separated by fifty years but brought together by baseball. Two peas in an ugly Teflon pod.

His was like the twelfth letter I wrote, but in a matter of minutes I’m scarfing a buffalo chicken sandwich, crying about my childhood, and watching clips of It’s a Wonderful Life (the part where George Bailey comes back to his actual life, beaming with pure gratitude). Childhood is a vague concept, but it’s gone for a moment. All I have is the mostly sweet taste of real, actual, living memories.

My entire childhood is unraveling before me, and I find something in the flickers of highlight reel:

I’ve never been independent.

Somebody probably once said that it takes a village to raise a kid. I wonder why we think that stops when we turn 18. Or 22. We begin life completely dependent, from wiped butts to spoon feeding to comfort-needing when we’re bawling our eyes out just because it’s tough enough being alive.

When did it slip in my mind that independence is an ideal to be strived after and not a sickness I’m dying from? Personal responsibility, sure. Individual accountability, yep. Pick up the bootstraps, sometimes. But I am because you are, but I am not OK if your hands are burning with stress and life.

I’ve never been independent.

I never want to be.


photo cred: kelsey sagen (see her brilliance at kelseysagen.com)

#friends #family #relationships #journey #wedding #letters #writing