I carefully took the box from the closet and placed it upon the bed. I removed the top and gazed into the cellophane window that had been hidden beneath.
It had been preserved for over 27 years in the airtight box and although the gown remained the same, life since wearing it had changed in many ways.
June 25, 1988 was on record as one of the hottest days that Jackson Michigan had ever seen. The power went out at the reception venue, the cake began to melt during the ride over and the church was not air conditioned. Thankfully I was blissfully unaware of all the wedding day challenges and was happily readying for my walk down the aisle.
In the early years we had no appreciation for how glorious life was. Many nights were spent talking into the wee hours of the morning. Sunday’s were spent in bed watching television, reading the newspaper and napping on and off. We were in love and we were young and wild and free.
Life moved quickly, there were careers, children, autism and ring 22 syndrome, soccer games ,band competitions and all that comes along with parenting. Sleepless nights, meltdowns, therapies and doctor appointments took place of date nights. Exhaustion took over and as sleep became a rare commodity, so did those long talks into the morning, lazy Sundays and couple time.
Along the way we lost sight of the couple we used to be, instead becoming expert caregivers and a tag team that could rival the best in the WWE. Through it all the kids remained our focus and we dedicated our lives to being the best parents we could be. We may not have had time for romance or intimacy but we became stronger in spite of and because of our life experiences.
Our children are adults now, both with their own living arrangements. We are now on our own,,,,we are older, in love, not so wild and strangely free. Now we work on rebuilding ourselves as individuals, as husband and wife rather than co-parents and caregivers. We will always have those roles, but now we need to regain our roles as individuals and our relationship as a couple.
As I put the lid back on the box and tucked it safely away in the closet, I reflected on our life. Like the dress in the box it was a bit yellowed and worn but beautiful all the same.