Today I should've said "I do."
Last night I wouldn't have gotten any sleep.
I'd be way too excited... too emotional... too happy.
At 4:00 pm I'd be walking out of my cute boutique hotel. My bridesmaids would exit first, quietly making their way around the corner over Monopoli's historic white stone steps. They'd be holding their beautiful bouquets. I'd be holding the sides of my gorgeous dress.
I'd look up and feel the warmth on my face. The sun would be shining brightly, quickly drying wet dish towels swaying out of balcony windows.
I'd hear nonna's sweeping steps and nonno's turning pages of the paper as they set down their espresso cups. The smell of fresh sugo and warm, baking bread would fill the air.
My dad would be holding my hand. He'd have a smile on his face, yet there'd be a little sadness in his sweet eyes.
We'd approach the enormous cathedral, and my hands would start to sweat and shake. My soul would flutter like bird's wings before taking flight. We'd reach the edge of the entrance. One by one, my bridesmaids would walk in, till it was just us. Me and my little, old man.
I'd look at Lia, our wedding planner and after her nod, I'd take a big, deep breath and the violinist would start. The guests would rise cueing us to make our way down. Step by step we'd get closer and closer. My smile would grow as familiar faces smiled back. Tears of love would pour down my face. Impossible it would be, to contain the waves of emotion.
Eventually we'd reach the end of the aisle. My dad would place my hand in his. He'd kiss us on our cheeks and take a seat. We'd lock eyes...
The reality is that this moment is frozen in time. It won't happen. Not today. Not now. I'm on my laptop writing these words into existence. It's the screenplay of my life that isn't yet finished. It's only just begun.
Oh, it's like 2020 is stuck on slow-mo, barely skipping ahead and I only get to fantasize about what happens next. I can't smell, touch or taste it, yet. I'm starving and stuck on the other side of impenetrable glass, is the most perfect slice of life... it's right there!
The flights were booked, venue confirmed, rings bought and dress picked out. The long wooden tables are covered in flowers and sweet scented candles. The aroma of delicious pasta is in the air. I hear soft, romantic music. I can even hear loud Italian laughter mixed in with Americans clinking "cheers." Pretty crystal glasses are full of vino. It's all ready, we're all ready, yet the world is not. The doors to our castle venue are locked and we aren't allowed in.
We'd lock eyes, I'd squeeze his hands so tightly and we'd both smile. It only took 1,937 days from the moment we met when you said "ciao" outside of Beretta for us to get here.
Looking back, I don't see the years, months, weeks or days. I see only moments. Moments of silly looks across the room and laughter, moments of rage and anger, but more than anything, I feel moments of pure, real, authentic love. A love unlike any other. The most imperfect, yet perfect kinda love.
When I look into your light, greenish-brown eyes, I see mountains, nature and earth. I also see the eyes of little people starting back. I see a whole other life. I see sleepless nights. I see graying hair. I see unwanted wrinkles creeping in as we both do our best to cover them up. I see a screaming little boy not wanting to be left at kindergarden, and I see a tearful mama, not wanting to let go when they leave the nest.
We were married legally on Valentines day this year, but celebrating two worlds together, an ocean apart, under the same, starry sky was something we looked forward to. We still do.
Isn't life interesting? You can only plan so much.. but somehow the universe has "plans of it's own."
Perhaps this year is about practicing patience? Or maybe it's about practicing more A M O R E.
More love for each other, but in reality, more love for ourselves.
They say that when you marry, two becomes one. But I don't think this is ever possible. Or maybe it's that I don't view marriage that way. I love my independence and freedom. I love my choices and, I love him, my now husband, for all of these things too.
No matter how alike we are, I value our differences so much more. Where I fall short, he fills me up. When he's feeling low, I fill his cup. Over time our lives, like vine roots intertwine, get thicker and stronger. We flourish and bloom because we are two separate beings now wrapped tightly, together, as one. When you cut one, the other bleeds. When you hug one, the other feels love.
Marrying him shouldn't mean saying goodbye to me or vice-versa. It should be a coming together of all the bits and pieces that make us individually who we are, to create an even tastier, more fulfilling and delicious "soup." My ingredients and his are different, sourced and raised in separate parts of the world, yet each makes the other better, once melted together over time, under pressure. We each bring out the best in each other. Separately we are good, but together, we're great. I think all successful couples have their commonalities, but their finest attributes lie in their differences and how they blend them all together.
Life is so short and unfortunately these days, so darn unpredictable.
These last few months have made me consider just how much we take our lives for granted. We lose our sanity when our loved ones are sick and pass, but do we ever consider how awful it would be if we lost... ourselves?
I've stopped wedding planning and I've started thinking and feeling... So now I ask YOU:
Have you lived life the way you imagined you would? Have you loved others the way they deserved to be loved? Have you hugged them tight enough? Have you told them how you REALLY feel or have you barely scratched the surface? Have you REALLY loved the person looking back at you in the mirror? If you were to "go" tomorrow, would you be proud and at peace with who you've become?
This year has been nothing short of a disaster and heartache for so many. Loss leaves a pain that no one can really heal. When someone goes, we not only lose their body and presence, we lose all the memories that we could've, should've had.
We can't control and force the outcome that we want, no matter how much we scream and shout. Improving the world, even under chaotic, covid-conditions, starts with improving yourself, and improving yourself starts with self-love.
Starting my wellness company, Venture Love was the universe's way of telling me that now, more than ever, was the best time to share my gifts with the world. Each one of us is in such desperate need of warmth and light. I'm not exempt.
Our Italian wedding celebration, like so many others was postponed, and as sad and frustrating as this is, especially today, I've considered it a blessing.
With this extra time, like wet clay, we'll individually mold ourselves more, so that when it is time to more officially unite as one, we've become our most "better than best" version yet.
One day at a time, we will get through this. I know you will too.
Sending warmth and light,
Creator of Venture Love a n d Mrs. Ostuni.
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