I struggle to find silver linings in situations. It's not that I'm a pessimist - I tend to be pretty optimistic. I just deal with a lot of anxiety, which leads me to hope that I am being optimistic and realistic while trying not to hyperventilate about decisions and issues - small and big. I hyperventilated the day we dipped into our savings for our honeymoon. When things don't go as planned I struggle to see how everything can happen for a reason- a statement that isn't very reassuring to me.
Looking back on the past twelve months of my 14-month-long engagement, I see a lot of positives, but I also see negatives, the bad stuff, the stuff that I remember and cringe. It's hard to remember that everything is happening for a reason when every good thing seems to be followed by something that makes me want to tear my hair out. One month after we got engaged we had to drop one of the cats at the emergency vet because he was ill. The good thing? We caught it early. The not-so-good thing? He was sick enough to require emergency veterinary care. Any time any of our pets are sick I worry - it's what I do. He came home a few days later and crashed for a long nap in the guest room, happy to be home, and we were happy to have him back.
Then we had a few good months. Lots of ball games. A cat who was well and a hotter-than-normal summer. Of course, the minute I thought that things were going too smoothly was the minute I was proved right. I was told more than once that everything happens for a reason the day I emailed my bridesmaids, groomsmen, and family members to let them know we had made the hard decision to cancel with our original wedding venue. It was a decision made after a lot of teary discussions that went late into the night. We went into our new venue search with open eyes and a lot of creativity, hoping that finding something would be simple. Seven months before our wedding, I was struggling with our decision to get married over a holiday weekend, but there was hope.
It was my future-mother-in-law who found our venue. My fiance who grinned as I squealed about it in the car. My friends who applauded our decision-making and our luck. I could sigh a sigh of relief. I thought at that time that we were done with the struggling to make it work, so during a recent weekend, when our cat started showing signs of being ill, I put on a brave face. We would make it work, regardless of what we needed to do. That Monday, when I walked into the vet's office with a cold, runny nose, pounding sinus headache, and a carrier holding a feisty, yowling cat, I thought it would be okay - something he ate, maybe. An hour later, wide-eyed with surprise, I walked out of the vet's office without a cat and with a surgery estimate. I sat in my car and cried, even as I knew it was going to be okay, I wanted to be told that it would be fine. I wanted a hug. I called my fiance, texted friends and my mom, and made my way home, feeling a little worse for the wear, but knowing our cat was in excellent hands.
This time, I could see the silver lining: the surgery means he very more than likely won't get sick like this again, and while we'll still fret about him, it will be less. Now, as our cat is recovering from his surgery, and I am slowly getting over my cold (my nose will. not. stop. running.). I am once again sighing with relief. I am realizing that for all the bad and all the struggle, there is a lot of good. I have friends who texted and emailed me to ask after the cat, my fiance, and me. People who have asked what they can do to help until the sutures are out, a time during which our cat will be wearing a big plastic collar. The show of love we've experienced is tremendous, and even as I've struggled to keep it together, I've felt uplifted by those around me.
The support we've received has made me look back at the past year with a different point of view. As I reminisce about all of our planning, all of our struggles and triumphs, the thing that stands out to me the most in my memories are the people. Our friends and family who made me smile and laugh when I needed it. The ones who helped when necessary, who listened when I needed to talk, and my friends who reminded me that my fiance and I are the ones running this show - anything wedding-related and beyond is our choice. The people have made the struggles easier and the good times even better. Without my people - OUR people, I don't know where we would be today, or how we would have gotten all of this done. Without love, help, and support I would flounder. I guess, sometimes, what they say is true: all you need is love.