Sometimes I look at my wedding photo and I don’t recognise the bride smiling back at me.
And I suspect she wouldn’t recognise me either.
She’s 34. I’m 42.
That woman in the photo? She gets eight hours of sleep per night.
I average five.
She goes to the gym every day. Casually strolls around Asian grocery stores looking for things like Shaoxing Rice Wine and Gai Lan. She goes to the movies A LOT. And out to dinner on a whim. And RSVPS ‘yes’ to book launches and housewarmings.
That woman in the photo with the shining, happy eyes and the pretty beaded dress? She’s never really experienced heartbreak or loss. She reads books and meditates and just 10 days before this photo was taken was drinking martinis in a bar on 31st Street in New York.
I can see in her face the hopefulness for her future with her new husband. She’s carefree and happy and hold the phone: I don’t think she even knows what Spanx are.
WHAT. THE. HELL?
Since that photo was taken I’ve had four children.
I’ve moved house six times. I’ve cooked more fish fingers than I care to think about. I’ve been blindsided by a tragedy that brought me to my knees. I’ve fallen deeply, madly in love with my children and yet fantasised about escaping to a hotel alone.
I don’t run anymore or walk – I rush. I wear flat shoes and maxi dresses and loose flowing tops to hide my stomach. And I write down the names of reliable babysitters the way I used to scribble down the titles of new books to read.
Our lives are so different. And sometimes I look at that girl in the frame and I miss her.
And really it’s not her life that I miss (well, okay yeah sometimes I do really, really miss that old life). But what I really miss is who I was back then, on that day. How I felt. So if I could go back and recreate that day when that photo was taken – my wedding day – I would. I SO would. In a heartbeat.