Love, Actually.

by Aquila Mendez-Valdez on February 1, 2014

love-actually-71

I wish this blog post could come with a photo gallery.  I wish I could show you the look on my mother’s face when my sister stepped out in a wedding gown for the first time.  I wish the photographs could convey better than any written word how lovely Kelsey looked, how happy, and what that meant to me.  I will try to do it justice.

A lot has been going on behind the scenes here lately that has been a bit of a rough patch.  To use a biblical reference, I’ve been walking through valleys with some very dark shadows.  I’m not ready to talk about it yet, at least not in this arena, and I’m not sure I ever will be.  But this trip to be with my sister on her quest to find THE dress was a reprieve from all that.  It was a chance to feel normal, to feel happy.  I spent an entire day flying to Indiana, and an entire day flying back to Mexico, but it was worth it to spend 24 hours focusing solely on the wedding (and wedding dress) of my sister’s dreams.

When she stepped out into the limelight with the first option of tulle and delicately embroidered flowers, I instantly felt the tears swell.  My heart hurt partly because she looked stunning, and partly for reasons beyond the literal beauty of the moment.  I couldn’t help but start to think about all that is to come in her life, all the joy and, of course, there may be some pain.  I let my mind drift over the almost four years I have been married to Orlando, and how even though I didn’t think I could feel differently about him after there was a wedding band on my finger, it made the most rewarding difference.

Kelsey is just about to embark on that journey of change, and I pray it will be a smooth one for her.  I pray that she and Jeff will find that their bond is only strengthened when the honeymoon fades and real life sets in.  My soul wants to reach out and tell her all the wonderful things to come, but I know she has to experience it for herself.  But what an honor it was to see her that day, to be able to be physically present, especially in the midst of all that is going on.

I adore that quote from Love, Actually that if you look for it, love is, actually, all around.  It’s so easy to be caught up in the negative, especially when it specifically affects you.  But if you look around, there is hope when we see others’ happiness, other lives filled with so much promise.

Yes, I am going through some trials right now.  But I have a sister who is showing so much grace and kindness in preparing for her wedding.  I have a mother who has made it her life’s purpose to make sure others are happy and cared for.  I have wonderful bosses that respect my time for family and totally get how to treat your employees.  I have a husband who doesn’t even flinch when he is left to care for the baby for 3 days by himself.  And I have a fantastic daughter who fills my conversations and my thoughts even when I am thousands of miles away from her.

And so, while the escape was nice and the girl time was much needed, I still ran through the airport in Houston to make a flight in time to see my little family.  I still pictured Cora’s face when she looked up from her bed and gasped in delight to see Mommy was home.  And I couldn’t wait to be in my husband’s arms again.  Because if you look for it, love is, actually, all around.

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