May 4, 2011


Exactly one year ago today, my husband and I were soaking up the sun and the culture in Negril, Jamaica. As I sit here today, baby napping, I am awe-struck at how incredibly different things are now from this time last year.

For those of you who don’t know, Jon and I “ran away” to the County Courthouse to get married on June 14, 2009. We had gotten engaged the previous month, but decided to rush the wedding a bit due to health insurance purposes. At the same time, we had already paid a nonrefundable deposit to the venue where we wanted to have our big wedding, so we decided to go ahead and continue the plans for the wedding despite already being married. I mean, really, what girl doesn’t want the chance to have her moment in the spotlight? Was I going to let a little thing like already being married ruin mine? Nope, no way. 

      My Grandaddy Richardson performed the ceremony. He’s not an ordained minister or anything like that, just a beloved man with a knack for speaking at occasions such as this. He and my Grandmom have been married for 58 years and Jon and I couldn’t think of anyone more perfect than he to speak at our wedding. As for the rest of it, we planned it as if it were just one big party for our family and friends who weren’t at the Courthouse wedding. And, oh, what a party it was. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that Jon and I had the time of our lives that night. The very last thing I remember about leaving the wedding reception was my sister whispering in my ear “Have fun in Jamaica and bring me back a niece or nephew.” I kind of just laughed her off, having no idea that those words were actually predicting our fate.
  Our flight left super early Sunday morning and we needed to be at the airport a mere 3 hours after the reception ended. We were way too excited to sleep so we just packed the last of our things and headed out. We didn’t sleep at all at the airport, or on the plane, or even once we landed in Jamaica. We were entirely too excited and overwhelmed by the amazingness of it all. We spent that afternoon laying on the beach, eating Jamaican Jerk Chicken, sipping cocktails and just taking it all in. But finally our exhaustion caught up with us and that night we slept for 12 hours straight. 

I will never forget waking up the next morning and throwing open the curtains of our suite to reveal the most glorious beach scene I have ever seen with my own two eyes. I can still see it perfectly; every tiny detail burned into my brain. I repeated this as my morning ritual every day after that- it was the perfect way to wake up- no alarms, no baby crying (a crying baby wasn’t even on my radar yet), no job to go to, emails or phone calls to return, nothing; just gorgeous sunlight, white sand beach and the love of my life by my side. We spent those seven days exploring the island; we went snorkling, zip-lining through the jungle, climbing the Dunns River Falls, and even swam with dolphins (one thing I can check off of my bucket list.) The rest of our time was spent swimming, laying on the beach, napping and listening to reggae music; just enjoying the people and scenery around us. Every evening, we would sit on the beach together and watch the most glorious sunsets. I had never seen anything so beautiful. I would look over at my “new” husband, so full of love, and wonder how I’d ever managed to get so lucky. I couldn’t believe that this was actually my life. I felt so incredibly blessed.

About a month after we got back, I found out I was pregnant and from there, everything changed. Needless to say, I love my baby Lucie more than anything in the world, next to Jon; but thinking about the first week of May in 2010 versus the first week of May in 2011, I can’t help but notice and marvel at the stark contrast. My biggest worry this time last year was which bikini I’d wear that day. Now I worry about raising this little girl to be a happy, healthy and well adjusted human being. I’ve traded in the cocktails for coffee. And instead of lazy naps on the beach, I do laundry and wash bottles while the baby naps. Rather than laying out in the sun, now I lay on the floor so my little Princess doesn’t get lonely during tummy time. We still listen to reggae music, Lucie loves Bob Marley. Contrary to waking up to the view of the sand and surf, I wake up to a smiling baby who’s very happy to see her momma every morning. And at night, I get to rock my little Angel to sleep, staring at her beautiful, glorious face. I still get to see beautiful sunsets, only now I have the distinct honor of not only sharing them with Jon, but our daughter as well. And this summer we’re taking her to the beach with us, very excited to show her why we love it so much. Our very first vacation as a family of 3 instead of 2.

Life is quite different these days, but it has only served to make me appreciate the little things even more- like sunsets and thunderstorms, smiles and giggles, and cuddling with my little family. I am so thankful that Jon and I had the opportunity to take that honeymoon to Jamaica. It was the most amazing week of our lives; but only up to that point. There were and still are so many more things to look forward to, and while they’re different, they’re no less exciting or special. Furthermore, now, when I turn to look at the love of my life, I see that there are two instead of just one.

In real life, all vacations must come to an end, and our honeymoon was no different. (Even though, at the time, I cried and tried to convince Jon that we would absolutely be able to make a life for ourselves on that island.) As we shopped around for the perfect souvenir, I had no idea that I was already carrying it around in my belly. Lucie is the most beautiful, amazing, perfect gift I have ever been given and I have Jamaica (and Jon) to thank for it. I am and will forever be grateful. I am truly lucky and truly blessed.


Jon said...

Good times babes! It's hard to believe that Jamaica was only a year ago. The best is yet to come! XOXO
I Love You ;-)

Rocky said...

This is one of the most amazing things I've ever read. I'm so excited for you and your family. Honestly I cried reading this. You are both amazing and blessed. I'm truly lucky to be able to call the both of you my friends. And Jon is right, the best is defintly yet to come. Love all of you! Give my best to Jon and the little princess.