Dear 27 year old Caitlin,
You started out great with a birthday celebration in St. Augustine with some friends from college. A couple of weeks later you found out that your now husband got into grad school and you would be moving to Maryland after you got married! You continued working your fulltime job while dreaming about being your own boss. You start planning your dream wedding. You became a godmother to your sweet nephew. Life was good and everything was going according to plan. But then March 14th, 2020 happened.
Not only was March 14th the day you celebrated 3 years of dating the love of your life but it was also the day the world came to halt. While you ate the chocolate covered strawberries that your fiancé sent you, the rest of the world ran out to store to start hoarding cleaning supplies, toilet paper and food. You tried not to panic about the future. Your fiancé reassured that this would all be gone by June. You tried to focus on being positive.
You continued to work. Some days you worked from home. Others you worked in your office. Work was stressful. Working for a non-profit during a pandemic was not easy. You began dreaming about the future again. You put your two months notice in and began counting down the days.
The end of March rolled around. You decided to cancel both of your bridal showers. You were upset but tried to be tough in your emails to your fiancé. Your family and your fiancé’s family came together to throw you the best surprise virtual bridal shower ever.
You zoomed with your family a lot. You guys played board games and ate dinner together. You celebrated several Zoom birthdays. You even had a Zoom bachelorette party in June!
Speaking of June, you constantly wondered what to do about your wedding. This was not easy when you could not talk to your fiancé very often. You both decided to wait till the end of April to decide. However, mid-April you pretty much knew what your decision was going to be but you still decided to wait.
May rolled around and you were able to talk to your fiancé for 5 minutes on the phone. Reception was spotty and you could barely hear each other but you both decided that you should still get married but postpone the big celebration. You begin telling people. Its not easy but everyone is super supportive and understanding. Your fiancé comes home from deployment you both are finally able to help each other cope with all that has been going on.
You begin planning your future together. You pack up your childhood bedroom and pick up your wedding dress. Before you know it you are walking down the aisle to marry your best friend. He looks handsome and you feel a sense of normalcy for the first time since March. You are in a church finally able to celebrate mass and receive communion. You are surrounded by all the people you love. Life is good. You celebrate afterwards and cry at the toasts your sister and brother-in-law make. It wasn’t the day you pictured but it was perfect.
You hug your family goodbye and go on a honeymoon. Again life feels somewhat normal. You return to Miami and you begin packing. A month later you are headed back to Jacksonville to celebrate your nephews first birthday. At the end of that weekend you say goodbye to your family and are unsure when you will see them next because you are headed to Maryland and the pandemic is still going on. Up to this point in your life you have always lived near them. Its not easy to say goodbye. You cry but surprise yourself at how strong you can really be.
You get to Maryland and move into a beautiful townhouse. Life is good. But after a month you start to struggle. You miss your family but are thankful that you have two friends who make you feel welcomed and you start feeling more at home. You miss your job but are thankful that your business actually has clients. You keep yourself busy and finally have a routine.
You sit at your kitchen table to write this post. You are listening to the Hamilton soundtrack for the millionth time as you sit across from your husband who is working on homework.
You smile as you think about 27. It was crazy and hard no doubt, but you have a realization. This year you learned how strong and resilient you actually are. Your faith has strengthened and you can’t help but feel grateful for your family and the life you are creating.
Bring it on 28!