• Aoife McHugh

The First Wedition: Strolling with my Homie

When visualization becomes realization: give it a post of its own.

At 12.55 on Friday the 26th of July, 2019, the church bells chimed just beyond the back garden of my home. I had envisioned this moment for so many years, it was hard to believe it was finally here. Before I describe this most important time and the walk that ensued, I want to pause, take a few steps back and look in my rear-view. In order to boost gratitude before you go to sleep, you can reflect on the details that added a little yay! to your day. On the contrary, I have always visualized one moment that set off sparks in my soul.

I had pictured this point in time on numerous nights, when I switched off my electric blanket and turned off the light. The image of myself and my Dad strolling side by side, nestled snugly together, our arms intertwined. It always allowed me to go gentle into that good night, succumb to slumber and settle my mind. Now, as the hand of the clock climbed towards one, I turned my face towards the sun. This scene would no longer be a visceral vision of my mind’s eye, it was real-life, 3D, the hour was nigh.

That morning I woke up in my bedroom with a feeling that was akin to a childhood Christmas. I hopped out of bed in anticipation of the day. I was ready, thirteen years will do that to you! No sea of nerves, just an overriding wave of happiness. We had made it. Although our names were the ones etched on the invitations, this was going to be a glorious gathering of genuinely good souls. Out of seven billion people we had been fated to feature in each other's lives. That's something else.

Almost everyone could make it. In a world so charged with challenges, this was one of the most special successes of the day. Joining us because we had shared precious moments along the unpredictable path of life. People we loved would be placing a punctuation in their daily lives just to be present. I was immersed in this little bubble, so much so, I didn’t even notice the Category five rainstorm that was raging outside.

As the morning meandered on, our house was a bubbling tureen of noise and happy chaos.  The kitchen had become a sitcom filled with colorful characters all bringing their unique talents to the fore. What a wonderful world it is to have creativity in so many different forms and to have the most amazing people to share it with. My bridesmaids could not have been more excited if they were getting married themselves and the rest of my family were just as equally enthused. They were definitely ready for me to become a McHugh!

Akin to the Various ghosts in A Christmas Carol, I will return to the start of this yarn. Just as Summer subtly simmers out and Autumn arrives, things were getting ready to happen, the day had come alive. I stepped outside, the rain had subsided, a crystalline sky, cushions of cloud far and wide. 

My trusty Uncle Peadar was chauffeur for the day, even a one minute journey can sprout vintage views along the way. We passed my iconic Uncle Josie transitioning in attire. Swapping from shirt to vest, just to make sure he was immaculately fresh! We touched down circa 13.05 and got our game faces in place. This was definitely going to be one time when the turtle wins the race.

I looked at Dad and he looked at me, what a privilege to have one bestie escort me to the next.  He had carried me on his back for long enough, it was time to make like Florence and Shake It Off! We  paused in the porch to ponder my pretty plasterwork. Like our mass booklets, the theme was heavy on poetry: William had to make a Shakes-pearance, naturally. Alas, we set sail on our one way trip, making sure my tail was tucked in to avoid any slip.

Just as the Shannon water we had walked by so many times, we bobbed along on a wave, with friendly faces on each side. The moment from my mind’s eye had materialized, an ethereal exchange, not quite the time for a high five! One wondrous last walk in that chapter of my life, it was time to level up and become a wife.

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