Today is our one year wedding anniversary. In some ways, I can't believe it has already been one year and in others- it feels like much longer than that. Maybe because we've been together about six!
With this milestone anniversary, there comes a certain nostalgia for the wedding day and other things of the past, but it is also a nice time to look ahead and think of what is in store for us and all the adventures we want to take together.
As you all know, philanthropy was a big aspect of our wedding day- it touched all aspects of planning from the cake to the bridesmaid dresses to the photography.
Our first dance to George Harrison's "If Not For You." Photo: Fine Arts Exposure
Unlike the last slice of wedding cake we plan to eat tonight or the wedding accessories that have already achieved heirloom status, the charitable element of our wedding is very much alive and well. In fact, it is a defining aspect of our marriage.
My husband is the kindest man I know and that is saying a lot- because we are blessed with many wonderful and thoughtful family members and friends. His patience and big heart encourage me to be a better person. Just as my passion for helping others and getting the word out on important causes has influenced him.
So, it is only fitting that for our first anniversary- our "paper" anniversary, we decided together to make a small donation to a very special cause. If there is one issue that pulls our heart strings more than any other it is education, particularly the education of young girls.
Two weeks ago, we caught the end of Nicholas Kristof's documentary Half the Sky, which was based on Kristof's book with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn. The film confronted a host of issues addressing women across the globe ranging from women's health issues to gender based violence to sex trafficking.
All the organizations featured were unbelievably inspiring. The Somaly Mam Foundation in particular really struck us. Co-founded by sex slavery survivor and ardent activist, Somaly Mam, the Foundation works to eradicate sex slavery by liberating, empowering and educating survivors. Many of the survivors go on to become change agents themselves, thus furthering the non-profit's mission.
With the multi-billion dollar human trafficking industry growing stronger and stronger (it's the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world), it is vital that this global crisis be stopped. Some estimates have suggested that around two million women and children are sold into sex-slavery each year. The Foundation supports rescue operations, shelter services and rehabilitation programs in Southeast Asia. Additionally, the Somaly Mam Foundation runs advocacy campaigns to bring awareness of the issue.
Somaly Mam and her girls. Photo found online.
Together we decided that the best paper gift we could give would be a charitable receipt from The Somaly Mam Foundation. Looking ahead, we know this is just the beginning of our involvement and dedication to supporting those combatting this troubling and difficult issue.
Yes, I know this is a rather heavy topic to write about on my wedding anniversary, but when I think of all the happiness and good fortune we have had in our lives, it only feels right to focus on those who have not had the chances we have had. This is not to say that we didn't get each other little gifts as well.
As I sit here and typing and looking at the beautiful orange flowers Andrew surprised me with, I'm reminded of the thoughtful little gestures that make up our life together. Tonight, we will enjoy a bottle of champagne from a dear friend, a cheap sushi dinner, and a slice of year old wedding cake as well as the knowledge that we are making a small difference- together. While our donation is not a large one and our wedding day was just one day- we hope the sentiment of it all strikes a cord with others and that as a result, more weddings and anniversaries will celebrate the love of others just as they celebrate the love between two people.