Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Twenty-Three Years

For Saturday, November 26, 2011

Twenty-three years ago today I woke up at my parent’s home. It was my wedding day. I immediately looked outside and saw streaks of color on the horizon. I snapped a picture of the sunrise thinking, “This is what I saw first on the morning of my wedding day”. That image of the sky from my childhood bedroom window remains in my mind. I’ve seen prettier views perhaps, but there is something about the sight of the sun that morning that has forever stayed with me. It confirmed for me that it was going to be a beautiful day.

I remember being very calm the morning of my wedding. I had long heard stories of brides who became nervous wrecks and I had told myself I did not want to be anything but relaxed and happy on my wedding day, if at all possible. I knew it would be all up to me, mind over matter. So when I’d learned of the break down of the antique car that was to carry my new husband and I from the church to the reception hall, I barely batted an eye. I did not obsess over the details of the ceremony or the party I had planned with my Mom’s help. I’d done my best to make it a beautiful day and now I would focus on what was most important, marrying Eric.

My family and friends arrived at the house. I added final touches to my make-up and again I told myself as I unrolled the electric “bender” curlers from my hair, that I was not going to worry if my hair didn’t curl the right way or if something else went wrong with the superficial details of the day. We posed for pictures and when it came time to leave for the church, I remember my little flower girl Ashleigh and I going without any coats. The weather was very mild and they were not needed despite this being the end of November.

I remember making it down the aisle and joining hands with Eric. I remember suddenly feeling shy and finding it hard to meet his eyes. He kept whispering to me and I could only smile and look downward. I was trying hard to be penitent and reverent. I remember offering up many prayers to God, asking him to bless us as a couple and making promises that I would forever do my best to be a good wife and someday, a good mother. I remember passing my bouquet to my maid of honor and best friend Cheryl when it came time for us to make our vows. I remember offering the sign of peace to everyone and how Eric accidentally stepped on my wedding dress. Everyone gasped thinking it had ripped. It became a funny memory but in truth, I think I would have been more surprised if he hadn’t stepped on it that day.

I remember walking back up the aisle as man and wife, of shaking hands with everyone at the back of the church, and of then slipping into my parents' car to be chauffeured to the reception by Scott, Eric’s best man, and his wife Paula. Antique car this was not, but when Scott made a surprise turn into the McDonald’s Drive-Thru, we all began to laugh and I knew then that I would not have had such a memorable drive to the reception had things not worked out the way they had.

Twenty-three years ago I woke up and knew that before the day was out, I would be getting married. I married Eric, this cute guy who made me laugh, who made me feel beautiful and smart and funny, who made me feel safe and happy and confident and secure. I took a leap of faith despite my young age and at the same time, I was so sure it was the right thing to do. It was indeed a beautiful day the day I married my best friend, the future father of my three children, and the love of my life. But as with the early sunrise of Saturday, November 26, 1988, there would be many more days of beauty awaiting me over the next twenty-three years...and with God's blessing, in the next twenty-three years to come.

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