Fifteen years ago today, I walked, with an incurable smile, down the aisle to my beloved groom, who has grown only more lovable, more admirable, more handsome and more wonderful since then. That day wasn’t exactly full of magic. I didn’t really get the wedding of my dreams and the reception was closer to my idea of a nightmare. But my family and friends were there and there were some elements that still make me feel warm inside.
I always tell my kids the wedding is just a day; the marriage is a lifetime. The lifetime together is what deserves the attention, investment and celebration. I believe that with all my heart and I am blessed all the way over my head that my husband feels the same way.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to not think about the wedding day on an anniversary. The sweet moments are where I like to linger. My dad walked me down the aisle. I got to wear these cutie white lace Mr. Rogers’ sneakers instead of traditional heels. Katie, my underage sister, signed our marriage contract, which leads us to still joke that I am only a common law wife. Brian’s little cousin and my niece were the darling flower girls. My uncle and cousins played piano and strings during our ceremony. In fact, our friends and family supplied so much to make the day special—hair and nails for me, DJing the reception, taking pictures, music, flowers and honeymoon. If the church building had been a boat, we would have capsized as my side sat, knelt and stood in good Episcopal order while Brian’s side sat stalwartly against any sign that they might be participating in worship. (Man, from that sight alone, I wouldn’t be surprised if people made bets against our lasting more than a year!)
The reception went on way too long and it was a relief to finally be on the road to our Napa honeymoon. There were black swans at the hotel. And they made fresh blueberry pancakes—the hotel kitchen staff, not the black swans. We got to go to a wine tasting event and lunched on a train that toured some beautiful vineyards. We also broke the car key in the door and my sister had to drive all the way out to bring us our spare.
As these images and clips play through my mind, more pictures come before my eyes from the years that followed that single day. Our first apartment and the standing Friday night games with friends. Max’s scary birth. The first months of Max’s life. Our second haven apartment we had for three short months. Moving here and Brian starting at the prison. Brian and I getting to know one another all over again after the academy and parenthood—and without the distractions of friends, family, school and work. That long lonely stretch while we adjusted to this new life. The birth of our little girl, and how the experience drew us closer together. The years we measure by the kids’ ages… And there were rough times when I didn’t know if we were going to make it—and worse, didn’t know if I cared. Praise the Lord that Brian’s stubbornness is at least equal to his love for me. When one ran out, there was plenty of the other.
Fifteen years isn’t that long by a lot of standards. But I feel like it is a pretty big deal for a guy who never thought he would marry and his girl who never thought she’d stay married. I pray that as more years pass, we come to know one another in new ways, encourage one another to follow where God leads and be the other’s number one fan.
I love you, Old Man. May we have many more.