Tis the Season of giving thanks and reflecting upon what truly matters: our friends, family, our work, the air in our lungs, a roof over our head, and if very lucky someone or something to love. As much as I complain about everyday silliness or worry over legitimate problems; I have won the lottery in one regard. I’ve been fortunate enough to love the same man for over 20 years. (I know hard to believe when I have seemingly not aged a day…)
November marks our 20th Anniversary and I am as proud as punch. I remember so many details from our wedding day. The butterflies, the joy, the anxiety over a million little details… Getting married outdoors in Florida is risky business, but I had my heart set on an old estate in my home town which has a creek running through it feeding directly to the ocean. The sun was shining, there was a crispness to the air which made the water and the light sparkle and dance. My somber Dad walked me down the steps of the old estate and down the aisle towards the water and where my beautiful groom waited with a great big smile on his handsome face. Yep, I admit it I swooned. I couldn’t believe — and honestly still can’t imagine how I managed to convince him to be mine… As I walked down the aisle, I tried to take it all in; the smiling faces of childhood friends, colleagues from the Sheriff’s Department, my brother was a groomsman and I remember thinking how happy and dare I say proud he looked as I walked toward the wedding party. My sweet Mom surreptitiously wiped tears from her eyes while sitting up front sending me her love and joy over to me like waves rolling in from the ocean.
We ate inside the grand old rooms by candlelight and fragrant blooms … don’t ask me what the meal was, I have no idea and yet I know I fretted over the menu for days. I do remember being thrilled when immediately following dinner everyone started dancing and laughing outside under the stars. I was blessed to have had both of my grandmothers Norma and Gloria as well as Brian’s grandma Mary present and all of them looked absolutely beautiful.
As for my wedding dress it was a fairly straight forward affair. satin, embroidery, sequence…the usual. I had the good fortune to be struck down with pneumonia and pleurisy a few months prior to the big day causing me to lose a considerable amount of weight, my waist resembled a stack of dimes. I was elated. It is the goal of every stupid bride to be as thin as they have ever been their entire lives. In the famous words of Emily Blunt from The Devil Wears Prada, “ I am one stomach flu away from my goal weight…”
Sadly however, by the time the wedding rolled around I’d already gained enough weight to make zipping the dress feel like a real accomplishment. (imagine me holding onto a bedpost while someone cinched and tightened my corset using anything at their disposal; their foot, shoulder… muscles straining, audible grunting.) Finally one of my bridesmaids through gritted teeth instructed, “ Take a deep breath and hold it…” When I asked for how long, after I was zipped up Ruth sighed and wiped her forehead , “Until you take it off at the end of the night…” and so it was.
At the end of the evening, after the dancing and laughter ended I remember feeling both exhilarated and exhausted. By the time my man carried me across the threshold. I couldn’t wait to unzip my poor straining dress so I could take the long awaited deep breath. As the dress unzipped and billowed to the floor I stepped out of the white satin and crinoline and bent over to scoop it up when— it happened… The mere act of bending— caused my corset to give-way, shooting it across the room like a bullet hitting my poor husband in the face. I know…sexy… (Yup, I’m a keeper fellas) That poor corset gave it all she had… RIP. She left her mark however, I had bruises from the boning along my rib cage for days afterword…and my mans face was a little worse for wear. I wouldn’t have changed a thing… totally worth it…
Through out the years we have moved and lived and loved. We have experienced new cultures and seen amazing and wonderful things. We have both felt the crush of loss and heartbreak. Our plans have detoured and led us far from where we thought we would be. Most of it for the better. Like everyone, our years have taught and humbled us. Through it all I could never asked for a better partner. He is— after all of these years the human I most want advice from, search for in a crowded room, the one I still try to impress, the one who makes my old heart ache with longing.
I am an admitted fool who is stubborn, competitive, ornery, with cheeks getting chubbier by the day, but somehow he manages to see the best in me and forgives my frailties and for that I am forever grateful. Our wedding day 20 years ago seems both like a lifetime ago and yesterday. It’s funny how memories work…
The season of giving is here and at the end of the day— at the end of our lives my hope is we can look back on a life or a season where we feel we’ve given more than we have received, where our hearts are full of forgiveness, joy, and a love which fills us up, gives us purpose and reminds us to be our very best selves, whether that love is towards a person, a pet, or a passion of your own creation. I am just so very thankful to have mine right here Under the Pines…