Twenty-one years ago tonight, at twenty years old, I was still just a baby. You couldn’t have convinced me of that though. I knew it all. HA!
I was watching the night fall from the bedroom window, feeling lonely for my best friend. I was wondering what he was up to, how he was feeling, what he was thinking.
I was wondering what the road ahead looked like. I tried to imagine it. Would it hold lots of sunshine and dreams come true? Would it be bumpy and short? I imagined it every way I could think of but even in the worst case scenarios my best friend was right there with me, every step of the way. Sometimes he might be carrying me, sometimes he might be leaning on me for support, sometimes we might be skipping along hand in hand, but always we were together.
I had my dress ready, and my shoes set out. My make-up was packed and my mind was made up. I was jumping in, head first!
Twenty-one years ago tomorrow morning, I got up and headed to Georgetown to begin the preparations for the big day! I dressed at my Nanny’s house with my mom, and family and friends hurrying around me to fix my hair and make-up and add the finishing details…old, new, borrowed, blue…and we headed to the church.
I am not sure how long I was at the church before my best friend finally arrived. I remember asking each friend or family member that would peek in to check on me if they had seen him. Each time they said they had not, I got a exasperated with him again. He is not one for propriety and etiquette. But I never doubted that he would show up. I never doubted him for a minute. The rest of the world might be losing their minds, but he was, and still is, always cool and collected. And he loves me. This man would never do anything that he thought would hurt me. Even though his friend had told him that he would leave a motorcycle running right outside in case he changed his mind, I knew he’d be there. He would pick me over a Harley. For him, that is a mouthful! He loves me.
Watching the video now, I can see him walk into the church three minutes before the pastor began to ring the bells announcing a new chapter about to begin for us. He tells me now that he was actually there about TEN minutes before the service was to start, but he had to go back out to the car because he had forgotten the ring.
We met at the front of a tiny little church, with our closest friends and family gathered around us. You wouldn’t recognize him if you saw him. Maybe he wasn’t ALWAYS totally cool and collected. The man looked terrified. When I ask him about it now, he tells me that he didn’t want to cry. Maybe. If he were terrified, heaven knows that he had every right to be. We had no idea where that road ahead was going. We only knew that we were going together.
So in a tiny little church, in a tiny little town, in front of a tiny little gathering, two hearts full of love began one huge adventure! We would take a tiny little honeymoon and head back to our tiny little house and we’d make our way down a long road. We would walk together through sunshine, and we would run together from the rain, we would jump in puddles and we would laugh. And we would love. And we would make a family, make mistakes, make-up when we’d fall out.
Twenty-one years ago I didn’t have a clue where we were going, or how we were ever going to get there. Today, I’m proud to say that we made it! We’re here! In our happily ever after. We’re dancing down the road now. Sometimes we step on each other’s toes. Sometimes we hold on to each other like we might drown. Sometimes we do the funky chicken. And we laugh.
I know it’s cliche, but it bears repeating. I’m proud of every day of the last twenty-one years. I’m proud that we kept fighting through the “for worse” until we finally got to the “for better”. I’m proud of my best friend. I chose well! And I’m proud of the reflection I see when I look in his eyes, because I never look more perfect than I do when I see myself there. Damn, it’s been hard sometimes. It’s looked impossible. But we figured it out together. And for that I am grateful. And I hate to be greedy, but the last twenty-one have been so beautifully amazing that I’d like to request at least fifty-four more. And then, wherever we end up after this life, I’d like to request another hundred, and another hundred after that…until infinity. Because that’s how much we love, and how much we laugh.
Happy Anniversary, Baby! I love you infinitely! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart and soul, for every second of the trek. There could be no better hiking partner for me, than you.