So I stopped crying. Got rid of the red eyes. Began to focus on what needed to be done. It was still raining when we arrived at the church. I'm getting ready in one room, with my bridesmaids and my mom and my future mom-in-law....Stan is in another with his crew getting ready. As the time is getting near to go walk down the aisle, I hear a lot of laughter coming from the other room. I only found out what was happening after we were looking through our wedding photos, and there was Stan, in his tux, laying on a table, arms crossed over his chest, with all his groomsmen standing around holding the table up, you know... like he was dead now since he's about to marry. And then there's Larry, Stan's brother-in-law, with his head bowed and his hands covering his eyes, "weeping" over the loss of yet another male about to enter holy matrimony! Thanks, guys. Appreciate it. Really I do.
Now back to the serious stuff.
Time to get to the back of the church, where I would wait in the foyer until it was time to start down that aisle. The next problem? The only two ways to get to that back foyer was to walk inside the sanctuary or walk outside to get to it. And it's still raining. And I'm in my dress. Rain and wedding dresses to not mix. So we walk to the sanctuary entrance in the front, and someone (don't remember who did this) went inside to make the announcement that due to the rain, the bride was coming in this way and to "please close your eyes until she is out of sight. No peeking please!". Then my bridesmaids made a circle around me, and in we walked. We were laughing, telling people to keep their eyes closed! Pretty funny.
Time for Stan and our pastor, who is my future dad-in-law, to stand up front. Stan is wearing a white tux, standing so straight, waiting for the wedding party to walk in. Instead of a center aisle, this church had two side aisles. We were walking up the left one, and then after the ceremony, we walked back down the right one. Time for the bride and her dad to walk in. I remember being so nervous, clutching my dad's arm tight. I had a bouquet of white silk roses, along with two red silk roses. On the way up to the altar, I stopped to kiss my mom and give her a rose. After the ceremony, I would be stopping again to give a rose to my new mom also.
Finally it was time to stand up there with Stan. As we held hands for the first time that day, I realized that I wasn't so nervous any more. I know that Stan had his share of nerves that day too since his hands were ice cold. We stood there before God and family and friends, and vowed that we would love each other forever and ever.
And now, twenty-seven years later, I am still as deeply in love with my husband as I was then. I love the life that we made together. I wouldn't change a thing. The struggles and hard times only helped us grow into who we are today. We have always been there for each other. He's been the one constant in my life, the one I can always count on no matter what. He makes me laugh. He makes me cry (usually the good kind). He's romantic! He's a wonderful father and grandfather. He's an awesome provider for his family. He's the most annoying, frustrating man ever! He's perfect....for me!!
Stan, I thank you for giving me so many wonderful memories. For loving me. For always being there for me. For being my best friend. For spending your life with me. For being such a good dad to our children. For putting up with me and all the times that I annoy you. I can't wait to see how much more annoying we will be when we are in our rocking chairs.
"Grow old with me. The best is yet to come!"
I love you.