Tuesday, February 17, 2009

16 Years and Counting.....

When I was 17 I fell in love. Looking back now, how scary that had to of been for my mom and dad to watch, but in my teenage indivisibility, I had no doubts or second guesses. I just knew what I knew, and I knew I wanted to be with Mike.

We had the odds stacked against us from the get go, but we were oblivious. We were rearing to get our life started together and ready to get the show on the road.

He was 28. I was in high school. He had moved around and been lost on many levels. I was too I guess, waiting for God's plan to take place.

Our marriage was 3 months after our 1st date. It wasn't at all a pretty or planned event. My mom had found out I was pregnant, and within 24 hours I was in a Justice of the Peace. We used the dress I had worn to my grandparents 50th anniversary party, and my brother stood in as a witness. My father wouldn't speak to me that day.

As much as I told myself it didn't matter, (we were already engaged!) and bottom line We loved each other, the way that day unfolded bothered me. I wanted it to be a happy day. It should have been celebrated!

(don't you love that my wedding pictures involve a picture of a man with bullet holes in the background!)

So for our 10 year anniversary we decided to do something special. I wanted to have another chance at a wedding. Sadly my dad had passed away, and I could not longer have him walk me down the isle ( although we had made our peace, and he grew to love Mike dearly), so anything involving a church turned me off. We decided to do a cruise and renew our vows on the beaches of Key West (where Mike had lived before we got married, and also where we had our honeymoon). We asked my mom about taking the kids, and it wasn't workable. We had no one else so we booked it for five! I found a company that would meet us when our ship stopped for the day stop and they would handle everything! The pictures, the champagne, they would officiate the ceremony, they even had flowers. Perfect! My cousin and her partner lived in Miami, and I asked them to come meet us one the beach for the day to celebrate. They said they would! I asked my mom to come. She said no. She said she was newly married and could not do it. I could not believe she wouldn't try to work something out for her only daughter. I was hurt, but continued with my plans.

Oh gosh! That trip!!! It was in February 2003 so it was shortly after 911. President Bush had issued a code orange. Getting on and off the boats were such a chore, but we managed. We had 3 little kids on a 7 day cruise, but we managed. I got sea sick, but we managed. The childcare our travel agent promised us wouldn't take the not quite 2 Matthew, BUT WE MANAGED! By the day of the wedding I was sick and frazzled. That was when the captain made his big announcement. When we would port at Key West...NO ONE would be allowed off the ship until ALL passports were checked, and security was satisfied. Code Orange was in FULL effect.

But we had photographers and preachers and cousin meeting us on the shore line?!?! I was about in tears. I went in my long white gown down to talk to the captain himself and plead my story with a baby on my hip!

Long story short, they did make special exception for us and let us wait in the bottom of the ship so when it was all clear we would be the first to leave. We were only a little behind on time and as we raced off the boat we ran to catch the trolley to Fort Zachery State Park with 3 little ones in tow. The driver asked us our story as we were quite noticeable with our attire, and he stepped on it once the seats were full. As he zipped into the part of the park we needed to be, I in my gym shoes and long white dress ran holding children's hands, heard the driving say over the speaker to all the people on the tram "they are running to their wedding folks!" People cheered for us as we ran towards the beach. It was wonderful.

My eyes scanned the beach for my cousins or for the wedding company, and there stood my mom!

She had secretly flew in to surprise me!

Needless to say the day was BEAUTIFUL!



As we renewed our vows the children ran around us playing. We had the music of Leo Keottke playing "Rings", and Enya playing "Only Time".

Afterwards we changed and we spend the day having lunch and walking the streets of Key West. I can honestly say it was the happiest day of my life.

Mike has always, always always been a stand up guy. He loves me to no end. He is faithful and my best friend. He babys me and watches out for me and tucks me in at night. I love this man so much more today than I did that day. Thank you Mike for this wonderful life we get to share together! Happy Anniversary~