So it was the third of January, 2009, and I was getting married. Simon had been in the US for about two weeks already, and we had done the rounds with family and friends, had wedding showers, Christmas parties, and New Years Eve had been rung in properly. I had spent the night with my sister and brother in law the night before, and that morning I remember waking up and thinking “FINALLY!”
Everything was as normal there, and to be honest it didn’t seem like anything exciting was happening. My friend Leah and her son had stayed there as well, and we all got up, had coffee and breakfast, and went about our morning. I hadn’t made an appointment to have my hair done or makeup done at all, having chosen instead to just do it myself. Susan was my matron of honour and she couldn’t go have that stuff done because she was dealing with a perfect little daughter of her own who was just two days past turning a month old.
The last minute preparations were going on when we realised we didn’t have any Yorkshire Tea. It was important to me that we have it as it is Simon’s favourite and instead of toasting with alcohol (since we were having the reception in a church) he and I had special mugs and would toast with tea. But we had no tea.
Mom and Dad couldn’t go get it (I can’t remember why). Susan and Dave couldn’t go get it (see above month old baby Joy) so Leah and I set out to find the store and get some tea. We had to go what seemed like a million miles away to find this little British Import Shop to get some…a fact that I still laugh about now as I walk into Whole Foods and there’s m’tea, on the shelf.
We got back and I discovered that I was not as proficient at putting on makeup as I thought I was. No worries, Liz helped me tremendously. There was no plug in the bride’s room for my straighteners so I went to the bathrooms off the fellowship hall of the church and tried any number of ways to get the wild brush on top of my head to behave. Nothing doing. Finally I pulled it back into the messy bun I wear most of the time, pinned my veil on, and here we go.
Liz was helping me into my shoes when the call came that we had to go SOON so she scampered off to make sure her daughter, our flower girl, was ready to go. Unfortunately, I discovered too late the buckle on my left shoe was too loose. I hadn’t had a chance to stand in it and tell her it needed tightening as I had the right shoe, and I couldn’t bend over to do it myself. At least my right shoe was on properly, I told myself. I can always try to keep my weight shifted over to my right. I won’t look too much like I should be shimmying up a ladder and ringing the bells and shouting Sanctuary!! Well, I hoped I wouldn’t anyway…
I remember standing in the narthex and Andrew, Simon’s brother, giving Mary Catherine (his and Liz’s daughter and our flower girl) some last minute instructions and then winking at me. I remember that because he had looked so very uncomfortable the rest of the time that the wink seemed incongruous to the point of being funny. Maybe he was trying to help himself relax as well as make me smile?
Wedding March started…”How do you solve a problem like Maria?” from The Sound of Music, natch…and in Susan went, followed by Andrew. They shut the doors and Daddy and I got ready and then suddenly there we went, me reminding him not to let me fall and holding his arm for dear life.
And then I saw Simon look at me and smile, and I know it’s trite to say but everything else was gone. I barely heard anything Daddy said during the ceremony. I almost didn’t answer when it was my turn. Didn’t matter. I was marrying Simon, my best friend and the most wonderful soul I know.
Remember the loose shoe? That could have been a real problem if I hadn’t been powering through the unsteadiness and pain in my foot. Halfway through the ceremony, for example, because I hadn’t asked anyone to tighten it I could SEE the skirt of my gown wiggling because my leg was shaking uncontrollably on that side due to that darned shoe. Thankfully after the ceremony Leah came to the rescue and we took both the shoes off. I had said from the start I was going to get married barefoot so at least I got to go to my reception that way. I can remember my god-daughters Tai and Kaya picking up the flower petals from the aisle and Mary Catherine telling them to put them back, puzzled when they didn’t respond because she didn’t know they were deaf. I remember my cousin Sandy telling Simon that if he hurt me Sandy would come after him. I remember Brian and Courtney’s Finn being recommended to a 12-step program for cheese after being caught a few times too many at the cheese plate. I remember laughing and family, and just generally being overjoyed. That doesn’t happen much in my life, so when it does I hang on to the memory with all ferocity.
Three years and his smile can still stop me in my tracks…and make me smile right back. Happy Anniversary, Sweetie. Here’s to a thousand more.