Monday, November 3, 2008

On this day...

On this day in 1912, Ora Durham was born. She was to become Ora D. Brown when married, have four children, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, with three more on the way (seriously). Also on this day, ninety-five years after her birth, her youngest grandchild would be married. That would be me.

As most people know, Grandma was the only grandma I had growing up. Past the age of 7 or so, she was the only grandparent left as well. She sure made of for the lack of grandparents, by being everything and everywhere for us. Even though she had passed on in 1996, there isn't a day that goes by without thinking of her. It's because of that, Paul and I decided to get married on her birthday. Now I have something to share with her for the rest of our lives (other than the fact that I was born two days after her birthday).

On this day last year, at this very moment, I was walking with my dad down the aisle. We'd had a momentary freak-out, when he pulled his bedazzled sunglasses off his eyes (he'd picked them up without anyone else knowing, when usually I'm there to tell him which ones are feminine) while we were waiting for the "great unveiling" of the bride and father. He was unsure of where to put his glasses, so we had to hustle for a bit and cram them in his inside jacket pocket. I swear, literally at the last second before the doors were opened, my dad was stuffing those glasses into his pocket.

Now that it's taken me a half an hour to get here from the last paragraph (ah, the joys of blogging while at work), at this very moment last year, I was sitting on the chairs at the altar, tears silently falling down my cheeks. I had just passed by my aunts and uncles, my cousins and nieces and nephews, all people who had seen me grow up, and now were watching me get married- the baby in the family. I saw my aunt Sharon crying (although smiling as she did it), and when I saw that, I knew my Grandma was watching. I knew that she was proud of me, and proud of who I was about to marry. As the childrens choir began to sing the songs we had picked out, I heard a girl's voice begin singing "The Rose", a song that brings me to tears every time I hear it. Hearing that angelic voice singing at our wedding just caused the tears to begin to flow, and my vision to blur. One of our altar servers (who was also the star player on Paul's A Boys Football team) saw me crying, and began to make faces and mimic a scene from Napoleon Dynamite, with "The Rose" spelled out in sign language. With that, I started laughing, shoulders shaking as I mouthed a "Thank you" to one of my favorite students ever.

At this point you should know that Patrick wasn't just asked to be an altar boy. No, we had specifically chosen him when we got engaged, and had also invited his family to the wedding reception. For weeks leading up the wedding, he would do the countdown whenever he saw me. "Hey Amber, 3 weeks and 4 days until the big day!" His mom would tell me about how excited he was to be going to the wedding, and taking part in such a huge day for us. I never thought about it, but at Paul's school he's a bit of a celebrity, and our wedding was announced in the church's weekly paper, inviting all members of the parish to attend. The church can hold hundreds of people, and we had at least 300 there, students and families who had come to watch and celebrate with us- watching their beloved "Coach Paul" finally tie the knot.

So many things happened that people didn't see. Another family at Paul's school, of Polish descent stood in the vestry with my dad and I, waving at us and smiling. After the wedding they would come up to me with a bouquet of red and white roses, telling me that it's a tradition in their culture to give the bride roses for her wedding. They're already one of the sweetest families ever, and that just added to our adoration for them. When Paul and I were standing outside the church, finally married, one of his kindergartners was standing outside with her friend, and the friend said, "Which one is the bride?" and the student said, "The one who isn't Coach Paul, duh!". Things come back to my memory, and I just smile- it was the best day of my life, despite how ambivalent I am about that dress (which I will be trying on tonight before I finally box it up).

That day was so special for us. We became a new family, we got to celebrate with all our family and friends, and Paul's team won their first playoff game- without Paul. Patrick's mom (who is now art teacher at Paul's school) told Paul that it was amazing to see so many people who had gone straight from our reception (leaving in the middle) to their playoff game, all dressed in their fancy church/wedding clothes. The boys were dressed in suits, and quickly changed in the school's bathrooms to be ready to win one for Coach Paul, as were my orders to each of them as they came up to say goodbye at the wedding. Another of our altar servers, Marty, said to us when we came up to the teenager's table, "This food is GOOD". His own mom had gotten married there just 7 months before, and had the same food, so I said, "This is what your mom had, what did YOU eat?" Apparently she had given him chicken fingers, the kid's plate, and he was honored to have the grownup's food. It's little things like that that we'll remember for a lifetime.

So, on this day last year, I became a wife. And on this day last year, I was given a whole new set of memories to cherish, and today I will taste the top tier of our wedding cake, because I'm sure it's going to be pretty terrible. Good thing we're going to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner! I'll have to pick up a tasty cheesecake for dessert.


Jill said...

Happy Anniversary!

L I S A said...

Read this out loud to your cousin who always loves hearing about your g-ma. I enjoyed reading about all that went on with the wedding and the participants.


ps I think our cake top tier is still in Sharon's freezer. Yikes!