24 Years, 364 days

Tomorrow is our 25th wedding anniversary.  TWENTY-FIVE years.  Twenty FIVE years.  However I say it, it sounds like a long time, and yet it went by in a blink.

I've been thinking about what 25 years ago today was like.  The day before the wedding.  My usual calm exterior belies my inner turmoil, today as well as then.  I don't exactly stress about things, but I do get very wrapped up in details.

The rellies were all arriving that day, and the next morning.  Making sure that everyone got to their appropriate quarters was important.  Trying to iron my wedding dress without leaving any water spots.....  painting my nails to perfection.....  going over (once again) the details with the florist, the caterer, the lady who made the wedding cake, the hall where the reception was to be held, counting bottles of champagne...... 

Just when I thought I had everything down just right,  I sliced one of my fingernails (which I had been carefully nurturing to 10 perfect nails) with a big kitchen knife.  OF COURSE it was the nail on my wedding-ring finger!!  So I got my first professional manicure, and the lady tried to repair the damage.  You can see this odd acrylic bulge in my nail in that lovely quaint photo of our two be-ringed hands after the wedding.  :-)

My beloved uncle was going to play the wedding march for me on his violin-zither.  I don't know if this instrument is peculiar to Holland?  It has violin strings on the right side, which you play with a bow, and the strings of zither on the left, which you pluck with a kind of pick (I think it's called a plectrum?)  (I should google that.).  Anyway, it makes for a lovely, soft, chamber-music kind of feel and was a beautiful addition to the ceremony. 

It occurred to me more than once that day that it was my last day as a single woman.  My soon-to-be father-in-law had made it plain already that he did not want his son to marry me.  That concerned me.  That quality of forever I was signing up for was pretty intimidating.  The desire to have everything go off without mistake was a worry.   I was even worried about the priest who was going to perform the ceremony:  the very kind man had a strong French-Canadian accent and I worried whether my darling would be able to understand him.

To balance my worry wart, detail-oriented side were the things I was sure of.  I knew that I loved this man, and that he was a man of honor and integrity and tenderness.  I knew that my family supported us 100%, even if his didn't.  And I knew myself well enough to know that I was a good judge of character and had the tools I needed to be a good wife.  I had my Grandma's sage advice to fall back on, and the example of my parent's successful loving marriage.  I had faith in my man and in myself and our love.

The day of the wedding dawned cold and dreary.  I got up early and went to the beauty salon.  Maybe I shouldn't have.  My hair was naturally a medium ash-blonde, and the stylist colored it a "warmer" color to go with my "warm" skin and champagne gown.  It came out a flat brown, which she then curled up so tight that it would take a mule team to pull a brush through it.  Good thing I had a veil to wear. 

The room for the ceremony was lovely.  Candelabras graced the aisle and flanked both sides of the altar.  Sonia roses and peach gladiolas were lovely against the backdrop, and the backdrop was lovely against the elk antlers which pointed skyward from behind the arch.  (God was trying to tell me something by that, but I was too nervous to get the message.)

My dear Uncle Henk played the wedding march and my dad, handsome in a warm brown tuxedo, held out his arm to escort me down the aisle.  My sister, the maid of honor, walked ahead of me, beautiful as she always is, and the smiling faces of all our loved ones greeted me from the seats on either side.  My Mom smiled at me and my Grandma squeezed up both her eyes in a gesture that we both knew meant, "I love you."

And there he was.  My dearest.  He was so trim and handsome, as he still is.  I looked into his cool blue eyes when I finally reached his side.  He was at least as nervous as I was, but he was my rock that day and every other day after.

I'm still not sure if he knew what the priest said that day, but he got the vows right and sounded like he meant them.  And for the last 25 years (and the next 50 years, I hope!) he has been acting like he meant those powerful words of love and commitment.

The wedding and reception came off without a single mistake.  There was just enough misbehavior at the reception to give us something to laugh about, and just enough family drama to make us normal.  My strong, handsome husband carried me across the snow that had fallen and we went away on a fun honeymoon.  All in all, it was a lovely start to a life of joy and blessings. 

So what was I worried about?


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