When Tim first saw me, he knew I would be his wife but for me it took a little time.
Not too many people remember being 3 years-old, but I remember a cold winter November like it was yesterday. As with most of the winters in Chicago when I was young, I was sick. I was laying on the cream-colored couch of our living room looking at the family photos that adorned the walls. My grandma had placed her blanket over me and sat near my feet.
This blanket was my absolute favorite. I always looked forward to my grandma’s visit because I loved the smell of her blanket. It was the scent of coffee and her absolute favorite skin care product from Oil-of-O’lay. I only smelled this combination when she was there, and my grandma really loved her “Chelle.” She would rub me down after bath time with her favorite lotion and she would allow me to sleep with her and stay up way past my bed time.
That day was a day that my grandma and my mom were so excited about. Mom was making lunch as they both awaited their favorite day time drama, General Hospital. Once my mom heard the theme song start, she hurried to the coach with her’s and my grandma’s lunch. She sat them on the coffee table, picked me up and sat down on the opposite end of the couchfrommy grandma. Then she laid me back down with a pillow in between her lap and my head, and she tucked the blanket snug around me. She also rubbed my hair and my grandma rubbed my feet over the blanket.
This day was particularly different than any other day because for the next hour not a word between these “chatty” women was spoken, nor were their lunches touched. Not only did I know why, but my three year-old brain understood why. It was November 17th of the year 1981, when General Hospital aired Luke and Laura’s wedding.
I remember looking up at my mom as tears fell from her eyes and looking in the mirror image at my grandma, I also saw tears fall from her eyes. I remember Laura looking like my Barbie doll and Luke looking like my Ken doll. It was easy to see because my dolls were setting where I left them against the floor Model TV that we were watching. However, Barbie was wearing a swim suit and Ken had on swim shorts.
After watching the couple marry on TV, I wanted my dolls to look just like them. The chit chat started as my mom and grandma relived the previous hour of day time drama. I crawled from the couch and grabbed my dolls. I took a napkin off the coffee table and wrapped it around Barbie. I left Ken on the table as I curled back up between my favorite two women with a Barbie wearing her napkin wedding dress.
For the next 10 years, I relived Luke and Laura’s wedding with my dolls. Mostly in secret because my sister, Tonja, would tease me about playing with dolls. Therefore, when she was around I would write about my dolls’ wedding in my journal. One day I actually started planning my wedding in my journal. However, the 13-year-old boys could not measure up to Luke. Therefore, I create the perfect fiancé and I planned our wedding and wrote short stories about this make-believe love.
There was nothing I enjoyed more than planning weddings. Therefore, after high school, college, and corporate America, I quit my job and followed my dreams of becoming a wedding planner. Before this, I helped plan weddings with my friends and family as a part of my bridesmaid’s duties. On Saturday, September 1, 2001, Timothy, after spending 81 days convincing me that he was my husband, asked me to marry him.
When I eventually uttered the word “Yes,” Tim looked at the alarm clock and said, “9:14. It took you nearly 15 minutes to say yes, but I will take it.” Then he said, “I thought I was willing to wait 1 year, but I can’t wait 14 months or 14 weeks, so I would like for you to marry me in 14 days.”
“OMG!” I thought as I realized I only had 14 days to plan a small intimate wedding with family and friends. I kissed him, jumped from the kitchen table where we were eating breakfast, put on my NIU sweats, and ran seven blocks to my sister Debora’s house. I knew she would be able to help me plan this wedding in 14 days because she has been planning her own wedding for years while I was planning mine.
I used my key and ran up her stairs to her bedroom and told her that I was getting married in 14 days. She hugged me as we both screamed. Although I found her in bed sleeping and nursing a summer flu, I could tell she was energized from being happy for me. I grabbed her box of wedding goodies from under her bed and quietly closed her door. I went straight downstairs and spread it all over the living room floor.
Moments later her beautiful cat Pawla joined me as I looked at colors and dresses. A few hours later Debora joined the party curling up on the couch with her blanket and box of tissues. I always dreamed of and planned a winter wedding but, this would be a summer wedding. So, I had to change my colors and Debora would not stop pressing the issue until I did. I choose merlot, peach, and sage because Autumn is my favorite season and it was just three weeks away.
My dreams were shattered eleven days later when September 11th no longer was a Summer day, but a Tuesday that changed the world. On that day, it was never so apparent that tomorrow is not promised. Therefore, three days before our wedding not only did we say our wedding vows, we conceived a life. Over the next ten years, those vows meant the world to me, but I longed for a wedding. While I was enjoying planning other people weddings, I so badly wanted to experience my fairy tale.
Tim must have noticed it also after having a heartfelt anniversary that year. We celebrated ten years of marriage while the world was remembering 9/11. Two months later on a cold November afternoon, Tim asked me to marry him again as he wanted me to have my dream winter wedding. I couldn’t help but think back to Luke and Laura’s wedding that I witnessed 30 years prior.
I had 2 months to plan a wedding for January 20th. We choose this date because he proposed on the first day of the month and January was the first winter month of the year. We choose the 20th symbolizing nine plus eleven – our original date of vows. This time I had chosen the colors carnation, latte, custom green, and sugar. Which would be the perfect frosted colors for a cold winter day. Although the winter storm kept family and friends away, we were elated to have chosen a new day to call our anniversary. Because nearly everything was closed due to the winter storm, we said our vows at 4:31 p.m. on Friday, January 20, 2012, in a small room with our three beautiful daughters as witnesses.
We drove through the city of Rockford, Illinois while the beautiful white snow covered the land. We were happy to share our love and renewed vows with the world. A little over a month later on February 22, just three thousand nine hundred and eight-days after having our first and unforgettable conversation on my mom’s porch, I had changed my last name to his. While looking at my new Driver’s License and the bouquet of lilies Tim had just bought I shed tears of joy and also tears of my heart being broken because I was a twice-married woman to the man of my dreams, however, I had not had a wedding.
Today, as I sit here writing down these memories, I wish I could be describing my wedding as a tear falls from my eye. These past years with Tim are full of good, bad, joyful and painful memories that I look forward to sharing with you all. But the thing that breaks my heart nearly every day is remembering the weddings that weren’t. Tim asked me a few years ago did I want to plan our wedding. He said he wanted to give me my winter wedding in front of my friends and family.
Although Sunday, January 20, 2019, would be the perfect wedding day and vow renewal celebration, I don’t think I could go through another wedding that wasn’t. Please help me decide, do you agree with Tim that the third time is a charm? I ask that because I am happy with our marriage but afraid that a third fail wedding will break me. If you believe we should renew our vows for the third and final attempt, please share in the comments below. If you would like to help us fund our (my) dream wedding, please donate via PayPal or Go Fund Me.
Thanks in advance for following my journey as Mom and wife. Until next time, shine amongst the stars!
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