Wedding Day

I did it. I survived my son’s wedding. It was touch and go a few days before, but my sanity was kept intact … for the most  part.

Aug. 15, 2015

Aug. 15, 2015

Their story began a year ago in June. They met online and after only two months, Sean asked Ashley to marry him. She said yes, and though I had my doubts they would actually go through with it, I stood in front of guests at the reception and told them I truly believed the two are meant for each other.

Those who know Sean, nodded and smiled. They know his story. Those on the outside may not understand how far this young man has come, but on Aug. 15, I realized my little boy had grown up.

He asked me to dance to the song, “I Hope You Dance,” by Lee Ann Womack, and my first thought was, “Sean can dance?” But he proved he could, and very well.

As we twirled around the dance floor I told him I was proud of him, but I wonder if he even understood how much.

Sean was 6 years old when he was diagnosed with ADHD, along with a list of disorders, which would prevent him from learning the traditional way. In fact, he still has problems today, which has hindered his ability to keep a job for very long.

He has struggled his whole life socially and emotionally, and people don’t always understand where he’s coming from. Carrying a conversation with him is sometimes difficult because his brain is constantly working overtime. He switches from one subject to the next without even taking a breath.

But Saturday, I saw that none of that matters to Ashley, who accepts Sean just as he is. She knows he has limits but loves him anyway. That’s true love.

Two weeks before the wedding, he asked me to help him write his vows:

Me: So what do you want to say to her?

Sean: I love her.

Me: Okay, but what else?

Sean: I’ll be there for her.

Me: Do you know what a marriage means, Sean? (I wanted to make sure he knew.) Because it’s more than just loving someone.

Sean: Yes, it means helping her up when she falls, and being there for her. Being her best friend. It means being nice, and caring, even when I’m mad at her. It means taking care of her and wiping her tears when she’s sad…

Me: It means you’re committed to her.

Sean: I thought I said that.

I smiled to myself. Yep. He did say that, in so many words. After talking with him a little bit more, this is what I came up with:

Ashley,

I never thought I would ever meet someone as wonderful as you. You have taught me so much about love and what it means to be in a loving relationship. You accept me for who I am and I am so thankful you said “Yes” when I asked you to be my wife.

I know I’m not perfect and I make mistakes, but I promise that I will do my best to take care of you and give you the life you deserve.

I promise to help you up when you fall, be the shoulder to cry on, and be your best friend in every sense of the word. I promise to love you through good times and bad. And when we disagree, I promise to respect you and to listen to what you have to say, even if it’s sometimes difficult to hear.

Every day I find another reason to fall in love with you. You have made me so happy, and I am going to spend the rest of my life making sure you’re happy, too.

I love you, Ashley, always and forever.

I wasn’t sure how we would be able to make everything come together for the wedding day, but it did, perfectly. It was hotter than blazes, the cake melted, and I forgot the centerpieces, but the Noelridge Gardens backdrop was gorgeous and everyone had the time of their lives.

A great day, to say the least.

“Sometimes in the middle of an ordinary life, love hands you a fairytale.”

Should she or shouldn’t she? (That is the question)

My youngest daughter is getting married. She and Johnny ditched the traditional courtship and went straight to starting a family. So with two kids, their own house, and a foundation for a happy life, why get married now?

I have been married more than once and have come to the conclusion that maybe I’m not the marrying type. So I am curious why Lori and Johnny want to get married.

“I love him and we want to make it legal,” was her reply.

She said she knows they don’t have to get married. Society has made it quite acceptable to live together and have children “out of wedlock.” (Incidentally, they were “married” by a Buddhist monk, which isn’t legal, but they are married in the eyes of Johnny’s family, who are Laotian.)

But marriage seems to be the next step for them. (My oldest daughter has three children with her significant-other, and I’m not sure they will ever get married. But that’s OK, too.)

At Lori’s bridal shower, we played a game where those attending wrote marriage advice on a piece of paper, and then they were read by Lori.

The advice included, “Never go to bed angry,” “listen to each other,” and “compromise,” but the one that received the most laughter was, “Always sleep naked.”

But while some of the advice was meant to be comical, much of the advice was sincere and offered realistic insight to what a marriage is about. My advice included working together to find solutions to their problems, but there was so much more I wanted to tell her.

What I learned from being married didn’t come until after I was divorced. Being able to see my part in why the marriage failed prepared me for future relationships. I learned how my attitude about my relationship had a lot to do with how I reacted in certain situations.  I saw how being able to communicate and be honest about how we feel is crucial in being able to work together to reach common goals. I realized that equality in relationships is essential in staying together; everything has to be 50-50.

But it’s not just what you do in a marriage that will determine its success. Attitudes about relationships and love also play a part in how your view your marriage, such as what kind of marriage your parents had and your beliefs about what marriage is really all about.

Every little girl wants her own fairy-tale, and that doesn’t seem to change as we mature. Movies, such as “The Vow,” and “The Notebook,” tug at our hearts and makes us want that kind of love for ourselves. But many waste a lot of time and energy running after something that isn’t real.

For years I searched for that kind of love. it was only after countless heartaches that I realized that my efforts were pointless. The kind of love I was looking for didn’t exit. The idea that there is someone out there who will devote their life to you and fall at your feet every time you walk through the door is ridiculous.

But I have found something very close to the perfect relationship. We have a mutual respect, a live-my-own-life, do-what-I-want kind of relationship that allows me to have it all. We have our own space, but we know the other is there when we need them. We have a lot of fun, too.

Marriage? Maybe it isn’t for me, but I know how Lori feels. Just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t for her and Johnny. I hope it does, because I know couples who have been married 50-60 years and have something I will never have. But I guess I can’t have it both ways.

(Below is a clip from Lori’s Bachelorette Party. It has very little to do with this blog, but it is hilarious.)

Lori’s video