It seems like yesterday when I attempted to climb gracefully into that long, white limo which would carry me and my bridesmaids to the church where I would marry the man who had stolen my heart. The graceful part wasn't easy due to the gigantic crinoline Mom and I had chosen to make my beautiful gown even more impressive.
This girl, who was more comfortable in blue jeans, muck boots and a pitchfork in hand, somehow made it happen. I remember giggling and feeling horrified that I had possibly just flashed the limo driver, but thoughts of Mark standing at the end of the aisle took the shame of that moment away.
I will never forget the feelings of excitement, love, and bliss as those huge, wooden doors of our log cabin church opened and I caught the first glimpse of the man who I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I looked over at my sister, Renee, who was walking me down that very long aisle to place my hand in Mark's. I can't even describe what that moment felt like, but we were both overcome with emotion and the tears began to fall. I have held that memory forever in my heart and it is always with me.
After 21 years, 3 states, the birth of our spicy little girlie, more than a few gray hairs, and the loss of family who happily celebrated that day with us, those wonderful feelings of love have deepened with the passage of time. We've cried tears of joy and sadness, but through it all, this man with a most beautiful heart has held my hand and held me up. The best decision that I have ever made in this life of mine was to allow two very special friends, Ken and Sherrie, to talk me into going on a blind date with a certain dark haired, blue-eyed man.
After that, the next best decision was to say,"Yes! Yes, I want to spend the next 50-60 years with you!"
On that evening, while sitting in the rib joint in Philly where we had shared our first date, I cried as he put the most beautiful ring on my finger. I loved that ring and proudly wore it everywhere. It was perfect for me; not too big to wear while gardening, and not too flashy that I had to leave it at home while visiting the city.
One evening, while living in New York, I began to cry when I looked down at my ring and noticed that the stone was missing. I had just returned from the grocery store because a snowstorm was coming, and it could have fallen out anywhere. I searched everywhere for it but never found it. I was heartbroken.
I think the state of New York just may have been bad luck for us. I cried, again, when I noticed that one of the diamond earrings (which Mark had given to me when Renee was born) wasn't adorning my right earlobe any longer. Those earrings had safety backs and everything!
As life goes on and your children grow, there just isn't money in the budget to replace diamonds. Through the years, I have joked that maybe, just maybe, the diamond from my earring would fit in the setting of my engagement ring. Mark and I always talked about finding a reputable jeweler who might be able to reset it for us, but honestly, it wasn't priority. As long as Mark and I had our wedding rings and each other, that's all that mattered.
A few weeks ago, while Renee and I were down in Florida performing in our friend's Fractured Fairy Tales haunted house, this gem of a man (pun intended!), found not only my carefully hidden away jewelry box, but a trustworthy jeweler as well. In a twist of luck, that one, lone earring fit the setting from my engagement ring.
It is just as beautiful as the day, 22 years ago, when he met with his jeweler in Philly, showed him a sketch of what he wanted my ring to look like, and personally had it designed it for the third finger of my left hand.
That, my friends, is what 21 years of marriage looks like in our world. It is family, dirty laundry, hugs, and the luck of a perfect fit.
Yup, pretty much like the way his hand perfectly fits into mine.