On this day 15 years ago, I was at my parents’ house, getting ready to marry the Crankee Yankee. The lilac bush behind the house was bursting with gorgeous purple blooms and the whole back yard smelled of them. The little plot of lily of the valley were in full flower as well, adding their sweetness to the air.
During the months before our wedding, Mom and I had scoured the Goodwill stores for champagne glasses. We bought a few dozen of them for about a nickel apiece and laughed our heads off about how you didn’t have to spend a fortune to have a great wedding.
Dad had picked up a few dozen bottles of champagne, and had his camera ready for what he called “my last wedding;” a professional photographer, he had cut weddings out of his schedule. “But I’ll make an exception for you!” he said.
Mom made our wedding cake; her famous lemon crunch cake, plus what she called a “comb over cake;” a backup cake that had used up the rest of the frosting and was thin on top.
She and I cut swathes of lilacs for me and for my maid of honor, my best friend, Jan. For the men, she made beautiful boutonnieres with sprigs of lily of the valley, tied in silver ribbons.
I dressed in my burgundy wedding dress (second marriage, no white necessary!) and put on the tunic necklace I’d made for the occasion. As I was finishing my makeup, I heard a car pull up in the driveway; the Crankee Yankee and his younger brother, David, the best man, had arrived. Soon after that, my best friend and maid of honor, Jan, drove in.
The guest began to gather, and I began to get nervous. My first marriage had ended in disaster, and even though I had known the Crankee Yankee since I was 25, I worried—should I be doing this?
I looked out of my parents’ bedroom window to see all the guests sitting in their chairs and chatting in the back yard. There was a lovely white trellis at the bottom of the slight berm where the guests were sitting. There was a huge pot of white flowers hanging from it, and the minister stood waiting.
Dad came for me and began to walk me around the front of the house. I said, “Dad, I don’t know about this!” He squeezed my arm and said, “Oh, no you don’t–this is the right guy and this is the right time. Let’s go!”
Not only did the Crankee Yankee and I get married that day, but David and Jan got to know each other. Soon after our wedding, they began dating. A few years later, they got married. I will always be happy that our wedding was the place that began another love story.
So, today being our 15th anniversary, I will say this: despite the normal ups and downs, the laughter and the tears, the gains and the losses, the highs and lows—it’s all worth it. I discovered that a first bad marriage (or a “training wheels” marriage as Mom liked to call it) doesn’t necessarily mean that the second will be a bust as well.
Marriage is what you make it. There will always be ups and downs, times where you can’t agree on things, times when you cling to each other and times when you need alone time. We rejoice in many things and put up with many things; it’s a grab-bag of this and that.
Between you and me, I think that the Crankee Yankee is a far better person than I am, but bless his heart, he doesn’t see it that way. This marriage has made me a better person than I was. I see both our faults clearly, but most of all, I see two people who adore each other. I see two imperfect people that just happen to be perfect for each other.