Well, today is a Big Day! 30 years ago, this guy and I both said, “I Do!”
And we still do, except we’ve added two kids, a house in the suburbs and a minivan.
This might not sound like your idea of Utopia, but for a kid who grew up in a dysfunctional family during the equally dysfunctional 60’s/70’s, the past 30 years have been a little slice of heaven I wasn’t sure I’d ever find. When I was ten, a neighbor asked me how old I wanted to be when I got married. Pfffft. I told her I was never getting married. Two long-term boyfriends later, I still wasn’t sure marriage was for me. Then a friend introduced me to Jerry. At 5’6″, he is fun sized (like me), has a great sense of humor and most important, he is a Nice Guy. He won the Mom Seal of Approval, too … she took one look at Jerry and said, “I like him! He has snappy eyes.”
So eight months later, I broke the rules. Sure, it was the 80’s. By this point, women could vote, we’d burned our bras and all that jazz. But a lot of women still waited around for guys to make the first move. Patience is not my greatest virtue. I knew Jerry was The One and I saw no sense wasting time, so I asked him to marry me.
I didn’t get down on one knee or give him a guy-ring or anything like that. I just suggested we go to church one Easter (which should have been his first clue since neither of us are religious.) While we were there, we had a whispered conversation that went something like this:
Me: So what do you think of this Church?
J: It’s nice.
Me: Want to go over to the rectory after Mass and see how long the wedding waitlist is?
J: Uhhhh … sure.
And sure enough, they had an opening in just six months. Could I pull together a wedding in six months? You bet I could. My mom wasn’t impressed with the $99 Mexican wedding dress I fell in love with at a boutique in Faneuil Hall, and since Princess Diana was married a year or two before, the style was long trains. Since mom was paying for part of the dress, we finally found one we agreed on. My maid-of-honor and bridesmaids were very gracious about my choice of their dresses, and nobody snickered when I insisted how much use they’d get out of these if they were hemmed.
We booked a hotel banquet room for the reception. Flowers, cake, band, photographer, invitations, lists and more lists – it all came together.
Then five weeks before the Big Day, my friend, Cathy (2nd from the left in the photo above, who introduced me to Jerry) was moving, so a bunch of us went to help. I was pretty excited since this was my first friend who was fulfilling the dream of not just home ownership, but actual house ownership. When I get excited, I don’t always pay attention to Things.
In my defense, the light was out, and I thought it was a broom closet. Cathy asked what the plastic contraption on the wall was, so I stepped in to show her how an ironing board hangs from it. Unfortunately, there was no floor in that stupid broom closet because it was actually the basement stairs. My foot hit the edge of the second step hard enough to dislocate my ankle, which broke off that knobby ankle bone that sticks out (the medial malleolus, if you want to get technical) in two places and splintered the fibula.
And I fell backwards, ass over teakettle (as my grandmother would say) down the rest of the steps.
When I got to the bottom, I took inventory. The only problem appeared to be a ridiculously painful lump the size of an orange under my sock where my ankle should be. This, of course, put a kibosh on the moving festivities. We were supposed to have pizza and beer after we moved stuff, but the highlight of my night turned out to be a ride in an ambulance with crummy shocks. The ambulance guys wouldn’t even turn on the siren for me because a broken leg “wasn’t an emergency” according to them. I also learned that when three guys walk into a hospital room, tell you to bite on a towel, then pin you to the table while some doctor yanks at your foot, your concept of pain will be exponentially redefined.
The next day, while we were supposed to be attending the requisite Pre-Cana class, the doctor screwed my ankle back together. I woke up in a plaster cast from my toes to mid-thigh, and spent the next 5 days in the hospital (which says a lot about health insurance 30 years ago.) But four weeks made a big difference. I couldn’t have a walking cast because of the way the bones broke, but the week before the wedding, I graduated to a knee-high fiberglass cast.
The day of our wedding dawned brisk and lovely. My mom decorated my crutches with white satin ribbons and silk roses, then she produced a box. Surprise wedding gift? Yes! Just what every bride wants on her wedding day … a brand new pair of blindingly white running shoes. “I thought you’d be more comfortable in this,” my mom said hopefully as she held up one. She made a good point, so I traded my white pump for the running shoe without too much fuss. I wore a fuzzy white sock over the cast to keep my toes from showing, and because it was pretty cold outside. My poor bridesmaids and maid-of-honor were freezing in their short sleeves, but they were so lovely, and my flower girl and ring bearer were adorable. My brother walked me down the aisle (while whispering, “Slow! Down!” because I could move pretty fast on crutches ;) but when I got to my husband-to-be, his face was the same shade as his gray tux. He had arrived at the church during a funeral, and they wheeled the coffin down the aisle a few minutes before I got there.
It turns out that neither the broken leg, nor the recent funeral, nor the missed Pre-Cana class were impending signs of doom.
Today marks our 30th anniversary. Here’s to my best friend and the love of my life <3
Our goal …
P.S … See where Wikipedia says you must attend a Pre Cana class? Not if you’re in the hospital and you argue that there are no more classes offered before your wedding :)