Friday, October 28, 2011

We took our vows 23 years ago today....

Today Mike and I are married 23 years. I am having a tough day. Taking the past few weeks into consideration, I am having a terribly emotional day.

It's no doubt that I think back to exactly what we were doing 23 years ago today. Ironically, I remember being concerned that Mike wouldn't make it to the church on time because he was ALWAYS late. I had to count on his brothers and best man to get him there on time. On 10/28/88, it was about 65 degrees with a little bit of rain. I was upset that I couldn't take pictures of me and my bridesmaids outside in front of my favorite dogwood tree (the color at the time was amazing!). The photographer saw me staring out my front door and asked what was wrong, so I told him. I had forgotten all about that conversation for the bulk of the day until it came time for us to leave for church. As we were walking down our front walkway, the photographer stopped me so he could get a picture of me in front of the dogwood. I remember that when my brother-in-law did his reading at church, he would sniffle and his mustache would go up at an angle. When Mike and I lit our unity candle, he whispered "don't drip, don't drip" to me, but when it came out on our video, Mike sounded possessed. I remember crying so hard walking down the aisle with my dad I thought everyone would notice my quivering lip as I tried to hold in my tears. After giving me away, my dad stepped on my gown as he walked to the pew and as I turned toward Mike, my head wouldn't move.

Once at the venue I remember taking all those pictures. I even made our groomsmen take their shirts off for a funny picture (I know Mike's two brother were NOT happy, but Mike's friends were OK with it). We didn't have anything to eat for the cocktail hour, so we were starving when the reception came. Our first dace to "Follow You Follow Me" was very special and even now, when friends hear that song on the radio, they comment to me about it. It wasn't a "traditional" 1st dance song at the time. My niece got hit in the head with the microphone that they passed around the table for the video. My Aunt and Uncle (brother and sister) fought for the bouquet and garter (you heard me?!) We cut the cake and Mike was NOT nice. He gave a piece the size of the plate and I KNOW I was still chewing on it when they called me to do the dance with my dad. I didn't think I would ever make it through the dance - "Tangled Up Puppet" by Harry Chapin. At the end of the song, I don't know who was crying more, me or my dad. I wasn't even sure if my dad and I would do a special dance, since Mike didn't have his own mom to dance with (she had already been in a nursing home for 3 years by then). I didn't want Mike to feel bad, but true to his nature, he wouldn't NOT have me dance with my dad.

There are SO MANY more memories of that day, and the truth of the matter remains that Mike doesn't remember any of them. I woke up at 5:30 this morning and looked into Mike's vacant eyes and wished him a Happy Anniversary. It's our special day, but he will never remember.


Kathy Knowles said...

Karen, you are an amazing woman! I just read your last two posts, and I'm really in awe of all that you do on a daily basis. I know that God's hand is guiding yours, but I'm still impressed with your stamina. To work outside your home all day, come home to care for Mike the way you do has to take a toll on you physically and certainly emotionally. You had every reason to be emotional today. Special occasions and holidays are really rough. You were so right about Mike not remembering that it's your anniversary, and you remember even the smallest of details. Prayers and blessings for you, my friend.

Kathy Knowles said...

One more note to were a beautiful bride, and your wedding pictures are priceless!

Sheryl said...

Oh Karen, I love reading about your special day. How beautiful you all were and how so exciting it all sounded. I am truly sorry that your Mike wasn't able to celebrate like you would wish on your anniversary. Congratulations, for being together all these years. You are such a great role model for caregivers of any age, to be doing what you are doing for your husband and kids. I am thankful everyday that my mom stuck through it with my dad, and I know your children will be too.