This is a very short story about my wedding dress.
Nineteen years ago today, I wore a simple sparkling crown and an ivory off-the-shoulder gown. As my ballet slippered feet walked up the aisle, I had absolutely no jitters or what-ifs. Even at age 19, I knew - confidently knew - that this boy was exactly who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. The formalities of the wedding itself - cakes and corsages and candles - meant very little to me. But oh to be his! To wake up to his smile, to walk in cadence, to wander this wide world together. That was the real magic.
Fast forward to 2011 and we decided to sell or give away almost everything we owned. We set out on a yearlong RV trip around the USA with our two little girls, volunteering along the way. An epic trip! A whirlwind of activity! We doled out steaming soup in kitchens, prayed with homeless men & women on the brink of despair, helped build houses, held frail hands. Before we left, amidst the frenzy of preparation, my wedding dress was given away. At the time, it seemed inconsequential. I have never been overly sentimental and have always valued people more than things, craving simplicity, delighting in white space.
Today, however, I feel a bit of whimsy and nostalgia. I wonder if my dress might be out there somewhere - hanging quietly in a secondhand store or at the very back of a musty closet. Wouldn’t it be an impossible wonder to wear the dress on our 20th anniversary (next year - 2022!) and to see my daughters dress up in the gown, their eyes and smiles alight?
All of this brings me to a plea. Would you help me find the dress? As you browse thrift shops and wait in lines at estate sales, will you let me know if you notice something familiar? I know it’s a shot in the dark, almost silly to think that the dress might be shimmering shyly on a hanger, waiting to be worn again. But perhaps...
Regardless of the outcome of this search, I want to whisper to all of the romantics that true love really does exist. What a gift it is to marry someone who is your puzzle piece, your sunshine on a winter day. I have loved Tim with every breath. He is in my bones, my blood - part of the very essence of me. One look across the room and I am seventeen again. He’s walking me to his 4Runner. We’re laughing and I’m wearing his sweatshirt. I reach out playfully to take his keys. He looks fixedly at me with piercing green eyes, whispers resolutely, “stealing my keys, stealing my heart.” The whole world is a blur, just he and I.
Don’t be deceived, dear readers. Love is not fingertips sparking or the heady scent of a boy’s sweatshirt. It’s selflessness, service, sacrifice - but also togetherness, through thick and thin - putting our shoulders together to protect each other from the cold drafts of this weary world. There’s nowhere that I’d rather be than right by his side. Nineteen years and I am definitely counting, savoring every single one.
Forgive the pre-digital photos.
“Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; Perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; Perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhthym and the music; Perhaps…perhaps…love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.” -L.M. Montgomery