Planning the wedding happened really fast. He wanted to be married before we left for Texas, so everything was rushed. I took my tax return and bought a dress from an outlet online, ordered a cake from Walmart, I found my daughter a dress that looked like mine from JC Penny, and my boys both had suits because I was raised where you always needed to have a suit or a dress in the event of a funeral because when you lose someone the last thing you want to think about is having to shop for clothes to say goodbye in.
We met with the Chaplain who assured me once again I never had anything to worry about with my guy and we did a rush of premarital counseling. The counseling was actually a lot of fun. Most of it was playing games about communication and since we talked about everything this was easy for us. At the end we had to write on a note card what we wanted in ten years, we put them in an envelope to open after we had been married a day, a year, five years, or even the ten year mark. It was done so when we needed a reminder of the expectations we went in with they were there. I still have the notes today, trapped in a family bible given to us at our wedding.
Mine said: In ten years, I want you to love me more than you love me today. I want you to still be my best friend. I want our plans and dreams to both include each other. I want you to know that you are an amazing dad. In twenty years or fifty years, I want you the same as I want you today, I want to grow old with you and race wheelchairs at the old folks home with you.
His said: In ten years, I want to be retired, I want to be settled in Virginia, and I want you. Just as you are, just as I am, I want you. I want you to forgive me when I mess up, I want you to always be there with a smile when I come home. You are my love and in ten years I just want you and I want you to remember that I love you more.
Things continued to be rushed, we had to add deployment stripes to his uniform, we had to have conferences with my ex in public places to finagle a visitation agreement. We booked the church on base who only had an hour open at 10:30am because they had three funerals to follow. I didn’t complain, I would get up at whatever time needed to be able to say I do. We sent out invitations to only a few people who we knew could make it on such short notice. My guy got with the fire department that he volunteered for to participate, he wanted me brought in on the fire truck to him. My guy asked his bestie to be the best man, I asked his wife to be my made of honor. I took her dress shopping and found a beautiful satin wrap dress that would match me and my daughter. The wife of the best friend and the best friend were having serious marital problems. She believed he fathered a child while with her and he continued to lie to her about it. My guy had asked me while spending all this time with her to get the wedding together if I would try to smooth it over. Not sure what I was supposed to do, there were serious trust issues, but I listened to everything, I was a friend to her. When her man was at the fire department with mine, I would have my guy text photos of them together so she could be at ease for a little while. Fast forward – He is the father and they didn’t last – and this is what my guy would have to send to prove her man was with him.
Everything was happening so fast that it felt like a whirlwind. My guy and I hadn’t spent much time together like we used to because we were swamped with him working and my planning. I wanted him to have whatever wedding he dreamed of because my dream was simply him being there at the alter waiting for me. We were supposed to be this young couple in love, but we were the stressed couple trying to figure everything out in two weeks, but we did it. That was the best thing about him, how easily we could work together. The yin to my yang. The sprinkles to my ice cream.
Before I knew it the day before was upon us. I put on a dress and fixed my hair the way my husband liked. I nervously paced the house and went looking for this or that. My guy finally had enough of watching and called me to him as he sat in his recliner. He pulled me into his lap and held me. No words had to be spoken, he knew me as well as I knew myself. He knew I was stressing meeting his dad. The man who would be my father in law, the man who I still carried a chip on my shoulder about because he abandoned his son’s homecoming from war at the last minute with no real excuse as to why. My Myspace Mistake had been this person that I found in the dark, when I didn’t trust people, when I didn’t know how to be intimate, when I didn’t know if I would ever find someone for me. He was a glitch and somehow that simple error (at this moment) would be the best thing to ever happen to me.
His dad pulled up in the driveway as my guy kissed me slow and sweet. His hand was on my cheek and I reached up and held it there.
“What if he doesn’t like me?” I questioned.
“Then were doomed,” my guy joked.
“I’m serious,” I stated as the worry crept back up when I stood up and the contact was broken, but he didn’t answer. Instead, he took me by the hand and walked outside to greet his dad. Once outside he dropped my hand and went to talk to his dad. They spoke in the driveway for a bit and then he came up to meet me.
I nervously greeted him, but he quickly put me at ease. I could tell he was once a salesman because he had this way about him that to put frankly, I would have bought what he was selling. We got to know each other, me and his father had a love of photography in common and we both loved my guy.
The day went on without a problem arising, but there was something I carried with me the entire day. After meeting my future father in law there was a conversation in my driveway where he told his son it wasn’t too late, he didn’t have to marry me. He told him (paraphrased to keep it short) I could be his whore, but he didn’t have to legally bind himself to me. I wish I could write in here that he was just joking but he wasn’t.
A little background on his dad from what my Myspace Mistake had told me: His dad cheated on my guys mom, my future husband saw it and told his mom. This led to the fight where my guy claims he was stabbed, but his mom explained that he got cut, not stabbed, and it didn’t even need stitches. Anyway, his mom said nothing about the affair and filed for divorce. When they got to court she presented evidence of the affair. blindsiding his dad, and his dad had to pay alimony/support. My guy didn’t take it well and had to be institutionalized as a child while his dad continued doing whatever and whoever he wanted and his mom took his sister to live elsewhere. To date, the father has never remarried to my knowledge. My guy told me once that it was because his mom was the only wife his dad would ever have like some kind of sacred bond or something. Truth is, I think his dad just wanted freedom to put his pickle in any jar he wanted without worrying about having to pay a penalty when he stuck it in the wrong jar. He would also tell my future husband not to adopt my kids because he would be financially responsible for them, but this comes later… Money is a trigger with the men in this family. Material things are what matter to them.
I was truly hurt that after meeting me for a short amount of time his father was already trying to convince his son that I wasn’t worth marrying, but I didn’t want to upset anyone so I told my maid of honor, a couple friends, and no one else till the end of the night. We went to the church and did the run down of what would happen as the kids ran all over the church. Guys from the fire department had shown up to show their support and be goof balls. Then we headed to a place called Shoney’s to have the rehearsal dinner.
After dinner, my future hubby walked outside to his car where he vomited. This had become a common occurrence. I had begged him to go to the doctor, but he said it was nothing. Didn’t matter what he put in his stomach, it always came back up. I had mentioned it to friends and my mom, but no one seemed concerned other than me until his dad saw it that night. His dad thought he was sick and I caught him by the arm and told him it happened all the time. I expressed my fear and my willingness to do whatever it took to get him to the doctor. I asked his dad to talk to him, man to man, that maybe he could break through where I couldn’t. After all, I had just found him, I wasn’t ready to lose him. His dad and the best friend said they would take care of it.
Then I was scooted off to go stay the night at the best friends house while the men stayed at our house. We were being traditional so we didn’t do anything to jinx the day or the marriage. When we got to our separate locations my phone rang and when I answered it, it was a welcomed voice, his mom. She called to welcome me to the family officially. I almost cried when she said it because his father was here to tell him I wasn’t worth marrying, but his mom was across the U.S. telling me she couldn’t wait to have me as a daughter. We talked for a while and I asked about his sister. I knew my Myspace Mistake had mentioned they didn’t speak, but in my eyes family was the most important thing and I wanted to understand what happened. His mom told me to call her and talk to her about it, even gave me her number.
When I hung up with his mom I called my guy and told him this was weird, us being in separate houses. We had been living together and sleeping in the same bed every single night since he came home. This was my first night in months without him. He told me they were polishing boots and getting their uniforms ready, but he missed me. I told him about his mom welcoming me to the family and how it was the opposite of his dads reaction. He told me to ignore his dad, that he wanted to marry me and that was all that mattered. He told me he loved me more than he cared about his dads opinion and that I should remember it wasn’t his dads choice who he married or if he married. He told me that after all we had been through he wanted his last name to be mine. He wanted to share his life with me in every way.
After we hung up I felt a little better, but his dads words still stung. I dialed his sister, introduced myself, and immediately adored her. You wouldn’t know it from some of the disagreements we have had since, but when I first met her over the phone she was fun, energetic, she loved her brother, and we got along easily. I spent hours on the phone with her, she was so laid back that it made getting to know her enjoyable. I mentioned what her dad had said and she echoed her brother about their dads choices in life and told me not to worry about it. I mentioned the fact that my future husband and her weren’t speaking and neither she nor I knew what it was about. She didn’t even realize he wasn’t speaking to her, she thought he had just been busy since he got back from deployment. I promised her that when everything settled I would find out and we would fix whatever it was because she was going to be my sister too.
When I finally crawled onto the couch to sleep it was nearly 4am and we had to be up by 7am.
I swear it was like I closed my eyes only to reopen them seconds later and it was time to go get my hair done. Coffee was not strong enough on days like this, but as I chugged my heated liquid and forced myself into the car we went to get our hair done. I had wanted my hair to be down and curled, the way my future husband liked it, but with the veil I chose they gave me curls, but they put them on top of my head and bobby pinned it in place. When we left the salon it was time to go get the kids, but the rumbled of thunder caught my eye. There was a tiny little storm cloud, just one, blocking out the sun and making noise. Someone said, “it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day,” but there was no rain, and it disappeared as quickly as it came.
We climbed into the fire truck that took me to my exes house. We had to pick up the kids and I had some concern for my safety so the fire department and a few of their men were made aware and drove me over to his house. They climbed out of the truck, helped me out, and stayed on guard while I got my kids. My ex told me that my son’s new shoes didn’t fit so he put him in other shoes. It wouldn’t be until after the ceremony that I realized they were two sizes too small. His poor toes were curled under the entire time. Once we got the kids into the truck, we headed to the best friend and his wife’s house to put on my dress. The guys from the fire department took my babies to the church where my Myspace Mistake was waiting for them. Then I got dressed and I did my makeup. My husband to be didn’t want anything fancy, he wanted me to look like myself, so that’s what he got. I put on my make up like it was any other day, and by the time I was done the fire department was waiting outside to take me to my husband to be.
My kids walked down the aisle and did their part. My father, however, was incredibly shy and he didn’t come and walk me down the aisle. I wouldn’t understand why until after he passed away, but it was okay because my brother walked me down the aisle in his place. Lady in Red played as I took each step. The fire department guys thought it was funny to hold up a sign that said “Run” as I made my way to the love of my life. There we stood hand in hand at an alter and promised before God, our family, and friends that we would be good to each other, always. That I would be the only one for him, and he would be my one and only. We promised to be partners and love each other for the rest of our life. For better or worse… I would keep every vow I made to him, but he would break every single vow he made to me.