That day we were surrounded by our children - Justin, Brittany, Travis, Taylor and Megan- who were dressed in our colors of blue and white western w and stood with us as we vowed before God, our family and friends to join our lives together in marriage. The faint sound of doves can be heard on our wedding video as they were caged in the arbor just out of sight. I still count it as one of the most exciting and blessed days of my life.
Back then, I hoped we had what it would take to stand the test of time, but I really didn't know. I was hopelessly romantic. Couple that with a tattered, torn and broken heart and life and I just felt lucky to be there. Like I was living a dream. And, I was. The fairy tale I had dreamed of my whole life. Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome with his hat, his boots and his Wranglers ride in to rescue me and take me off into happily ever after.
If someone would have told me then what happily ever would have looked like I might have run for the hills... But, as I said, I'm hopeless in the lofty dreams of fairy tale endings. My friend, Cheryl took me to my mother's home and we visited her hairdresser where we laughed and talked and I felt the first jangles of nerves dancing around inside of me. When she spun me around and I saw the exact hairstyle I had selected from the magazine I knew it was going to be the perfect day.
Once we arrived back at my parent's home, Momma took me downstairs and opened up her small cased of precious jewelry. She handed me a pearl necklace and a pearl earrings before slipping off the first wedding ring my father gave her for me to wear on my right hand. I gathered up the other miscellaneous things, kissed my family goodbye and ran off to the bed and breakfast to decorate, to bathe, to try to relax and to wait.
The afternoon began to wane as we finished afixing the simple bows and swags of blue and white roses to the arbor and the railings in the back yard. It was, after all, August in Texas and the sweltering heat was at an all time high. Cheryl hussled me into the suite where we assembled our baby girls with coloring books and crayons while their hair dried on the sponge rollers I'd placed in them earlier that day.
Cheryl finally talked me into soaking in the bathtub and letting her take care of the last few details for the day. I remember laying back in that warm, sudsy water and thinking it was absolutely too good of a day to be true. It may not sound like much to you, but for me it was a day I had dreamed of all my life. I was marrying a man that I loved with my whole heart, a man who helped me to feel safe and beautiful - a man to share my life, my dreams and even my sorrows with. A man who would love me in spite of me. And at that moment I realized I was only hours away from marrying Scott Edward Bentham and pledging my life to him. Sweet tears of joy fell in those moments of quiet realization.
I sat there for a long while before getting out and beginning to dress for the ceremony. I pulled out the dress I had hidden away under a garbage bag. It was a light linen sundress that I (and now this is telling) had picked up off the clearance rack at Wal-Mart for $15.00. It was not a high-end bridal gown, but a simple reflection of the life I wanted to live. The dress made me feel beautiful, and that is all I wanted to be. Beautiful before my groom. I allowed the whispy fabric to caress my fingers before turning to the vanity and applying my make-up. The finishing touches were in place when I heard a car door shut in the drive outside.
My heart began to beat with anticipation as I heard the voices of men echoing on the hot summer breeze. I climbed up and poised myself to spy a quick glance through the window set high in the wall. And that is when it happened... He walked by. My head felt light and my heart danced in my chest. I couldn't even breathe I was so captivated. I whispered, "Soon... Baby... Soon." And felt the warm tears of joy begin to course down my cheeks once again.
It was within an hour that people began to arrive and filter into the back yard where they took their seats and awaited our arrival. My babies and my best friend from Dallas, Brenda, preceded me down the aisle and I walked on the arm of my father to where Scott waited for me on the lawn. The Justice of the Peace asked, "Who gives this woman to marry this man?"
And my father's voice broke as he said, "Her children, her mother and I do."
1 Corinthians 13 was read and a simple ceremony observed before the words, "I now pronounce you man and wife, you may kiss your bride," were spoken. And that was it... I was now and evermore would be Mrs. Scott Edward Bentham. At around 7:30 PM we were married. And lauded with the cheers and applause of our family and friends.
Later, my cousin who was also divorced whispered in my ear - you give me hope for myself. I also saw my dad walk up and put an arm around Scott's neck and welcome him as a son. My joy was truly complete that day. Our reception was full of laughter and sweet moments of mingling with family and friends. I would often find myself separated from him, but a quick glance across the room made me smile. At the end of the night, Cheryl put on a sweet song about a man and his wife and how beautiful she was in his eyes. Everyone backed up against the walls and Scott and I danced there under the ceiling fan on the hardwood floors our first dance as husband and wife.
I treasure the memories of that day. The day a little girl's dream became true. I had married my prince, even if sometimes he seems like a toad, and we have truly found a place where we are more happily ever after than not. I love you, my sweet man. Happy Anniversary Scott... I'd choose you again. I love you.