The Story of Us and a 9/11 Tribute, Re-visted.

Ten years ago today I married my best friend.  Cliche, right?  No, but seriously, he really is my best friend.  I still get excited when I hear his car in the driveway.  We still lay awake late in bed talking every single night. He gives me fashion advice.  I lift weights with him.  Actually he pushes me really hard, and I get annoyed. He is such a slave driver.  But I push him really hard when it comes to putting that dang toilet lid down. Pushing is good.  The toilet lid is always down and I am built like a brickhouse.  Well part of that is true, no thanks to Casey’s Pizza & Cookies and Quick Trip’s everything. (I have a weird obsession of gas station food, like I even rate them on a scale.  Someday, I will tell you how he spoiled me with Quick Trip and Fake Journey for one of our anniversaries.)

Anyways. . . .
The wedding was perfect.  He wanted to wear a kilt and go commando due to sliver of Scottish heritage.  He thought it was his right and duty.  But, that would have been way too much attention off the bride, so I said absolutely not.  He wanted to wear orange flame shoes.  I said absolutely not, but secretly that’s partly the reason I had orange gerber daisies (remember these) and tangerine bridesmaid dresses with rhinestone belts (and the rhinestone “stripper” heels that my maids are STILL whining about).  And yes, I walked down the aisle a nervous wreck (not about marrying him, but about the ceremony being perfect and nobody screwing up).  When I got to the front and saw the orange flame shoes, that was just what I needed.  We laughed until our shoulders shook.  After reading our own written vows and a 27 minute prayer by my beloved papa, we were announced man and wife.  We were led out by my surprise to him and a compromise on the whole scottish thing:  A bagpiper dressed in full Scottish garb.  No, I do not know nor did I ask if he went commando.  Secretly, I hope he did because it makes me giggle.
We partied until midnight in retro style. .  . arriving through the garage of the reception in my papa’s custom pink convertible with the leftover olive green velvet interior (well not really velvet, but you remember that stuff from back then) – an afro wig for Lance and disco ball earrings for me.  Our dj did not disappoint when he wore the 3 piece lime leisure suit, a giant afro and sunglasses that we laid out for him and HIGHLY “suggested” he wear.  Mr. Dj rocked us out out by following a carefully constructed list of amazing retro songs, like the Bee Gees, The Commodores, old MJ, Donna Summer, Chaka Khan, The Ohio Players and more.  He also did a good job keeping handy a list nearby entitled “Do Not Play because the Bride Says.”  This list was made up of mostly those overplayed retro songs, such as Hey Mickey (GAG-A-MAGOT).  The guests were seated in a tie-dyed decor with 60s, 70s and 80s posters adorning the walls, disco balls and Rubik Cubes hanging from the ceilings, big clunky vintage ashtrays complete with candy cigarettes and chex mix as centerpieces.  We gifted all guests with chariactures of their faces drawn on 8×10s of the bodies from Saturday Night Fever.  Good times.  Some day we will use a vow renewal ceremony for an excuse to revisit this party.
When we pulled up to our honeymoon resort in the Caribbean, and I saw the bright colors, I immediately felt at home. I hate white, I hate formal, I hate stiff, I hate taupe.  You know what I really hate?  White and taupe together.  No offense Gap lovers.  The very first morning of our honeymoon, Lance was out on the balcony while I vegged in front of the tube. The first thing I saw was the Twin Towers being hit.  I did not understand. How could this be going on and I not know?  I needed to be in MY country.  MY country needed me.  After some time of processing, we decided to do the only thing we could do:  we switched off the TV and stopped talking about it.  We enjoyed our honeymoon.  We would mourn and process and heal when we got home.
We had an amazing time.  We had the beach to ourselves, literally.  Off season is amazing.  So I went nude. No, I did not, but you better not be falling asleep while reading my story.  I did wear a thong as I was in my 20s and had no babies.  And I did drink fruity little drinks with umbrellas in them.  And we did get all dressed up to check out the hottest club in town.  There were five people there.  Dang off season.  As much as I enjoy clubbing with my husband, it’s not a party until you’re bumping bums with 70 people on the dance floor while poking random peoples’ eyes out with your elbows, so we left.  We asked our crazy taxi driver to take us to a “local joint,” to which he gave us a what I know now to be an evil grin as he took off at 98 mph.  We ate in a refurbished airplane (probably shot down by gangsters) down a quiet, pretty country road.  We were not welcome.  That’s probably why it was on an abandoned, I mean quiet, pretty country road.  But, the steaks and band were good enough to stay!  I wish I could say that – by the end of our time there – we were breaking out in dance with the locals and doing shots – but I can’t.  The movies lie, they lie I tell ya.
After being stranded two more days at the beach due to 9/11, we made it to a really cool place, like Rio or somewhere, I can’t remember.  I have no sense of direction.  (Like for real, like I had to call my papa once to figure out how to get out of the airport, I kept driving in circles.  But first, I had to figure out how to find a phone b/c well, it was the early 90s, there were no cell phones.  It was a long night.). What was I talking about????  Oh yes Rio, or somewhere cool.  We had a two hour layover – not enough time to check out the city.  Then the layover was extended an hour – still not enough time because the extension began when the last one ended. Then it was extended another hour, but not until the last one ended.  Are you seeing a pattern?  Yes, we spent an ENTIRE day in Rio. . . . . in the airport.
When we arrived home, America was starting to move forward.  We were way behind.  I spent hours behind my desk secretly listening to the news, being pissed off when a client walked in and interupted my “catching up with America” time.  How dare they come in?  Don’t they know I wasn’t here?  I had to restrain myself from pointing out to anyone and everyone each time I saw a flag flying from a vehicle.  I kept forgetting they were “over it.”  I was in awe.  And 10 years later, I’m still in awe and teary when I think of the way America pulled together, looking toward each other and up.  While saddened and sickened by the 9/11 tragedy, I will never forget that feeling of being American in the aftermath.  God bless and give peace to all those that suffered. May we never forget; may we stay in awe.
So, 10 years later, our marriage has endured and strengthened through everything we have experienced:
• Two college degrees gained by sweat and tears, lives on monthly. . .  thanks to student loans.
• Two beautiful, amazing, brilliant, kind, hilarious little blondes that daily reminds us why our marriage must remain strong.
• Two careers that we absolutely adore, that we appreciate so much, that completely engage and fulfill us as contributors to this community, this life.
• Two best friends and lovers for life, the way it’s supposed to be, so thankful.
• Two people that love God more than anything and realize that without Him, this story would not even be.
My beautiful and amazing husband celebrated our ten years last night with a surprise.  After arranging for a sitter (this is a big one guys, do it sometime), he sent a messenger to the studio with two sealed envelopes. Inside was a hand-written note that simply instructed me to go to a specific file on my computer.  What the heck?  It was a homemade video of my darling husband, remembering all that we have done over the last ten years.  He proceeded to tell me exactly how wonderful, beautiful and smart I am (another big one).  He summarized by renewing his vows to me and recommitting his love, faithfulness, strength, protection and life to me.  The second sealed envelope instructed me to go home and get “dressed up sexy” as my date would be picking me up soon.  So excited!!!!  I found a fabulous new outfit laid out and my date arrived one hour later with a handful of fresh, orange gerber daisies.   I was whisked to one of our favorite restaurants, The Jazz, to eat cajun food and listen to live music.  On our way home late last night, I told my husband how perfect the evening was.  ”The time you took to put this together and share your feelings is better than any piece of jewelry could ever be.  This is all I wish for,” I exclaimed.
This morning, the day of our actual anniversary, I came to work to find a tiny perfectly wrapped gift box with a perfect little bright green sheer bow.  It was so pretty, I didn’t want to open it.  But, I did.  Exquisite triangle diamond earrings.  Perfect.  I love you Lance Harvey and the man you were, the man you are and the man you are becoming.  Forever.

TODAY is my 16 year anniversary.  I still feel the same:  lucky, blessed and excited!!!  Happy Anniversary Babe!  But, don’t buy me any jewelry, we have two mortgages!  (subliminal buy my house message to any reader inserted here.  No seriously.  Zillow.  1315 Jackson, Chillicothe, MO.  Look it up.  I have no shame.)



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