I have a poor memory. I cannot recall memories the way others can. I remember things through pictures and I remember feelings, but I don't remember events well. I think it is strange because my mom has amazing recall on so many things. I wish I had her talent because I remember very little from my youth -even the last nine years, with so many things I want t remember, I don't.
I remember only one thing vividly about our wedding day. Well, I guess not just one thing, but this memory has come to be significant.
A little back story first:
When Erik and I were dating, it was such a whirlwind romance that we would often just stop and say to each other, "What were you doing last year at this time?" We met November 17, 2000, were "pre-engaged" in February 2001,(you can read the story of our pre-engagement here) engaged June 2001 and married December 29, 2001.
Earlier in the day, I had given a grooms gift to my soon to be brother in law to give to Erik. It was a pocket watch and I included a card saying, "What were you doing last year at this time?"
We had an early evening wedding - 4:00 p.m. I really don't remember much about the day other than my girlfriend and sorority sister, Irene, had to wake me up on my wedding day. I remember her shaking me, "Wake up! You're getting married!" Irene was my Matron of Honor.
I remember just before walking down the aisle, I was left all alone in the hallway adjacent to the church entrance. It was the first time in days I had been completely alone. I hadn't been emotional at all - I was too happy to cry! But as I stood there alone and waited, I started to get a little overwhelmed, and just as the tears started to come, my dad peeked around the corner and put his left arm up as if checking his watch and then tapped it as if to say, "Come on! You're going to be late." That made me laugh and he extended his arm and we headed to the doors of the church for him to walk me down the aisle.
I remember that Erik managed to put my ring on the correct hand. And I put mine on his RIGHT hand. Then throughout the unity candle lighting and song, we laughed and laughed because we couldn't get the ring off his right hand and on his left hand. We joked that we weren't officially married because of that!
I remember being moved by the message Erik's mentor, Jim Cossin, gave. I remember him saying something along the lines of us being a good match - you could see that I was calm and collected and that Erik couldn't stand still. Which he couldn't - he was a nervous nellie standing up there shifting back and forth and twitching. It was so beautiful to have someone who knew Erik so well from his youth speak about his growth into a man. It was such a great honor to have Jim part of our ceremony.
I don't remember this moment, but I LOVE the way the photo shows off the detail of my wedding gown!
Our wedding party
My Maid of Honor and childhood best friend, Keely.
We're wed! Leaving the church. Everyone was supposed to light their sparklers but I think they were so short, they burned too fast!
Entering our reception.
Cutting the cake.
As much of an eyesore as it is, I'm so grateful this clock was in the picture. I now know forever that at 8:27 on Saturday, December 29, 2001, we were cutting our cake and feeding each other.
The groomsmen dressed up for YMCA.
The last photo we would have with my Grammie.
Almost all of our guests!
My first boys giving a kiss to their old, "Miss Jen." The boy on the left is a sophomore at CMU. The boy on the right is a senior in High School. I met them when they were about 2 and 4 years old.
Anyway, the whole point of this story is that I vividly remember being pronounced man and wife and walking out of the church. As we did, I happened to look up at the clock in the church and the clock said 4:34. After so many months of planning, and so much time waiting, our actual marriage ceremony only took 34 minutes! It didn't feel like it had happened so fast, but there it was, proof that it only took 34 minutes to make it official.
I think of that often as the days, weeks, months and years pass. I look at my little family and reminisce about how fast these past nine years have gone - and get scared about how fast the next nine years are going to go. I wonder if Erik and I will be sitting in rocking chairs in our front porch (in my future, I imagine we have actually completed the exterior of our house and we do finally put on a front porch) and saying, "What were we doing 20, 30, 50 years ago at this time?" And we'll remember how we were afraid Walker would have malformed feet because he would kick his heels on the floor so hard anytime he laid on his back. We'll remember how Maggie bossed her brothers around from the minute she could speak. How we thought Will was going to get us arrested for child abuse because every time we turned around he was running into chairs, doors, walls, trees - and we'll remember how pleasant Whit was as a baby. How the only time he ever cried was when he was tired or hungry.
And we'll remember the love. We have all of these memories and so many more to come, all because two people fell in love.