Six years ago, almost to the minute, I was preparing to walk down the aisle. My bouquet came out all wrong. I absolutely hated my hair. My hands were shaking.
“It’s OK, if you don’t want to do this,” my father whispered as he took my hand. “We won’t be mad at you. It’s just a wedding. We won’t be disappointed.”
His words were the words, I think, he wished someone had whispered to him as he prepared for his first wedding, long before he knew my mother. They were words I appreciated. Words that meant the world to me. The words I really needed to hear. Even though I was certain, beyond any doubt, that this was what I wanted. It was amazing to hear those words from my father in that moment. It made the decision my own. It gave me true ownership of one of the most important decisions I would ever make.
The music started, and he walked me down the aisle. When I saw Matt standing there, tears already in his eyes, I found it hard to contain my emotion. We had a very small wedding — not quite 2 dozen guests — and I don’t know that I could have handled much more than that.
I remember so little of the actual ceremony. My older brother took the video, and he still hasn’t sent it to me. (Which, dude! Get on it!) It was over so quickly, and there we were. Both of us only 21, and joined forever.
I don’t have very many pictures of that day. I’m not one for a lavish affair, so there was no hired photographer. Just family photos that we’ve pieced together over the years. I much prefer the pictures in my head. The feelings, more than anything, are what I want to remember.
I could not have known then, in those moments, what the next six years would hold. We have suffered tremendous lows and celebrated the highest highs. We’ve messed up — Oh, how we’ve messed up. But we have fought our way through, sometimes against each other and sometimes as a team. We are stronger today than we have ever been.
I love you, Matt. Thank you for this incredible life.