Today is October 13th.
In 2000 it was an 85-degree Friday with a full moon. It was my wedding day. I had a 13-week-old Gracie in my belly and 36 cross-country runners as my bridesmaids. I had never been so happy. Kenny’s sister Bobbie stayed with us. She heard us talking and laughing in the shower as we planned our day. She loved that we were such good friends. After a failed first marriage and a lifetime of ups and downs I thought I had finally found what I was looking for.
A normal happy life.
And I had it, for nine years. I was happy. I had Gracie and then Molly. I loved my job at Walker School. I had a beautiful house. My mother was my childcare. It all seemed perfect. Kenny and I had a rough start but were able to work through it.
But life can throw curve balls.
In the 22 years Kenny and I have lived here in our white picket fence house we have seen it all. The details of our ups and downs are not meant for this blog post. I am just remembering so much about this day.
Friday the 13th with a full moon. Summer like weather. An athletic director who dismissed my XC team at 1:00 as if it was a race day so they could get their training in before the big event. I, of course had been up for hours by the time I arrived at Concord High. I was wearing a button-down plaid shirt of Kenny’s as my hair was already in a very bride style updo. I sent them on their run.
That day’s easy effort ended at Eagle Square in downtown Concord.
The wedding was in an atrium created by attaching two buildings with a glass ceiling and creating a two-level space. My 36 runners arrived and strung lights, unfolded chairs, attached balloons to railings and created goldfish bowl center pieces. Then they ran home to get ready.
Kenny and I had started our day with a run. On our way up Forest Street hill we saw Eric, my first husband. Always a good sport he yelled out of his truck “aren’t you two supposed to be getting married today”? We all laughed.
I had my hair done by a local stylist named Sybil. Sixteen years later she would style my hair for Molly’s Memorial Service. I got a terrible migraine. I nervously took Tylenol and drank a diet coke. I almost chose a caffeine free one but that would not have helped.
Kenny went to the airport to get his parents. He drove my spray-painted Subaru. His dad got a big kick out of that car! We parked it on Main Street when we drove to the ceremony. The girls attached tin cans and shaving cream decorations!
Kim, Kenny’s front office person, came by and did Reiki on me. Mt head ache disappeared! Kenny’s back had been extremely sore, she fixed that too. It was all hustle bustle! Papa Gordy forgot his white dress shirt so off to JC Penney’s they went. Bobbie tended to her mother and all was smooth!
Kenny’s children, Caity in her dress, Davey, and Kenny Jr. in their tuxedos, arrived shortly before the ceremony. We took pictures in the yard, beneath a tree that we will cut down this year. That tree has lived its life. It has given us color in the fall, a place for lights in the winter, and shade in spring and summer.
Just before we left, Jack Fraser arrived and we did the White’s Park tradition of a shot of “The Rumple”.
We were not actually at the park, but the spirit remained true. It was time to go.
My niece Kelsey was the flower girl. She led us in to the music of a string trio. Three of my runners played Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Kenny and I walked in together. I will always remember how excited I was. We parked the car and as we crossed Main Street horns were blown and shouts of congratulations filled the air.
Walking down the brick pathway to Eagle Square, and seeing the fountain and the brightly lit atrium filled with people put my heart in my throat. The time had arrived. I was marrying Kenny.
The wedding was a blast!
Members of the cross-country team sang an acapella version of “The Rose” standing on a stairway. They had wanted to surprise me but we had a wedding program to create. Something needed to be there. The DJ was hilarious. The dance floor was filled all night! The music a perfect blend of contemporary and oldies!
My Aunt Michelle sat with Babe and Gordy. An articulate woman with a great sense of humor Gordy loved her right away. The next day he asked about her. When I told him she was in between a stay in jail and a stint in rehab he was stunned. Aunt Michelle has had a life time of addiction struggles but that night she was perfect!
When it was all done, the food eaten, the cake cut, the atrium cleaned up we went home. Bobby, Kenny and I sat for a bit and took it all in. Shared out favorite parts of the night. Planned the rest of the weekend. They would all stay until Sunday.
Saturday morning, I ran the Alumni Race in white shorts and tank top with my veil attached to my now slept in hairdo. Papa Gordy cheered the loudest. I was whispering to someone about being pregnant and one of my runners named Donna overheard. She never said anything until I made it public. That must have been really hard for her.
She was one of the girls who planned and gave us a wedding shower and then months later a baby shower for Gracie. She was a high maintenance gem of a high school girl. I love her! I was lucky that year. A team full of stellar young ladies. Ember Smith (now Stokes) was my ring bearer. Molly, Courtney and Allison played the strings. Stephanie hosted the wedding shower and Lisa and Rosie hosted the baby shower.
So, twenty-two years later my life has not played out at all the way I thought it would. Some of this reality falls on my choices, some on Kenny’s choices, but much falls on the actions of a small group of others. The kind of folks who feel no remorse at using others to get what they need.
That story is not for this blog.
On this day I will reflect on how good things were for 6 years with the birth of two children and jobs we loved. I will reflect on how they got tough for 4 years after I responded to a note in Gracie’s backpack and invited an unstable “friend” into our family. I will reflect on how they fell apart for 5 years after my decision to help someone cost me my job, several friendships and any self-worth I had. I will reflect on how how they were decimated 16 years in when Molly died and the 6 years we have co-existed in a reality that can cloud even the brightest days since.
So today is the 22nd anniversary of my wedding to Kenny. We were only actually legally married for 14 of those years, but again that is not a story for today. We have Gracie and baby Jack living now. We miss baby Gordy and Molly every minute of every day. I have often felt that our full moon Friday the 13th wedding was a lucky day, and perhaps it was.
I look at luck through very different lenses now.
Happy Anniversary Kenny.