Today I celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary! Unbelievable! Unimaginable! Extraordinary!
A little over thirty years ago, at the age of nineteen, I walked into a relative’s house to attend a family gathering and met the love of my life. One month later, I was engaged and five months after, I was walking down the aisle.
I didn’t care that my beloved was ten years older than me.
I didn’t care that neither of us had a job.
I didn’t care that we didn’t have a place to live or a means of supporting ourselves.
I just wanted him.
When my mother, sister, aunts, and friends tried to get me to plan the wedding, I said, “I don’t care. Do whatever you want. Invite whomever you want. Choose the colors, the flowers, the cake. I don’t care. I just want him”
When my family and friends planned a full day of wedding dress shopping, I walked into the first store, tried on the first dress I saw on sale, and said, “I’ll take this one.” I caused an uproar. I ruined all their plans for the day. My mother was beside herself. Still, I looked into her eyes, held her hands and said, “Mama, you still don’t understand. All this is unnecessary. It doesn’t matter what I wear, where the wedding is, or who attends. If he is there, I’ll be there because I don’t care. I only want him.”
And so the day came. The limo came to a stop outside the church and my father helped me out of the car. He stopped us outside the church doors and turned to me. “I love you,” he said. “I only want your happiness. I don’t care about anything. We can get back into that limo and drive away. You don’t have to do this. I don’t care about the expense or what people will say. None of that is important. Your future, your happiness are the only things that concern me. Are you sure you are ready?”
I gazed at my father’s face, so filled with love and outright fear for his baby girl. His soft brown eyes were brimming with tears as he begged me to think, to reconsider. I turned into him, embraced him in my arms, and whispered into his ears, “I love you daddy. No one will ever take your place in my heart. I may not know what I’m doing, may not have thought the future out, but my heart is certain. My heart knows the path to a life overflowing with joy and beauty. I don’t care what life will bring, where it will lead us. He’s it. If he is there with me, beside me, I can go anywhere and do anything. I don’t care. I only want him.”
And so we were married in front 500 of my family and my parent’s closest friends, on a sweltering July day, in a church in Colleyville, Texas.
Some may say marrying a man from a different country who didn’t have a visa, didn’t have a job, and didn’t have any money is the most foolish thing they could possibly think of. But I’ll tell you something—that decision was the BEST decision, the only decision I could have made. I have lived a life filled with beauty.
Sure, there have been challenges. There have been times where I wanted to take a frying pan to his head and then to mine, but then comes…beauty, grace, understanding, compassion, forgiveness, and love.
Together my beloved, the love of my life, my heart and soul…and I have created two beautiful daughters. We have lived in seven states and visited many, many more in good times and bad. We have weathered illness, deaths, births, tragedy…the list goes on. Here is what I can say, “I don’t care. I still only want him.”
So, here’s to you my love. I have lived every love story ever written in your loving arms. My cup runneth over and I thank God for you every second of every day. Happy thirtieth, baby!