Bailey was so proud when she presented the ring to me. I still remember her tiny, six-year-old hands holding that suede ring box. She was facing me, but her eyes were cut toward Brian, waiting for him to say the words, "Will you marry me?" Then, like she'd been rehearsing her entire life, she looked into my eyes, smiled the sweetest smile, and opened the ring box. What a cutie. We were all so happy!
Then Brian said that he had an entire ceremony planned for us on the beach at sunset - minister, photographer, dresses for me and Bailey, hair and makeup appointments at the Hilton spa, dinner reservations - the whole nine. Whoa, didn't see that one coming.
I don't mean to toot Brian's horn here, ladies, but BEEP FREAKIN' BEEP. My wedding is my favorite fairytale. Disney is thinking about picking it up.
Less than eight hours later, we had the most perfect, beautiful ceremony on the beach. If there was an award for the shortest engagement, Brian and I would be clearing a spot on the mantel now. We didn't waste any time on wedding showers, barbecues and bachelor parties, no sir. We got right down to being a family.
The three of us stood there, barefoot on the beach, and spoke vows straight from the heart. Later, Bailey said that some teenagers stopped to watch us, but I never saw them. It felt like the rest of the world completely disappeared, and for just a few moments, the entire Gulf Coast belonged to us.
The best part about this story is that the love and romance we feel for each other didn't reach its pinnacle during that perfect, beautiful ceremony. Nope, we were just getting started. He is so generous and kind, and takes such good care of me, Bailey, and Drew. Loving him is easy like Sunday morning.
So here's the thing about having a surprise wedding: everybody is surprised. This is a dramatic reenactment of the phone call between me and my Mom that day:
Hey, Mom! Yeah, we're having a great time at the beach.... I called to tell you something - w'ere engaged!
Yes, thank you! We're so excited! And... well, there's more. Brian has a little ceremony planned on the beach today. You know, we'll just get dressed up and take some pictures and stuff.
No, Mom, it's not... well, yeah, I guess it kind of is a wedding.
Awww! Don't cry, Mom! We can have another ceremony when we get back.
At 6 o'clock today. No, I don't think you could drive it in time.
You probably couldn't get a flight in time, either.
Awww! Don't cry, Mom!
Were you able to fill in the blanks on what my mom was saying on the other end? (Sorry, Mom.)
But getting married was so much fun, we decided to do it again! So we had a "re-wedding" at my parents' church a few months later for immediate family and close friends.
Complete with a reception back at our house. It was electric... boogie, woogie, woogie.
Six years ago, when Brian said, "For better or worse, in sickness and in health", he really meant it. During this past year, when I was facing cancer and thought I might lose my mind once or twice, he always found a way to calm me down, encourage my faith, and be my strength when I didn't have any. I think that's what it means to really love somebody - to be everything they need, exactly when they need it. And I'm so thankful that Brian is the person who chose to love me.
When God was handing out husbands, I won the Mega Millions!
This morning, I told our four-year-old son, Drew, that it was our wedding anniversary and showed him some pictures from the wedding. He seemed a little upset that Bailey got to be there and he didn't, so we might have to have a wedding reenactment tonight to celebrate. Maybe the third time is a charm?
Love is a beautiful thing. I can't wait to see where life takes us.