WARNING: Emotional sappy post ahead.
A year ago today, I was a nervous wreck.
As of writing this, the time is almost 1:30pm Central Daylight Time. On April 28, 2012, I was in a room in a small church I’d only visited a handful of times, packed into a wedding dress, thick hair piled into an up-do, and listening to my maid of honor sing Man Up! from the hit Broadway show Book of Mormon to pump me up and fight my stage fright. The ceremony started at two o’clock.
This past year has been amazing for any number of reasons, but everything seemed to spiral toward a special kind of awesome starting that day. I was never the kind of girl who fantasized about her dream wedding. There were only a couple things I said I wanted for my wedding day, but these were things I had likewise supposed would never happen.
I’m a realist in so many ways. I knew growing up that becoming exactly what I wanted to be as a child was far-fetched at best. I thought my standards were unrealistic, and perhaps I made them such to do as much as I could to avoid getting hurt. In many ways, I could commiserate with Sandra Bullock’s character in Practical Magic—concocting the perfect spell for a dream man who couldn’t possibly exist (and therefore couldn’t possibly hurt me), only I had no magic, just my own personal way of keeping people at a distance.
I was ready to meet Aaron when I did, and every time I showed him a part of myself that I thought was a deal-breaker, he insisted on getting that much closer. We were both nervous and horribly inept at dating, and for as much as I was a coward in personal relationships, I was also a hopeless romantic. I’m a romance editor and author—I live, eat, drink, breathe this stuff every day. I knew what I wanted was impossible, yet Aaron was hell-bent on showing me otherwise. And while our love story isn’t something I think could be written into a marketable book, it was perfectly us.
Before I knew Aaron, I honestly didn’t think I’d get married. I didn’t think I could get close enough to someone to want that. I’d speak flippantly about my theoretical wedding day and the sort of kickass party I’d throw, but nothing was concrete. There were only two things I knew for certain I wanted if it ever happened. One: I wanted my grandfather to perform the ceremony. He’s a Church of Christ minister, incredibly fundamentalist, and even though I am not religious in any sense, I wanted him to officiate because my grandfather is one of the two best men I know. He and my grandmother were there for my brother and me during the dark times of our childhood. He has been more of my father than my real father could ever hope to be. I wanted him to be a part of it.
The second thing? I wanted my brother to give me away.
I have a complicated relationship with my father. He’s not a bad guy, but he’s not been a father in the strictest sense, more like a fun uncle I see a couple times a year. Those father/daughter moments that make up the traditional idea of a wedding wouldn’t work; I couldn’t see him giving me away, because he was never around in the first place. So, from the time I was in high school, I had decided if I ever got married, I wanted my brother to fill that role.
And that was it. My dream wedding. Marry my best friend, grandfather leading the ceremony, my brother walking me down the aisle.
A year ago today, that actually happened. And I was nervous as all get out. At least my nervousness gave me a great story to tell…to Josh Gad from the Book of Mormon cast. Aaron and I went to NYC for our honeymoon and actually got to see the play with the original cast. Afterward, while we piled outside to get the casts’ autographs, I told the original singer of Man Up! my wedding story. Well, that part. It was a living fairytale.
A few weeks ago, Aaron and I started talking about potentially buying (or building) a house. This will be down the line, of course. Probably after we have the car paid off, or at the very least have a bit more set aside. It occurred to me, describing to him what sort of house I’d want (antebellum architecture), that nearly everything I wanted as a child—even the impossible things—had occurred. I’d published books, married my best friend, had the wedding I wanted, and had landed my dream job as an editor for Samhain Publishing. If I actually get the house I’ve wanted since childhood…well, let’s just say no one ever gets to pinch me.
Life isn’t like fiction. These impossible things that became possible for me didn’t happen the way they would in a story. But sometimes life imitates fiction. I won’t say everything has been easy, because it’s easy for me romanticize the path that brought me here today of all days. There were obstacles to cross. Fights to get through. Habits to kick. Patterns to make and break. Yet I am so grateful for everyone who made the last year possible: my mother, my brother, my grandfather, my hetero-lifemate Kimmie, everyone at Samhain, my authors, and of course my husband. He’s been a hell of a cheerleader from the beginning, continually embodying my construct of a perfect romance hero.
Thank you, Aaron, and happy anniversary. I love you.