After much planning and preparation (and perspiration from thinking that we didn't do enough of the first two), Jess's and my wedding finally arrived on October 13, 2012. It was such a blessing to see people from both of our lives come out to bear witness to our union and a number of firsts: our first communion as a married couple; our first kiss; my first time dancing at all, much less with Jess; my first time lighting a candle with another candle; my first time dripping hot wax on my wife's hand; my first time trying to apologize profusely without anyone noticing while we were the center of attention, etc.
A lot can go wrong with a wedding, just as it can with the resulting marriage. There were plenty of opportunities to let variances from our own mental pictures of how things should be either upset us or roll off our backs.
My niece, Mikayla, was so looking forward to being our flower girl. I'm not sure if it was nerves or just a basic misunderstanding of what this role entailed, but she did not drop a single petal when she came walking down the aisle. Every few steps, she would give a troubled glance to the contents of her basket or let her hand stir its contents ever-so-gently, but not one was removed from its home. Once she reached the end of the aisle, though, she began happily tossing the basket's contents in every direction. Once it was empty, she looked intensely at the bottom and, seeming to not trust her own eyes, turned the basket upside-down for good measure.
Needless to say, this is not how a flower girl typically goes about her duties. The plan was for Mikayla to walk down the aisle, gently and gracefully dropping petals as a harbinger for her soon-to-be aunt. If she had done it this way, I would have been so incredibly proud of her, but her role would have been fulfilled and blurred into being just another part of the ceremony. Instead, I have this story to tell, this memory that will forever be ingrained in my mind of my precious four-year-old niece being herself while in the role of flower girl. I not only get to be proud, but I also get a sequence of moments that I will always treasure. I get this because things did not go according to plan.
Fairly early on in our relationship, Jess and I were going to a fundraiser in Maryville to which we had been invited by one of her coworkers. Neither of us was quite sure how to get to the location of the event, so we followed the directions and, at a certain point, simply had to continue to drive and look. The farther out we went, the more convinced we were that we might not even make it in time for the event, should we stumble upon it at all. But we came to the conclusion that it didn't matter: we may not find it, we may not make it in time, we may not enjoy it, we may come across a man named Cleetus that doesn't "take kindly" to us. What mattered was that we were together and, regardless of how the story would end, "it'll be an adventure."
The wedding, the reception, the flights to Japan, our actual time in Japan and now the flights back: all of it has kind of blurred together and occluded the very stunning realization that we have been married for nearly two weeks. As you will see if you decide to read the chronicles of our trip to Japan, very little went according to plan, but that's exactly why I have so much to write about. That's why we'll be recounting details of this trip for years to come.
It's been an adventure.