I’ve seen your “Fairytale” board. I know, it’s all there, perfectly arranged…the ring styles, proposal photo suggestions, save the dates, invitations, dress options, bridesmaid proposal ideas, bachelorette party activities, color schemes, seating charts, the reception attire, checklists, meals, memorabilia, and honey moons. Heck, I’m convinced every wedding will soon have its own custom trademark font. (If it already exists, I DON’T want to know). The energy that has been put into your event before it even begins, and sometimes before you’ve met Mr. Right, far exceeds what you exerted for the final research paper of your Senior year.
After living on God’s precious earth for 44 years, I can not with a clear conscience let you continue to “pin” your heart out without sharing what I’ve learned about love. You see, six years ago, I was a single Mom who’d pretty much decided that true love just wasn’t in the cards for me. I’d kissed a few frogs, and they somehow never turned into princes. So, I was happy to accept a life where I took care of myself and my daughter, without the weight of responsibility and work that seemed to be involved with any prospective partners.
Then, along came the nicest guy. He entered my life with such ease, allowing me to develop trust for him like I’d never known before. Always the gentleman, he wouldn’t even sit on the couch with me when he came over to watch a movie. I was dumbfounded. Did he not feel a spark…a connection? So, this continued for several months, and the friendship we developed was based on nothing but honesty, respect, and admiration for each other.
Once it became obvious that we were more than friends, every step of the relationship felt completely natural and as though it were meant to be. The way he loved not just me, but also my daughter, blew me away.
Six months after we started dating, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. He immediately decided to move in and take care of me as I underwent surgery to remove both of my breasts, which proved to be a much more challenging mental battle than physical. Next, he walked through the completely devastating side effects of 8 rounds of chemotherapy with me…the hair loss, the weight gain, the fears, the stomach issues, the aches and pains, the lack of energy and zest for life. Next came 7 weeks of radiation, and even more discomfort and fatigue, coupled with frustration and so many tears.
We were not even married. He could have walked away. But he stayed. A year after my diagnosis, while my hair was growing back in after chemo (not my most favorite look), with several pounds of chemo weight gain still hanging around, and a set of misshapen breasts, we headed to Vegas for a weekend wedding. I put on a fun rockabilly dress, ordered him a bowling-style shirt, and a poodle skirt for my girl, and in a one hour time slot, we became man & wife as Elvis sang us through our wedding dance.
Since that time, I’ve endured two more surgeries, including a hysterectomy and recently, breast reconstruction. During both of these experiences, he has proven to remain by my side through all of the ups and downs. He never left my side at the hospital, spending every night sleeping in my room. He’s been on the other side of the bathroom door while I struggle through the challenges of post-anesthesia “irregularity”. He’s emptied drain tubes, kept up with medicines, fed me, done the laundry, and made sure I have everything I needed to heal properly. I continue to be blown away by the selfless compassion and kindness shown to me by this man who has continued to express his growing love for me with each passing day.
There are no “pins” available for these things, which scares me a little for you young ladies. True love does not have a custom font, color scheme, or checklist. It is, however, there through the challenges and trials that are sure to come in this life. Making it through the “un-Pinterest-worthy” moments will be your proudest accomplishments, the things that cement your bond. So, while I hope that one day, your wedding is a very special and unforgettable celebration, my greatest wish is that you find an “un-pinnable” kind of love.