Last July, my entire family gathered for my oldest’s birthday. I had surgery three days earlier, and my number one concern was that someone pick up a birthday cake for him. He ended up with four cakes and party. I have an amazing family!
We were sitting around the table enjoying a birthday dinner. Everyone was there: my sister and my brother and their families, nieces and nephews, and my son’s girlfriend. (Everyone…except my sister who lives out of state.)
It was his first introduction to our family gatherings. I should have known something would happen.
As we enjoyed our dinner, a lively conversation ensued. You never know exactly where the conversation will go with my crazy family. Whether its stories of my Grandma and her modesty (or lack thereof) or stories of my Grandpa and his Viagra (don’t get me started) or stories of the crazy ideas my dad had for making money (I should tell you the phone book story). We seem to jump from story to story, reliving the highlights of our lives when we get together.
It’s always noisy. There’s always laughter. Sometimes there’s a very competitive game of kickball (until someone ends up in the emergency room). But it’s always fun.
On this particular occasion, there was a brief lull in the conversation. My daughter, who is not one to allow a moment of silence and always loves being in the spotlight, had a question.
Right there, at the dinner table, where we were all—including Roy—gathered around, she interjects a question.
“Hey, Uncle,” she says across the table to my brother, “what do you think about Roy?”
Yes, right in front of Roy, his first time gathered with the family, she asks my brother what he thinks.
Obviously, she was quite confident of the answer, but it never crossed her mind that it might be a rather awkward conversation to have in front of him.
As the sound of laughter rose from the table, growing ever louder, both Roy and my brother were caught off guard, neither quite sure how to respond to the question.
“Ummm,” my brother began, “the verdict is still out.”
His face more crimson than the Oklahoma Sooners jerseys, Roy simply asked, “Should I excuse myself from the table while you all discuss this?”
At least we didn’t hide who we are from him. He knew from the beginning what he was getting into.
And it’s become a very popular question to ask about all new girlfriends that come to the house for dinner!!
This last year has been an amazing journey of getting to know this man, a man I have known literally my entire life. My family has enjoyed watching him love me and my children so tenderly. They’ve been amazed at how he has stepped into my kids’ lives, loving and supporting them as if they were his own. They’ve watched as he patiently and tenderly nurtures his own disabled daughter, showing a strength few men could ever show.
And Sunday, the question was asked again.
“Hey, Uncle,” someone jokingly asked, “what do you think about Roy?”
“Until Saturday,” my brother said, “the jury can remain out. After Saturday, I guess I have to accept him as my brother.”
Truthfully, my brother has told me he wasn’t sure there would ever be a man good enough for me. But, he believes I have truly found one deserving of my hand in marriage.
And this Saturday, I will walk down the aisle and pledge my love to this man who has stolen my heart, who has become my best friend, who I know is madly in love with me.
We have decided to have a very simple ceremony with family only. Our children will stand with us as we blend two families into one, as we begin this journey of uniting our lives with God at the center.
I wish I could have every one of you present.
But since I can’t, I have this to offer:
Saturday morning at 10:00 am Central, we will be broadcasting our wedding over Facebook live. I know so many of you have walked this journey with me, as I’ve shared the heartaches and fears, the hurts and the tears. You’ve read my deepest thoughts as I’ve shared the struggles of loneliness and rejection. You’ve heard my words as I’ve clung to the hope I have in Christ, the encouragement I find in scripture.
And this day would not be complete without sharing it with you.
Saturday is the culmination of a journey, the final day of one season. It’s also the beginning of a new chapter, of a new story of learning to share my life with another. It’s the start of a new life, one filled with love and laughter and bending and blending.
It’s the start of a brand new life, a brand new adventure with Christ leading the way.
I don’t know where this path will lead, but I’m excited to be walking it with my best friend…and with all of you by my side.
I hope to see you Saturday morning!!