Twenty years ago on January 26th, my husband Mike and I were married at the Towson courthouse in Maryland. It was supposed to take place the previous week but a blizzard hit (much like it did this year), and we had to delay our plans. It was a small ceremony with only our parents attending. The bare-bones ceremony would never grace the pages of Bride’s magazine. I couldn’t even find a dress that didn’t break my $50 budget so I wore an ankle-length, rayon dress I’d bought at Express on sale a few years prior.
We held our six-person reception at TGI Friday’s near the courthouse, because his father was a witness to a car accident and the case was being tried that day and he needed to return for the trial. At the East Baltimore Guide newspaper, where I worked as their ad designer, a co-worker made us a wedding cake because I forgot that we needed one. She wanted to ensure we had a topper to eat for good luck a year later. Mike’s mom had saved money to help pay for the wedding. Since we had a budget-friendly, courthouse ceremony, we used the money toward our honeymoon in Disney World—a goal of mine since I was a kid. (My single mom couldn’t afford to take me to Disney, so she suggested that I go there on my honeymoon. When I get an idea stuck in my head … well, just ask my husband. 😉 )
I never thought I would get married—hence the lack of planning. My mom was single and perfectly content, so I figured I would be too. But I found my soul mate at seventeen. After we met in Ocean City, he’d told his mom he was going to marry me, and six years later we did. When it clicks, you roll with it. When faced with your happily ever after (HEA)—just like our romantic heroes—you take the chance.
And despite our lackluster wedding, we’re still living the HEA. **knock on wood**
Then again, happily ever after doesn’t mean that every day is a trip to Disney. Getting married is one happy ending that leads to the beginning of other chapters and other stories—some with happier endings than others. For us, it’s been a 20-year journey of roller-coaster-level hills and vomiting-inducing drops followed by pleasant coasting before the next ascent.
In fact, the end of each day is a happy ending for me. No matter how challenging the day, how much my husband and I annoy each other (after 20 years, it isn’t always sunny days and bottles of Pinot Noir), ending the day next to him in bed makes me happy.
To my hero, my HEA, my best friend, Mike, I wish us twenty more years of romance and happy endings to each day.