June 30, 1984, Billy Crozier and I got married. Just that. It was always enough for me. Neither of us had a job, car, a dime to our name. We were 18 years old and in love. No one thought we would be together a year, except my Granny Sally. She would always tell me: You will make it. You love each other too much not to be together.
Over these many years, we have given birth to and raised the two most perfect people in the world: Pam and Derek. We have had tragedy and heart break. Buried all our grandparents and our parents. Seen our children become successful, happy, courageous, accomplished adults. Had adventures and survived storms, both figuratively and literally.
A few months ago, I mentioned our anniversary and he told me he was taking care of it. So, I packed a bag and loaded up in the truck Friday afternoon to go wherever and to do whatever he had planned.
We went to Galveston and avoided the seaweed piles, ate at Fish Tails, stayed in a motel, got up and went to Moody Gardens to see the Rainforest and Aquarium Pyramids. He had commented we had to be home about 4 and that Pam was doing something pretty for me and Jessica was helping her. Being a lover of surprises, I never try to figure out anything. I just went along with everything.
When we got home, Pam led me, eyes covered except to see where to put my feet. To the back bedroom and door closed. She brought me coffee and offered my laptop. No thanks on the laptop. No, she said I couldn’t unpack (clothes and other things were in the closet as later discovered).
Jessica arrived. I did hear Derek’s voice when they were unloading the TV and cabinet. This was expected. Derek and Jessica are moving to Oahu next week and we got those items through the process of them breaking up housekeeping. I still didn’t think too much. Just very glad my kids were here. Derek must have gotten off early to take care of moving business, I thought.
“Here, Mother. This is my spanx. Put it on.” “No, you can’t keep it.”
Hot rollers were plugged up. Make up bags unpacked. Pam and Jess went to work. I still just thought a nice dinner party. Not even thinking anyone else would be here. I never heard cars or voices other than Derek’s just for that minute. He came and gave me a hug.
While the makeup and hair session was going on, Mike (Pam’s boyfriend) kept texting. She kept replying. I thought it odd. But, still was not suspicious. I learned later he was a vital co-conspirator as well. Remember, I love surprises, so I just kept going along enjoying all the attention. Pam had commented that Jess was a little nervous about how I would go along with it. With my being content and compliant, she and Pam were giggling and acting like girls playing beauty shop. I loved seeing them having fun!
Then, the time came to be blindfolded. On the promise that I would keep my eyes closed and to preserve the makeup and hair, I did just that. Closed my eyes. They put a dress on me. I felt lace sleeves and a long skirt. I teared up thinking, this is a beautiful dress. Of course, Pam, Jess and I had talked about my having a photo shoot in different outfits to make up for never having a wedding with all the associated photos. It crossed my mind that this might be what we were doing. But, I don’t want to guess. So, I put it out of my mind.
Jewelry, lipstick, shoes. Keep my eyes closed. Jess had left the room and then came back. Pam changed clothes and freshened her makeup. My eyes still closed. Out into the hall. I have a mirror at the end of the hall. Turn around. Stand here. Open your eyes.
A white, full length, lace sleeved wedding dress!! I later learned Pamela had made it. Over my shoulder, in the mirror, I could see Billy and Derek then Jessica and Pam all in turquoise. This is more than dinner. To my left a young man I did not know was behind a camera. To my right, one of my best friends is holding a video camera. Oh, MY!!! This is more than dinner!! I had to run back to the bedroom to see my hair and makeup! Wow!!!
Back up the hall. At the kitchen, I look to my right. OH, MY!!! Brian!!! My brother-in-law. Billy’s brother I haven’t seen in years……..I lost it.
Billy didn’t know Brian was coming either. Billy was supposed to see him when he walked out with Pam. However, a technical detail caused Billy to discover him hiding in the office. Pam was summoned from the room where we were and I heard her exclaim. Something hadn’t worked out. Jess went to check and they came back saying, “It draped the other way, but it is fine.”
Over his shoulder is Jann. My very special sister- friend. I later learned that Larry, my brother-friend, had cooked the meat for us. It was delicious as expected! Their daughter, my Donna Jean, was there taking care of things, too. She is our wedding cake cutting expert!
Someone pointed to my left. There is Bob. My very special brother-friend. Matt (his youngest) comes round for a quick hug. Pam gives instructions, Derek and Jess first out, Uncle B and Pam, listen for the music to change, then Bob will walk me out. My mind is whirling!!
I step out the door. I see Crystal, Mary, Aunt Sis, Roger, Mackie. There is Billy and an arch. I stop to cry again. I see other faces in a blur to my left. I see my wonderful pastor, Brother Doyle. Then, I am standing next to Billy. Everything was so green and lovely. I was trembling a little. Brother Doyle spoke wonderful words and Billy and I promised to continue living our lives with God in charge and each other as partners, companions, lovers and friends, until death. Pamela had rings for us! Mine, a pearl set in white gold and his, a titanium band with pearl inlay. Beautiful!!!
A kiss and he is stuck with me again……….this time I have more witnesses……..!!! And pictures!!!! (Pam had hired Cody, the young man I didn’t know, to take pictures. Earlier, when I first opened my eyes, I looked at him and, in tears, said, “Hello, I don’t know who you are.”)
Looking around, I start hugging necks and kissing my nieces! Bethany and Marlana Jane were there! Line up for photos! Into the house! A bowl of punch (the same color as the bride’s maids’ dresses-I did get some Southern Belle training into that girl of mine!) and a wedding cake! There is barbecue beef and chicken, beans, tater salad, iced tea. My mother’s tea cups out for coffee service.
Pamela had made the cake. Three tiers. Top had raspberry cream filling, middle was German chocolate, bottom was pineapple! Homemade marzipan over buttercream frosting. Every bite delicious!!!
Billy was a terrific sport about the entire thing. Thank you, Billy! He and Brian have gone to wet a hook this morning before Brian has to get back to the airport. He lives in Illinois. He is such a treasure to us. We love and miss him so much.
Gary and Laura and two of their grands were there. Gary is one of our hunting buddies. He is the one we call in the middle of the night to help us get out of the woods when something goes wrong.
Mackie and Roger came, too! Roger is our huntin’ buddy. He and I watch what all Billy can run through or over. I get to see Mackie on holidays, like opening weekend of deer season and Thanksgiving, so it was a treat to have her here!
Anna and Tim came despite the stormy weather and brought my lovely little girls! I am so glad they got to come! I finally remembered I had a white “princess” dress in the closet I had picked up at a resale shop for Bethany. I got it out for her to put on and dance in the living room! Of course, Tim always pays the best compliments to flatter this old girl. Anna is my first baby girl, so it is always special to have her with me. And my Marlana Jane was here. She was fussy unless I was holding her, so it seemed.
Bob and Jodi and the boys were here. They were with us Memorial Weekend and none of them uttered a peep about all this. They are so dear to me. I told Hunter, I am glad I didn’t see him while I was going up the aisle, I might have been a runaway bride. He has a special something about him that charms everyone he meets. Sometimes quiet, sometimes crazy Jack. He is the one that will hang out with us old gals and never complain. Matt did a fine job with the music and hugging me, looking up with that sweet face letting me know with a look he loves me! Thank you to each of “my boys”.
Mike is something special! He took care of so much for Pamela. Bless his heart! He was hot, sweaty and worn out from all the work. He is a trooper, though. He must love our little girl very much! I am grateful for his presence in our lives.
Something about seeing Crystal, Mary and Aunt Sis always helps me feel the link to Mother and Granny Sally even stronger. Helps me sense my roots again. Of course, Crystal is one of my heroines, too. She was with me, when after the ceremony, I lifted my hem to turn for pictures and saw my shoes for the first time.
Pamela, knowing I have a foot injury, had gotten me flip flops to wear. When she put them on my feet, my eyes closed, I thought they were just low heels. Then, she said, “No, Mother, just regular flip flops.” So, I wiggled my feet and figured out what I was feeling. I visualized black flip flops with maybe some blingy stuff. When I finally saw them I squealed: “Look at my shoes!” White flip flops with pearls added by Pamela! So pretty! Pearl earrings, pearl bracelet, pearl necklace, pearl ring, pearl flip-flops. Perfect!
My Derek and my Jess. Such wonderful delights to my heart! They are trying to break up housekeeping to move to Hawai’i next week. Still, they took out time to help get all this done for us. Picking up Brian from the airport, working with Pam, setting up, fixing me up, cleaning up. It was fun with Jess doing my makeup. I need for her to give me lessons! She is a pro! Thank you for making me look so lovely!
Pamela. She is amazing. She is so much like her father and my mother. Strong and brave and bold and able to get things done. I am strong and I can get things done, too. But, I am not so brave and bold. She is everything any mother could ask for in a daughter and more. She is the friend to every person who knows her. The friend that you know will come and will help and will be with you in time of need and time of joy. I don’t know why God saw fit to share her with me, but I am eternally grateful for the blessing of her. She is my best friend. She was a joy to raise. A challenge to raise with her strength of mind and will, but nevertheless, a joy. As the loveliest woman I know, I am proud to call her my best girlfriend.
Last, but really, first. Let me talk about Him and him. I don’t usually talk about the Lord directly. I had not published Billy’s name until this post. Twenty years ago, he put God first in his life. It changed our relationship. It was almost like starting over in some ways. His perspective changed. There were times before and after we didn’t know why we were still trying to keep going. Then, he decided we were not going to argue any more. Period. I posted about this recently, so I won’t go into it here. The Lord has blessed us not with an easy life of no troubles, but with resilience and forgiveness. How dare I hold anything against another human being, especially Billy, in the face of God’s forgiveness of me for what I have done against Him?
Billy’s love for me has sustained me through many dark days. Billy’s love for me has helped me learn to love myself. I love him. With every fiber of my being and identity, I love him. He is my dream and my life and my destiny. Being his wife is an epic journey. The destination is always the next level of understanding and intimacy. Growing up. Letting go of personal expectations. Becoming two as one. Always rowing in the same direction. I live my life around him and his life. Where he goes, I go. Not grudgingly, or sacrificially, or with a “this is your turn, but mine is coming” thought. I do not need my turn. I never expect, nor ask for a turn to be first or even at all. None of this comes from him. It is my own idea and the reality I have worked toward. It is enough to be his bride, to expend my life itself caring for him and his well-being.
But, when they decide to surprise me with a gift, boy do they surprise me!! No one could believe I had not guessed and no one had let the cat out of the bag. I love surprises! I love this surprise! What a treasure of memories!
The previous was written the day after the event. Now, on the actual date of our anniversary, I have taken a day of vacation and floated around all day still on cloud eleven. Yes, higher than cloud nine!
My little girl made a dream come true for me that I never even had. I never dreamed of having such an event. Never imagined such a beautiful thing would be done for us. Thank you is inadequate to express my feelings of gratitude to her and to him, to our son and his bride, our family and friends. I am glad my Lord and Savior can see my heart. It is to Him and His blessings I am most grateful.