In Our Own Backyard…’Someday my prince will come’“Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.”
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
“Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.”
¬“Yes,” I thought to myself as I carried the greeting card up to the register. “Yes!”
After having perused countless wedding cards festooned with cupids and lovebirds and bearing trite sentiments about “happily ever after,” “two lives entwined” and “life’s journeys,” I had finally come to the conclusion there was simply no greeting card out there that said quite what we wanted to say to our daughter Kara and her fiancé Eric as they were about to be married.
That’s because theirs was an extraordinarily sentimental and not-so-ordinary relationship. Kara had been married once before, later divorced and has been a single mother to two children for the past six years. Eric, on the other hand, had never been married at all.
By Kara’s way of thinking, dating after divorce and parenthood was a “love me, love my children” situation. It didn’t take her long to discover that sticking to those standards cuts out a whole lot of potential suitors. She set her sights high, however, and we were glad that she did.
And so it was that when Eric came along, we reserved judgment until after we got to know him. The first time we met him, he came up to our house with Kara and the kids for the weekend. After about half an hour of polite grilling from the two of us, one of the children came running in from outside and begged Eric to come outside and play ball with them. He cast an eager but somewhat apologetic glance our way, excused himself and went out to play ball with the kids. That told us pretty much all we needed to know.
Many visits and a couple of years later, we still hadn’t discovered any chinks in his armor. Eric seemed to be not only head over heels in love with Kara, but eager to accept her kids into his life as well. They adored him in return.
Last weekend, they were married in a glorious, sun-filled wedding under a grapevine arbor in a park in Minneapolis. Just before the ceremony, the groomsmen and fathers came to pick up the ladies to transport them to the park, and as both children ran up to Kara and hugged her, she hugged them back and said, “Let’s go get married!”
She walked down the aisle with both children at her side as Eric looked on from his spot up front. The children passed her hand over to Eric as the ceremony began.
It was the stuff dreams are made of, but like any good fairy tale (think “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and “Hansel and Gretel”), it wasn’t without its dilemmas. At the start of the ceremony, the minister gave the nod too early and the parents of the groom began the processional long before any of the rest of us were ready. Ken and I literally galloped in from the far corner of the park where we had just gotten out of the car with Kara, and by the time we walked under the grapevine arbor we were winded and no doubt sporting a fine sheen of perspiration on our brows.
The rest of the wedding party picked up on the sense of urgency, and everyone kind of walked in on the heels of the couple in front of them. By the time Kara and the kids got to the minister, the bride’s processional music had just begun.
And then, one of the kids accidentally knocked over the glass vase intended for the roses that were to be presented in memory of the grandparents and it smashed into smithereens. The minister casually swept aside the shards with one foot and smoothly began the ceremony.
No one will long remember that the raucous music from a nearby street fair nearly drowned out the bride’s and groom’s vows, nor the fact that the two little flower girls abandoned their posts and proceeded to flit around the gardens in their full-skirted dresses like a couple of sugarplum fairies.
What we will remember, however, is how Kara, Eric and the kids all walked back down the aisle together, as a family.
And after all, isn’t that what fairy tales are made of?