Good morning, Miss Tricia Lott,
Happy Wedding Day to you. Twenty-year-old you. How in love you are.
I'm not so far ahead of you... 11 years. Oh, sure, you think that's a long time. Think again, cute girl. It'll be here before you know it.
Today you will wear your bridal gown, the cathedral-length train, a wedding veil with satin edging.
You will smile all day long. All day long. You will smile so much that your teeth will get dry and your cheeks will hurt. For the rest of your life, you'll talk about getting 'a wedding day headache': the kind you'll experience today. An ache born of euphoric joy, of a heart so swollen with joy that it makes your head pound.
You'll see him in a few hours, this groom of yours. Untraditional in your desire to see each other before you say your vows, you've chosen to present yourself to him by walking down the aisle in an empty church. A moment for the two of you.
He'll wait for you, all alone, at the front of the aisle. Your bridesmaids will perfect you, fluffing your dress and straightening your train.
"No peeking..." you'll call to him, just to make him crazy with the sound of your voice, the bride he so badly wants to see.
When you give him permission, he will open his eyes. He will see you, his bride.
And he will cry.
And you will plan to take your time walking down the aisle, but you'll run to him.
He will wrap his arms around you. He'll kiss you. He won't be able to take his eyes off you. He'll twirl you so he can see you from every angle. Please study the look on his face. It's worth remembering forever.
He'll put a ring on your finger today; you'll put a ring on his. Right now, you're both worried that the rings won't fit, that your fingers will be swollen and sweaty with nerves, too puffy to receive the new bands.
Don't worry. They'll fit.
There will be 300 guests, a line out the door. In fact, they'll have to retrieve the guest book so the long line of people can come inside, so the wedding can begin.
His dad will marry you; he will announce yours as the closest thing to an arranged marriage, this side of India.
Robb will make vows to you.
I, Robb, want to commit myself to you, Tricia, my beloved wife. I realize that we two are better than one Because we have a good return for our labor together. For if you are weak and fall, I will lift you up; When you are cold and vulnerable, I will make you warm; And when another attacks and overpowers you, I will protect you. Our cord of three strands— God, you, and me— Is not easily divided. It is my desire to enjoy life fully with you, my love, All the days of my life— Through all the many times of our life— A time to tear down and a time to build up, A time to weep and a time to laugh, A time to embrace and a time to push away, A time to be silent and a time to speak, A time for war and a time for peace, A time to give birth and a time to die. For all times are in God’s perfect plan, And you are God’s plan for me.
And you will say the same to him.
"I, Tricia, want to commit myself to you, Robb, my beloved husband."
You'll make all the same promises.
And together you'll say,
I will suffer long and be kind. I will not judge you nor will I seek my own way. I will not be easily provoked And I will not think evil of you. My love for you will bear all things, Believe all things, Hope all things, And endure all things. It will never fail. Faith, hope, and love abide, But the greatest of these is love.
And as his dad pronounces you husband and wife, as he introduces you for the very first time in public with your married names,
Robb will dance.
Yes, my dear, your conservative, reserved husband will bounce on the stage, so eager to claim you.
The beaded, stretching train you have been so careful with for so many months, the very one you can't wait to wear - I know you don't believe me as you read this - but you'll kick it out of your way.
And together you will run up the aisle, your first steps into life together. Your first steps into life together.
He will scoop you up and spin you around, and he'll whisper again and again in your ear, "We're married! We're married! We're married!"
You will be inseparable for the rest of the day,
as you stand together to release each row of guests,
as you run through the cascade of bubbles,
as you escape into your limousine
and tour the city with a honking parade of cars behind you,
as you invite all the married couples to join you on the dance floor,
as you dance the night away, song after song,
as you race out of the ballroom,
hand in hand,
to the tune of the Ohio State Fight Song.
(You really should wear your 'get away shoes' a little on the sidewalk today. I know you want them to be perfect, but Robb's going to run really fast through that ballroom. You're going to slip and slide on those flawless soles, and you'll nearly fall. I know you won't listen to this advice right now; you love your wedding shoes too much to take them off, especially to damage a pair you'll wear later today. I'm just sayin', girl... he'll whisk you away. You'll wish you had some traction.)
This really will be the happiest day of your life, so far. Believe it or not, some other good ones are coming, too. Hard to imagine, I know.
You may want to stop reading now, young bride. It won't always be as bright as this moment of yours, with your ringlets under that satin veil.
I'll give you a few headlines.
I know you really can't imagine moving across the country, but you will. And you'll love Colorado. It's as great as they say.
You'll get pregnant easily, but hold this loosely: you won't get to keep each of those children. Miscarriage will visit your home half as often as conception.
But you do get two little boys. I won't tell you their names; I want you and Robb to name your sons together. Nobody should rob you of that joy.
(I know you think you want girls. But I'll tell you what: you won't want to trade those little boys for all the girls in the world. You're made for boys, Tricia. You're in for the ride of your life with these two genetic composites of you and Robb. One will be serious and linear, a thinker, a scientist, an athlete. One will be silly and funny, a comedian, a creator, an artist. Brace yourself.)
You get ten years, Tricia. Ten years, plus the two years you have spent dating him.
But then you have to give him up, sweet girl. You can't imagine the story the way it unfolds, and you wouldn't believe it if I told you.
And you'd miss out on the joy and the beauty of the decade if you could predict how it ends.
So live it, dear girl.
Say yes. Say, "I do." Over and over.
Live this day, and live the next.
He's so worth it. Every day of it.
May each blessing be yours, dear girl.
And may you be found faithful.
With deep affection,
Mrs. Tricia Williford
July 22, 2011