My Best Day Ever

I first wrote this post in 2014 as part of Jeff Goins’ 500 Word Daily Challenge.  Jeff asked everyone to write about their Best Day Ever.  I thought about days such as my college graduation, the day I got my black belt or the first time I held one of my children.  I quickly realized that one day stood above all others, Saturday, July 27, 1996.

The day started like many other July days in St. Louis.   It was very hot and humid.  You could walk outside and cut a slice of air.  However, the weatherman had forecast rain and by afternoon, it was unseasonably cool, which was a good thing because the tux was very hot.

My cousin Dan and I were watching the Hall of Fame Game between my Philadelphia Eagles and the New Orleans Saints.  I was going to have to leave before the game finished but it was only the preseason.  I wasn’t really concentrating on the game anyway.  Pretty soon, it was time to leave.  We made our way out to our cars and drove to Lake Tishomingo, where my grandfather owned property.

Tam and Me

Tam and Me

As we entered the hall, I saw my parents, nieces and nephews.   Even my father and stepmother came up from Scott City.  My grandfather, my mother’s father,  still loved my dad.  They shook hands and talked for a long time.   My ex-brother-in-law Ronnie, who I had always been close to, came also.  Several of my co-workers were there.

It started to rain lightly as more cars pulled up.  I greeted the minister.  My grandfather witnessed the license.  I took my place in the front of the hall as everyone began to shuffle into their chairs.  My cousin Dan walked down with my sister Beck.  Grandpa walked down with my sister Sheri.  We couldn’t decide between them, so we had two maids of honor and two best men.

And then my future father-in-law Bob walked my bride Tamara down the aisle.  She was not alone.  She was carrying my soon-to-be daughter.  We never said stepdaughter because I did not want her to feel different from any other children that may join our family.

When I saw Tamara, the sight of her in her wedding dress took my breath away.  I was starting to get a little choked up but I managed to somehow get through my vows still trying to figure out why she would want to marry me.  She was way too good for me but it wasn’t my job to talk her out of it.  Fortunately, she said, “I do.”   On Saturday, July 27, 1996, I had my best day ever.

I reached down and picked up Caity, so we could go back to the receiving line and thank our family and friends.  Little did I know how my life had changed and the laughs and tears that I would have over the years.   We have enjoyed vacations, survived a cancer scare, welcomed two more children into the world and watched those three children utilizes their gifts in so many special ways.

I have watched the little girl, who used to say, “Chill out, Daddy-O” graduate from high school.  I have tied a black belt around my oldest son’s waist.  I have watched my youngest son be a lead in a puppet show for a national competition.   And I have seen my beautiful wife grow more beautiful and am more deeply in love with her than I was 21 plus years ago.

Thank you, honey.  I love you.

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