I still smile and shake my head at the whirlwind events of this time last year. I wonder if Tiffany's mom has even recovered yet.
Matthew and Tiffany met through swim team when they were like 14 years old. I think that each of them in their own way knew that it would be a forever kind of thing - even though there were some rough spots they would have to go through. At least it sure seemed like they were headed to forever from the love notes I found in Matt's jeans pocket! (smile)
They were truly "Beauty & the Beast" in the water. Tiff's long graceful moves that distracted you from how fast she was swimming. Matt simply a powerful, technical beast. A very fast one at that.
I loved watching them swim each summer and through High School. Even today when I go to summer league swim meets to watch my little niece and nephews, I see their names at the top of most events in many age categories as the reigning record-holders.
I may not have loved the transition of him wanting to be with someone other than his mommy, but it was a stepping stone in his life that could not be avoided. And in keeping with my stubborn-self, I didn't go out without a fight. Kicking and screaming more like! Yes, like many mom's I'm sure (I hope I'm not the only one who felt that way) I was a bit jealous of the person who dared take my son from me. But eventually I learned that it wasn't me losing him, it was us gaining her.
And what a wonderful "her" we have gained.
What a wonderful new family we have gained!
I haven't always been the most diligent in praying for a godly woman for my son, autism had a way of hogging all my prayers all those years. But God had my back. He put a godly woman in his path who would be able to complete him. Support him in the endeavor of his lifetime, even though she may not have totally understood what a hardship it would be. And even now that she more fully understands all that hardship will entail -- to still support him. NMW.
(No Matter What)
And even before Edward said it to Bella -- I remember asking Matt long ago if he was in love with Tiff. He thought for a minute and then said, "I'm not sure, but I know I have this intense desire to protect her."
Yeah. You're in love boy...
So I guess it was no surprise when he shared with us that he was going to come home on leave from the Navy to visit us --- and ask her to marry him. And get married if she said yes.
All in one weekend.
Go big or go home!
I'm still stunned at how Tiffany's parents pulled that off. We had literally one week to plan a stand-by wedding. Of course Tiffany would say yes, but if she wanted to get married that weekend, to have a wedding ready, "on stand-by" - was a feat of ginormous proportions!
A Pastor, a cake, guests, food, decorations, a MARRIAGE LICENSE ---- all of it ready and on stand-by for a weekend visit Tiff had no clue about. Where on that Friday night he would ask her to marry him, and once that sunk in he would ask if she wanted to get married that next day - on Saturday. Leaving Saturday morning for her to go shopping with her sister to find a wedding dress. For her wedding on Saturday afternoon. And her honeymoon on Saturday night.
I still have to shake my head laughing at the lunacy of it all!
He did surprise her in the movie theater where they had their first date, got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. She did say yes as both sets of parents looked on teary-eyed. She did want to get married that weekend. And it was the most beautiful backyard wedding. What there wasn't time for in sending out invitations for extended family & friends to attend or registrations for wedding gifts, --- was made up for in the love and support of family and the sheer presence of God during that ceremony.
Complete with a rainbow at the end.
After a family fajita backyard dinner, they were off to their brief Honeymoon Saturday night. Only to be back Sunday afternoon for family dinner and the flight back to the Navy base for Matt.
Oh my goodness the lies that had to be told! Matt wanted everything ready should she say yes and should she want to get married right then. Imagine how creative one must be to get your girlfriend to get a marriage license without knowing she's about to get married! She didn't know that we knew and we tried to keep her from knowing that we knew - all while getting her the paperwork she needed in order to get what she had to get without anyone knowing!
Ha ha ha!
Oh what tangled webs we all weaved in each other trying to deceive!
No other words.
Except for beautiful and full of family and love -- more than things or expenses.
That is what their wedding was.
And it still blows my mind.
They truly lived out the cliche of "All you need is love," -- because that's pretty much all they started their marriage with!
Nothing about their first year of marriage has been conventional. Heck, she didn't even get to live with her husband for a number of months after their marriage!
So I guess it's fitting that on their 1st Wedding Anniversary they went to Disneyland. Roller coasters, Wild Rides, Thrills, Chills, Loving, and Laughter certainly sum up their first year! I think if they can remember the overwhelming fun and laughter of Disneyland among the sheer terror of some roller coasters they'll be on during the course of their marriage - they will do well.
If they can each put God first as the constant figure who will never be deployed, they will have the security they need to handle any separations from each other their Navy journey will entail.
If they can realize that there will be times they will be apart, it will give them more patience in the little irritations of each other when they are together.
If they remember that it's not the things they amass nor the size of the house they can fill with those things - but their love that endures, the experiences they share, and the memories they make - then they will know what true happiness and fulfillment is.
If they remember to always be anchored in their faith and not by fear, then the challenges and obstacles that break other marriages will never break theirs.
If they continue to Dream! Dare! and Do! together in the NDCQ motto that is the essence of marriage, then indeed the two will be much better than one ---
And accomplish so much more!
If they remember those wedding vows and the NMW of them - like the t-shirts they wore at Disney - in her always being his Minnie if he will always be her Mickey - then like Edward and Bella they will always have their forever.
In a heartbeat.
I'm not the kind of parent who can't wait for empty nest so I can have my own life back. My children are my life and I wouldn't have it any other way. But if I can't have that, I couldn't have asked for anything better for him than Tiffany.
Bravo Zulu, Matt & Tiff on your first year of marriage -- and Fair Winds & Following Seas for the next year. And the next. And the next......
No matter where your Navy journey takes you -- may you always remain Anchored in Faith.
"That sounds exactly right to me."
And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever.