So there I was, on the other side of the door, in a foul mood from having to share my wedding with strangers and the cold weather, and irritated at myself for not being able to feel a thing.
I put my hand on the door, opened it, felt the cold air on my face, heard "the song" playing, turned and saw my entire family, my children, Mr. Wonderful's family, all watching me, and I burst into tears. I was finally overcome with the emotions I should be feeling. I realized I couldn't see Mr. Wonderful, and every step from that realization to the altar was a desperate one, trying to get myself to the man I love and have my comfort and my joy and make him my husband.
I don't think I heard two words of the ceremony. I was completely in tune with him, I was watching him, watching him go through the emotions and try to hold it together. I handed my flowers to my daughter and saw for the first time my Dad on the computer screen via Skype, which was sitting in a chair next to my son. Yet another jolt of emotion.
Mr. Wonderful read his vows first. It was the only part of the ceremony I cared about, and he absolutely blew me away. He read off his promises one by one- to respect me, to protect me and the kids, to make me feel beautiful, that his love will only grow, to never abandon me and the kids....and then he read his promise to never betray me and to always be honest and loyal, and I totally lost it again. This one. The promise that had been made before yet was broken. The broken promise I thought would stop me from ever being here again, in this spot, marrying anyone. The one that un-did all the other promises. Yet looking into his eyes and knowing him...I knew Mr. Wonderful meant it and did not take it lightly. I knew it like I had never known anything before.
After he finished, it was my turn. I read through the vows, hoping to make the same impact on him that he made on me. I gave my promises to him one by one, opening myself up like I haven't since my divorce, and giving myself to him completely. It was beautiful.
During the entire ceremony I could hear our families crying. I was facing mine and could feel exactly what they were feeling. This family has watched me struggle and suffer and crawl through the trenches of pain and obstacles. They watched my former husband treat me poorly, then watched me take him back and be treated poorly again. They watched me find the confidence to finally leave him. They watched me cry and scream and fail at single motherhood, and then they watched as I was hit with the added blow of my father's brain tumor, and to try to get through all that came after, alone. They all at one point had tried to reassure me that everything would someday be ok, and here we all were...even my Dad, in a sense, and it was all ok. Better than ok. Not a happy ending, per say, but a happy beginning.
It was then time to face the children, and Mr. Wonderful took vows to them. He promised to take them as his own children, to protect them and guide and support them, and respect them all his life. They were so funny sitting there, trying so hard to be cool and not smile, but all three of them just couldn't contain it. They looked up at their new stepfather who has been a father to them for at least the past year already, and they were absolutely beaming from the inside out. My youngest even told me later she was about to cry, but not because she was sad, because she was so happy.
The minister announced us as husband and wife, we kissed and cried some more, and were then presented to our families with our united name. We literally danced down the aisle together to "You Make my Dreams Come True" by Hall and Oates, a song from a scene we loved in 500 Days of Summer...one of our first dates.
Back inside and alone, I just remember wrapping myself up in his arms with relief. I was handed more wine and it was all fun and happiness from there. We took some pictures together with the photographer, which I just got back...you can see the relief and happiness in both of our faces. We were just so damn happy. It felt as though everything was just as it should be, like it had all been leading up to this, from the time I met him up until that day and had come together as the universe had intended.
We dined with our families, listened to each and every one of them give a heartfelt speech, including each of our three kids. My favorite was my 4 year old "Sometimes, my mommy is rude but she's really lovable. And [Mr. Wonderful] is really cute and he tickles me and makes hearts on my back so I can go to sleep. So, cheers!"
My cute husband even went over to his laptop and requested to be my husband on Facebook. So even that night, it was FBO. Which we all know means it's real.
After dinner, a limo picked us up, and we went over to a private room at a karaoke bar with my brother, his wife, Mr. W's two brothers, and the photographer. Drunken singing and dancing on coffee tables ensued, and fabulous times were had by all.
The kids left with my mom and we spent the next week alone in San Fran for our honeymoon. There was much staring at rings and giggling and calling me his wife and him my husband. But mostly, it was just us...as we always are, enjoying our travels and especially each other. What we do best.