Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ten Things of Thankful: Weddings and Friends

Ventura Highway....
Several (as in almost twenty-five) years ago, I visited my dad in L.A.  He had recently removed himself from an unhealthy (and particularly strange) relationship, moved across the country, and started a new life for himself.  I, on the other hand, had just graduated college and moved to the Midwest in order to begin my life as a responsible adult.  And also to be closer to my boyfriend.

One delightful, sunny, Southern California afternoon Dad took me for a drive to brag about show me the gorgeous scenery he now enjoyed on a daily basis in this little slice of heaven on earth.  As we drove through the canyons with the t-tops off the car (hey, it was Southern Cali in 1989), we passed by a lovely park and noticed a wedding party.  All at once, Dad looked over at me, said, “Doesn’t he know he’s ruining his life?” and turned the car around.  When the car came within earshot of the group, my father yelled out, “HEY, BUDDY, STOP! DON’T DO IT!!”

Fortunately Dad met an amazing woman not long after that and decided that maybe marriage wasn’t all that stupid, after all.  At least not if you marry someone you truly like (and isn’t cray-cray).

In spite of my cynical father’s influence, I always get gushy and emotional when I witness two people declaring their love and commitment toward each other.  There’s just something magical and, well, hopeful, about a wedding.  And I love every bit of it.

Last weekend my dear friend’s oldest daughter tied the knot with the man of her dreams.  And we Sticklens were the first ones in the church.  (Literally.  We arrived about thirty minutes before the ceremony and were the only ones seated for about ten minutes.  Late arriving crowd, I guess.)  As I reflected on this auspicious occasion, I realized that there are a lot of things regarding weddings and marriage that I am thankful for.  So, for this week’s “Ten Things of Thankful” I thought I’d list some of the things that I am thankful for when it comes to weddings.  And receptions.  Because, let’s face it, I like an excuse for a party.  Don’t you?

10.  I’m thankful I live in a small-ish town.  Small towns provide the opportunity to really get to know people and learn to accept them – flaws and all.  Friendships formed in small towns tend to take on a familial feel, sometimes pushing our capacity for unconditional love right to its limits.
9.  I’m thankful that I get to visit big cities.  As much as I enjoy living in a small town, the amenities of the Big City beckon my attention from time to time.  I like museums.  And beautiful parks.  And skyscrapers.  And interesting restaurants (well, we have those here, too, but every once in a while I enjoy trying something new).

8.  I’m thankful for friendships that endure through the years.  I love how old friends can get together after a long absence and pick up right where they left off.
Not a bad looking couple of forty-somethings....

7.  I’m thankful for air conditioning on a  hot August afternoon in the Midwest.

6.  I’m thankful for my youngest son who is always a good sport and has a strong competitive spirit.  Seriously, that kid is cut-throat.  And I love it.

5.  I’m thankful for my fellow forty-somethings who danced with me during the reception.  Otherwise those twenty-somethings would have made me look like a complete idiot (especially when I decided to twerk).  *OK, just kidding.  There was no twerking involved.  Well, not in a serious manner, at least.*
Those darn twenty-somethings

4.  I’m thankful for my husband.  I think he loves weddings just as much as I do – and for all the same reasons.  Plus, he gets all my jokes (well, mostly).  And sometimes he even thinks I’m funny.

3.  I’m thankful for rites of passage – those moments when all of us sit back and relinquish the spotlight to the next generation as they begin their own life’s journey.  Such events provide opportunities for personal reflection and offer hope for the future.

2.  I’m thankful I was included in this particular celebration because I witnessed one of the most moving, honest, and sincere ceremonies as…

1.  The groom cried.  Seriously, every bride deserves to marry someone who loves her so completely.  I’m thankful that this young woman, the daughter of one of my closest friends, married a man who respects and cherishes her in such a caring, kind, attentive, and selfless manner. 

Congratulations, Brett & Kristina!

May we all experience this type of love in our lives.


  1. Having a hard time seeing the computer screen to type, since tears are
    running down my face after reading this, Dawn! You are such a gifted
    writer and so able to capture the emotions and spirit of the day. I
    loved all the ten things of thankful and you hit the nail on the head
    with each and every one of very true! What a blessing it was
    for us to have your beautiful family who are our dearest friends
    (considered my "Joplin Family" forever) with us to celebrate such an
    extraordinary occasion! Having all my nearest and dearest friends to
    witness Kristina and Brett's commitment to each other made the day one I
    know that will be cherished and treasured forever. I especially love
    your #1 thankful that the groom cried - as a Mom knowing Kristina has a
    husband who is moved to tears with the powerful depths of emotion with
    his love for her is all I could ever ask for. You are right, every
    bride deserves to marry someone who loves her so completely and as a Mom
    what more could you want for your daughter! I gained a wonderful
    son-n-law for sure! I am thankful for you my lifelong friend and the
    warmth, happiness and gratitude your words have brought me. One more
    thing...we did rock out that dance floor in only the way some cool
    forty-something besties could do!

  2. Dyanne @ I Want BacksiesAugust 31, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    First of all, were you thirty minutes early because you had the time wrong? Because it's not exactly like y'all to get somewhere THAT far ahead of schedule.

    Love the pic. You ladies are HAWT.

    Best part? Your #1 on the list. How sweet is that?! She married the right man!

    And WELCOME TO TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL! So glad you made it! Visit the other blogs that have posted and I promise you will have made several new friends by the end of the weekend.

  3. Kim, I first read this comment while standing in line at Sam's. No doubt those around me were wondering why I was such a blubbering idiot about buying bulk food items. Oh, well.
    What a beautiful compliment you paid to my post! As I said, I love weddings, and Kristina and Brett's nuptials illustrate so vividly why these ceremonies make me so emotional. It has been such a wonderful time, watching our children grow up together! I'm so happy to share these moments with such amazing friends like you!:-)

  4. LOL - I know, right? And what sort of human being would I be if I didn't take the opportunity to inform all the other wedding guests about our prompt arrival? (Wait, don't answer that.) This was such a big day, even for us, and we didn't want to miss a single second of it so we made sure EVERYONE got dressed in record time.
    Thanks for the compliment - I thought the MOB (that's Mother of the Bride. I'm hoping to make it a trending acronym on Twitter) was especially GORGEOUS that night. Seriously, did you check out her dress??
    And, yes, #1. It brings tears to my eyes every time I read or think about it. Absolutely the most heart-warming moment I've seen in a very long time.
    I TOLD you this was an amazing wedding!!

  5. This is a gorgeous list, Dawn. It sounds as though you had an amazing time at the wedding (and afterwards, celebrating hard on the dancefloor).

    I love your #1, because it's always so special when you can see that two people are just 'right' together, but the other one I really like is #10. I've never lived in a small town, but from what I've heard about them, the community feel is a really special thing to be part of, and it's so nice that you've shared that.

    And unless my memory fails me, this is our first 'Wedding' list to TToT, so YAY! for that.

  6. Welcome to the TToT, Dawn. It (the bloghop) is pretty amazing and they (the bloggarini who host it are equally exceptional)... from this Post (and recommendations from Dyanne and them) you may find yourself totally enjoying this place on weekend.
    Enjoyed your list, #8 is very much a factor in a happy life.

    ...just checking in, will be back tomorrow (yes, this is a genuine 2 day blog hop) which is good as I barely get to participate on Saturday, but get time in on Sunday.

  7. Man, this is the third person who has been thankful for going to a wedding, and I'm getting mighty jealous. I haven't been to a wedding in years! I love weddings, and it sounds like this one was a gorgeous one. The groom cried?! So, so sweet.
    You all look awesome! So glad you were able to get your groove going on the dance floor. I choked on my ice cream when I read the twerking line. (I just learned what it was yesterday.)
    So glad you joined up this week!

  8. Great pictures! You also made me realize that I have not been to a wedding in SO LONG. I need some people to get married around here! Geesh!

  9. Thank you, Lizzi! It was, indeed, a beautiful wedding! And, yes, #1 definitely defined the occasion! I have lived in small towns and big cities alike, and enjoy them both for different reasons, but have come to love our small town and its community so much, I think I would be hard-pressed to leave :-)

  10. Yes, I agree that enduring friendships are one of life's great joys and blessings. :-) Thanks so much for stopping by! I, too, am taking a couple days to visit as many blogs on the "hop" as possible - what a wonderful way to celebrate life!

  11. Yep, the groom cried. And so did the maid of honor, the mother of the bride, and really just about everyone else in the church! It was absolutely amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed retelling the story of such an important event. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Nina, this is the third wedding we've been to in about five years, and each of them has been so wonderful for different reasons. However, this one is particularly special because this is the first wedding where I've literally watched the bride grow up - she was only six years old when our families met and became friends. I was her sponsor for confirmation into the Catholic Church when she was in high school, her younger sister and my oldest daughter have been best friends since they were three, and her parents are my oldest son's godparents. Yes, this family is like my family, and this wedding was an event we won't ever forget!

  13. It sounds lovely. SO nice to find a place where you really feel at home, and as though you properly belong :)

  14. Kristi - Finding NineeSeptember 1, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Aw to the groom crying! My husband teared up a little at our wedding too. Sigh. And I'm glad your dad found true love. Wow to him yelling at that guy once upon a time! I want to go to a wedding now. The photos are beautiful!

  15. Aww. What a sweet post. I also cry at weddings. I can't help it. Yes even at the ones where I know half the crowd wants to stand up and shout. "Wait! Stop! You're making a mistake." But you know what? Sometimes half the crowd is wrong. :)

  16. Hi, Kristi! Oh, wow, how wonderful that you also found a man who was deeply moved by his commitment to you! I love it! I absolutely love weddings, too - and, yes, I was mortified when my dad yelled out at those people but then I thought, "hey, it's Southern California. Anything can - and does - happen here!" And then of course he DID find the right woman and now his cynical self has become quite the romantic :-)

  17. Hi, Cindy! Every time I attend a wedding I think to myself, "I'm not going to cry. This is a wonderful occasion and I'm not going to embarrass myself." And then the music starts and the wedding party proceeds to the front of the church and THE BRIDE ENTERS. And the tears start. Family, love, happiness. All three of these entities make me emotional and remind me of our connection with each other. :-)

  18. A beautiful list that shows you savor the moments of life! I could feel the magic of this wedding in your words! Growing up in a small town, I know they have their points good and bad, but it sounds like you've found a way to make it work for you, and I'm certain your friends and family are blessed by your presence!

  19. Awww, thank you Josie! I think having lifelong friends who help us celebrate the important moments in our lives - good and bad, big and small - is one of the greatest blessings of all :-)