The beginning of my family's journey began with my wedding day. February 29th, 2000 was the day of our first encounter with humor at the wrong moment as a family.
It was a cool Tuesday afternoon. I was nervously buttoning up my floral dress, and my soon-to-be husband was coming home from work. My soon-to-be mother in law was holding our infant son in her lap, while I frantically dressed and put on my make-up. He arrived home, and we all headed off to the local courthouse to finally elope. We arrived at the court house, both of us slightly nervous and excited. The judge came in, and as we gathered ourselves to become serious for the moment and totally dedicated to each other, I smiled to myself while thinking quietly, "Wouldn't this just be the moment I feel like breaking into a hysterical laughter? Come on Steph! You can keep a straight face through this. Don't laugh!" As I listened to a blur of serious, dedicated sounding words pass from the judge's lips to my husband, and my husband began to speak, I shifted my focus to his beautiful eyes. I then felt a sense of calmness come over me, as I heard his sincerity pour from his mouth. Then it was my turn. The judge began speaking for me to repeat. Something in me took over. It happened....
Judge: “Repeat after me. I, Stephanie, take you to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”
Me: (Taking a deep breath, feeling my cheeks flush and my pulse begin to quicken) “I, Stephanie, take you to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer or for richer... ”
What did I just let slip out of my mouth? Of course he knows I don't mean it. Money has never meant anything to me, but it was the fact that I just let it pop out and why? Because, I involuntarily attempted to alleviate the tension of the moment by tossing in something not so serious. By this time, my own fumble had turned into me smiling like a fool and breaking up into laughter.
My husband: (Looks at me, smiles, and then sighs).
I cannot recall if I ever finished those vows or not, but I'm sure I was urged to by the judge. To this day, I cannot answer why I repeated the word “richer” for any other reason than to break the serious mood and bring that spark of laughter into my life that I have so depended on to lift me up. My husband didn't turn on heels and walk away at that moment, and it was then that I knew that he truly was ready to accept me for me, badly timed humorous outbursts and all. Not too many days had passed after our matrimonial event took place, that we had received our marriage certificate in the mail.
It was a warmer day than when we had married, by now being in early March. With my son on my hip, I walked out to the mailbox to do the routine check. I spotted the marriage certificate and eagerly walked back into my home, placing my son in his swing while I opened the letter to inspect. Seeing it on paper was just too surreal for me, considering how in love I was with this man, who was finally my husband. While I ogled the paper, I spotted something that caught me by surprise. It was the wedding date.
I pick up the phone and dial my husband's work. A few transfers and rings later, and I hear his wonderful voice on the other end.
My husband: “Hello, love.”
Me: “Hi honey! Our marriage certificate come in today, but I noticed something about the date of our marriage.”
My husband: “What's that?”
Me: “Did you notice that we got married on leap day? Do you know what this means?”
My husband: “I don't have to remember our anniversary but once ever four years?”
Silence takes over the phone line for a few moments...
Me: “We'll be in our sixties before we celebrate our tenth official anniversary! I can see it now, we'll be old and gray by then. I'll probably be in a wheelchair, and you'll be pushing me down the shore of a beach trying to remember who I am and why you're pushing me around, as I smile about finally reaching ten official years of marriage with you! Isn't that just...wait, you're only going to remember every four years?”
My husband: (Laughing by now at my realization to his reply.) “We'll, did you think I didn't have this all planned out? You know my memory. I have to have an advantage here."”
Me: “Oh...I see how it is. You tricked me into a leap day wedding so you could escape the annual duties! Clever!” (Laughing now at his playful deviousness..)
From here the conversation trailed off and I continued about my day, thinking about all the possibilities a leap day anniversary could bring for each turn. If anything, it entitles us to just let it all hang out, metaphorically speaking that is) and just have more fun than we would on a regular annual anniversary. The more I thought about it, the more I felt as though it perfectly fit into my whimsical life of strange accidents that just seemed to work to my advantage.
As time passed on, eventually another bundle of joy popped into our lives. As you have probably already gathered, the cart did come before the horse as we had our son, Nathaniel, before we had a chance to be married. Now, I was expecting my daughter, Autumn. In between all of that time, there had been much change, drama, and “life” that took place, and I was just eagerly awaiting the arrival of this precious baby to further complete my unusual little family.