The mist is rising off the pond in the frosty morning air and the sky is a Maxfield Parish painting. It is Monday morning and the time I like best to jot down thoughts in my journal. It’s not just any Monday morning though – this is my first Monday morning as Mrs.Thomas Shindorf. I sit with this reality even as it feels more dreamlike than real. The wedding ceremony was a a series of miracles from start to finish. The first Miracle was the intrusion of my eldest son’s ideas about our plans. Tom and I had planned to go to a Justice of the Peace with two friends to act as witnesses and that would be that. When I mentioned this plan to James, he said; “But mom, I want to share in the Joy too!” Well, with that we recognized how selfish it would be to not include our families and began to plan a slightly larger affair which went from 4 to 40 people in about ten minutes. This expansion resulted in the amazing experience that sharing our wedding with our families was to bring us.
The second miracle was that my daughter and son-in-law, who would not be able to attend the wedding due to a prior commitment, let me know that they would be sending their daughters, Lyle and Mason and Weslie’s mother, Patti – my best friend, to be part of the ceremony. What a gift it was to have my girls and Pattie standing beside me as Tom and I commit our lives to each other. My granddaughter, Lyle, who misses her O’Poppy terribly said: “You mean I get to have a Grandpa again?” A few days before the wedding we received an unexpected call from Tom’s daughter-in-law, Carrie, telling us that she and Brian would be able to make it after all and would be driving in from Missouri for the celebration. Tom’s happiness was immeasurable and this was our third Miracle. The Fourth Miracle was when two of my sons who were not able to attend the wedding due to work schedules, (they work together), had an emergency service call in Michigan the week before the wedding. Tom had not met Dave and Matt yet and for them to meet Tom and share some quality time with us before the wedding was a priceless gift to all of us. Of course, they fell in love with Tom and Tom with them. My little heart was filled to overflowing with Joy!
That the Maid of Honor and my two granddaughters made it to Michigan at all was the final miracle. I received a phone call Friday afternoon from Patti saying their flights had been cancelled and they could not get out of Texas due to the weather. I was crushed! Having my girls and Patti there had been such a gift to me and I was deeply disappointed they would not be able to attend. Later that day, I got another call saying they had found a flight out that left Dallas at 9:45pm and would get into Detroit at 1am in the morning. We were back on track! There were many more delays and I sat up until 12:55 waiting for the call letting me know they were on the plane. At 2am I left the house to pick them up at the airport an hour away. We all rolled home about 4 and crashed for a few hours – but my girls had made it!
We were not too much worse the wear when we finally got up and began getting ready for the big day. Tom and I wanted a very small, intimate celebration with close friends and immediate family only. There were few traditional aspects to the event. This was not the first marriage for either of us and we are, after all, “seniors”, but it was a sweet service nonetheless. We were all sitting with the bridal party in the first rows of the sanctuary, (I had decided against walking down the aisle) as Pastor began the service with a meaningful prayer and his wife read what Tom and I had written describing what this union and our families meant to us. Following the reading, Mason sang Ode to Joy while she played her guitar. What a beautiful voice she has and she sang this poignant praise song perfectly. Pastor proceeded with a personalized service. He had known Tom and Dorothy for ten years, so he knew how emotional a time this was for Tom’s family due to the loss of his dear wife a year and a half ago. The emphasis of Pastor’s message was not only on our union but also the union of our families; my own family of parents and brothers and sisters, but also my extended Texas family that Archie had brought into my life so many years ago. After all, Archie’s first wife was my best friend and Maid of Honor. Everyone enjoyed that bit of irony. As the service ended, I wasn’t sure what to do next but just then my youngest granddaughter said, “Gammy, we have to walk up the aisle!” “Oh, right”, I said. And that is what we did. Little Lyle brought it all home.
Aside from the Miracles were the many blessings we received throughout the day. My precious new Step-daughter-in-law, Novenda arranged to have photo’s taken by herself, a professional photographer, and by her partner in their photography business. I had not made any arrangements for photo’s relying on the snapshots of friends and family members that they would take on their cell phones. But Novenda, had other plans, and she is gifting us with professional photos. The reception was held in the banquet room of the only non-profit restaurant in the country, the Junction of Hope. This restaurant is staffed by special needs adults. The woman who runs it owns a group home for these adults and they are all employed at the restaurant – such a beautiful, useful and cooperative idea. Tom’s son, Brian, led us all in a prayer of Thanksgiving before the meal and he was inspired to include the theme of connected families that the Pastor had invoked during the service. It touched us all. One more blessing was the generosity of family members who made donations to “Junction of Hope” after enjoying a lovely reception dinner. This brought me to tears. How God uses us will always blow my mind! Tom and I are also deeply touched by the blessings of so many of our friends and family members from all over the globe who sent us well-wishes and congratulations via the internet. Our world has gotten very small and filled with God’s love which he shares through his children, one to another. Tom and I are humbled by the love we have received and would like to thank each and every one of you who were present and who were not present for your gift of love.