Today, July 16, 2018, Papa Bear and I are celebrating our thirty year wedding anniversary. Koda and Summer got the chance to watch how it all began. This past Saturday we were at our cabin, just the four of us. Papa Bear, me, and the puppies. As a surprise, I had the VHS tapes of our wedding ceremony and reception converted into DVDs. I probably should have gone straight to thumb drives, since the DVD players may one day also become obsolete. It was a relief to have the recording of our special day safely on discs, I no longer worried about a nightmare of the brown tape wrinkling, stretching or breaking if we tried to play it on an antique VCR. It does not take away from the fact that quality of the audio and visual technology has vastly improved over the years. So right away, we jump back in time as the DVD begins to play.
“Special Way” by Kool & the Gang sets the scene. The images on the large television are of our twenty-something selves. My hair was so long and curly, my waist so tiny, a vision of the princess I felt like that day in the white gown with puffy sleeves and a long train. We sat on the sofa smiling broadly, both of us transported back thirty years ago. He told me I looked beautiful, I told him how handsome he looked in his ascot tie and tux with tails. We laughed at how hot it was that afternoon.
For the next three hours, we relived our special day. Summer was on my lap, and Koda was wedged up against my leg. The energy in the room was soothing to them. Funny how that energy thing keeps coming up. Sensing we needed to take a short break every now and again, they would go to the door and bark. I welcomed this chance to experience this time travel in short bits. We could savor the moments, and reflect together each time we took the pups out to potty. We reminisced about old friends we had not seen in years, that were having a blast at our wedding. We shared how much we missed the family that was no longer with us. We acknowledged how much everyone has grown up (the flower girl, the young cousins, my parents). I loved watching my dad and I dancing up a storm to Whitney Houston.
The best part about watching this DVD together, for me, was seeing these two young people who had their whole lives together ahead of them, and me the viewer, already knowing the secret to what was in store for them. Four wonderful children, multiple communities across the country they would learn to call home, all the amazing people they would meet. I know how very excited we both were on that day, but I also know that I had no clue what happiness the next thirty years would bring. I also had no idea how hard some days would be, or how strong we could be for one another. I could not have predicted that I would be sitting on the floor of a cabin in Virginia with two Aussiedoodle puppies thirty years later watching this movie.
So after the last dance to the song from the Pointer Sisters, “I’m So Excited,” the young couple dashed off to a waiting limousine through a tunnel of confetti throwing well-wishers. As the final credits of the movie scrolled down the screen the Kool & the Gang song wrapped up the show. Papabear brought me into his arms and we danced in the room, the Aussiedoodle puppies at our feet.