Twenty years ago today, (after a two-year courtship) I married my best friend, the lovely love of my life, my co-dreamweaver, Mimi DiRaimondo (an Irish-Sicilian beauty), in Rockford, Illinois. We were married at Holy Family Catholic Church (her family’s parish). We had a long but joyous Catholic wedding Mass with a lot of music (as a music minster/liturgical musician) that was a must for us (both musicians). It was the happiest day of my life with such a blend of overwhelming emotions, especially faith, hope, and love; also peace, the peace of finally finding your lifelong mate after searching long and far. So blessed to have her with me and I cannot imagine life without her. She’s a wonderful and supportive wife, mother, pharmacist (even in her “pharmacy phrenzies” as she calls ’em), best friend, and lover (and I LOVE HER!)
Parenthetical puzzles: (Why in the world would she say yes to a crazy Neanderthal like me, a caveman lawyer, a REALLY crazy runner, and a starving musician?)
We had an amazing gathering of family and friends for our wedding. We got some amazing photos and video. And unforgettable memories and moments when TIME LITERALLY STANDS STILL. For example, my parents surprising us by singing and serenading “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” at our rehearsal dinner (no dry eyes in the room during that). Like our first dance to Huey Lewis and the News’ “World to Me” (we’re off-the-beaten path, The Road Not Taken people). Ironically, that song has “all the tea in China” in the lyrics which strangely foretold that we would later end up in China adopting a daughter(and bringing home a lot of Chinese tea…among other things). Another wonderful memory is the strong bonding between our two large families (Mimi’s the youngest of 5, I’m oldest of 7) our wedding weekend. It was a true celebration complete with Jordan almonds for guests (Italian-Sicilian wedding tradition) and Batman & Robin capes for the toast by Mike, my brother and best man (his speech was called “Robin’s Replacement” about Mimi replacing him as my “Robin”).
There were other affectionate moments in the past 20 years like the two of us persuading my family that “ewok” is a legitimate word in Scrabble by lovingly re-enacting the love ewoks have for each other (with public displays of affection of course! and reminders from “Return of the Jedi”) in front of our own family. (I’m sure this was sickening to my 4 sisters!) We were allowed to use ewok as a word and get the points so we must have been persuasive!
The morning of our wedding of course, I had to have my last “bachelor run”. It was about a 6-mile run (or was it a 10k?) with “the guys” meaning anyone who would run with me. Mostly this was college friends running with me along with my brothers. I don’t know what made me think of it, just wanted to experience one last run while single. There was some huffing and puffing involved by the participants but it was all in good fun.
Since then, my wife has also become a runner, running 2 or 3 half-marathons and many other races. We like to run together but don’t get to very much.
Funny story: my Chrysler New Yorker that I drove to Rockford for our wedding was one of those “talking cars” (“a door is a ajar”, “your fuel is low”). However, somehow, my car never spoke to me after I arrived in Rockford for the wedding. It just abruptly stopped talking. Perhaps the car was actually jealous of being displaced by my wife?!?
Time sure flies. And time quickly rolls on. Life is short, treasure every precious moment with your loved ones. None of us know how much time we really do have to tell those close to us that we love them so tell them now before it is too late.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve learned that marriage is really difficult work and that it takes effort, determination, and looking way down the road with your dreams and goals as a couple. Teamwork makes your dreams work! But marriage’s powerful, enriching, life-changing effect has made me into a new person and I truly believe that I would be lost without my “better half”. One real test or challenge of a strong marriage is to try to find ways to extend the “honeymoon” so it never ends. And so let our honeymoon continue forever. Hopefully, with God’s help and grace, I pray that we will be perpetual honeymooners.
With eternal loving gratitude and thanks to my beautiful, wonderful wife, without whom I would be simply either be a) a lonely hermitic hobbit, b) an unloved E-W-O-K, or c) a messy Murphy,