February 13, 2014
Chocolates are eaten, roses are given, and love is a stain of red on the cheeks of many young and old hearts alike. On this Valentine’s Day, while I stuff my face with sugary goodness, I’m thinking of all the ways that my husband and children are my greatest love story. Though my heart was given to him long ago, at just a tender age of twelve, it wasn’t until 2003 that we started our life together. If you’re like me, you like to reminisce upon all the love letters and romantic moments you’ve had with your significant other. But this year, it is his mother that reminds me most of the love I have.
We had a lot of help throwing our wedding together. His mother sewed my wedding dress, and I put on the embellishments. I made all my flower arrangements and bouquets, the bridesmaids’ gifts, the guestbook, ceremony programs, and I did the calligraphy for the invitations - which we also made ourselves. His family catered the entire event, and his sister made our cakes. There were so many people who stepped up to help, and we greatly valued all the work they put into our day because their hands were literally in all of it. But it was my wedding shower where it hit me, “this is forever.” Showers, of any kind, are dangerous places because they make you feel things. And sometimes, they make you cry.
Everyone sat on the edge of their seats as I opened their gifts. We would all ooo and ahhh or laugh. No one told me about the “breaking the ribbons” tradition until half way through; they all thought that was hilarious. Then my soon-to-be mother-in-law handed me a small flat box. The room went quiet, almost reverent. I opened it. Scrawled across the top, in her beautiful left-handed script, was “Ethan’s wife,” written before he knew what a wife even was. I opened it and inside was a handkerchief folded with little ribbons attached along with a poem. I bawled, I think we all did. It was my first family heirloom given to me as part of his family – my husband’s baby handkerchief bonnet he wore home from the hospital.
She gave me such a precious gift, a symbolism of giving me her son. It will pass to one of my children someday, along with our love story. A story not just of the love of two, but the love of many and the family treasures they made and gave along the way.
Midwest Genealogy Center