Happy Leap Day! You know, that weird extra day we get every four years? (There are various rules about this, 2000 wasn't a Leap Year because it's a century marker and divisible by four. Or something.) Right. It's today. And it was on this day twenty years ago that my parents decided "Oh what the hell! We have a three and a half year old, let's get hitched!" Actually, as the story goes it was all my grandmother's idea, but that's another story entirely.
My parents decided to have a cheapie wedding because in 1988 we didn't have a lot of money. So they invited friends and family and everyone else who wanted to come along, dragged them all to City Hall, and then dragged them all back to our tiny two room apartment for a party. (I believe the biggest extravagance at the reception was shrimp cocktail that my mother prepared in advance.) I've been to many weddings (I was a flower girl in every family wedding including my parents and I have a huge family and my friends keep getting married) but my parent's always holds a special place in my heart. For starters, it is always referred to as "Our Wedding" because I stood in between them as they exchanged their vows. And also because it was more about celebrating their union than showing off. They didn't do anything fancy and the entertainment came in the form of my father, uncles, and cousin playing guitar, harmonica and singing. It was no frills and everyone had a great time. And, on top of everything else, because they got married on Leap Day at City Hall, it was covered by the news. When they asked my parents why they decided to get married on Leap Day my father replied, "Because it's cheaper! You only have to do something every four years!" Classy.
He kept his word, though. On my parent's first and second anniversary's they threw huge parties. My mother would make these fancy invitations on the computer and send them out in large envelopes. Most of the people who had been at the original wedding would come back to party all over again. The food would be better because my mother would have more time to prepare and my father would make a spice cake with cream cheese frosting. My parents knew how to throw a really awesome party.
Sorry to blather, but I'm thinking about all this because I got an e-mail from my grandmother today which ended with this:
Today is leap year day. Your parents got married 20 years ago, and
what a memorable event that was! I wonder if your 3-year-old memory
was able to keep any of it.
While I don't remember all of it, I do remember a lot more than I think most three year old children would. And I'm happy about that. But it's a mixed thing. Next month marks the six year anniversary of my father's death. I wonder what my life would be like if things hadn't gone down the way they did. I wonder if my parents would still be together right now. If so, we are missing out on one hell of a party.
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7 years ago