Let’s face it, the COVID-19 crisis has stifled some of our souls and has certainly changed the way we can celebrate important events with our friends, relatives, and neighbors. It is why, in these crazy times, drive-by car parades have become so popular. These types of parades are a safe way to celebrate and see the loved ones and friends we miss, all while keeping our social distance. And we get to honk our horns and shout out sentiments of love while doing it! Besides, who doesn’t love a parade? It was for this reason that Hubby and I gladly agreed to be a part of our dear friends’ 25th wedding anniversary surprise. We knew it would be fun, but what we didn’t expect was just how much being a part of the experience would mean to us.
One of the ladies in on the surprise suggested that it would be fun if we could all find our veils from our own weddings and wear them during the parade. The idea was that it would make the anniversary couple smile even more when they saw us, and it would be fun for us, too. But from the moment I pulled out mine – a sweet off-white, fingertip-length, simple piece with three layers of tulle and tiny satin-piping trim accent – I was flooded with memories. I spent the rest of the day reminiscing, walking around modeling it, and laughing. My daughter tried it on, and, of course, I cried thinking of the day in the future when, God willing, I will be helping her fasten this “something old” beauty onto her head. (Of course, Hubby didn’t enjoy that part – after all, she is his baby girl.)
After playing pretend was over, I decided to take one of the pictures I had snapped and create a before and after. Before: Young, 30-year-old, fresh-faced bride hopelessly in love and ready to conquer the world together with her man hand-in-hand. After: My current 50-year-old, weathered but wiser version, who I realized is thankfully still hopelessly in love and still ready to conquer the world with my man hand-in-hand. I then showed the picture to my husband to see his reaction. “All I see is the same beautiful woman I married all those years ago.” Yes, he is a keeper! (I even forgave the fact that I was almost positive he wasn’t quite sure how long we have been married. “All those years ago,” ha!)
We drove to the parade meeting place, where we finished putting the last few details onto the car. We lined up and then made our way slowly to the anniversary couple’s street. I stood out the sunroof, veil on my head, and blew bubbles at the neighbors who had started to congregate on their own porches to see what was going on. And then, as we made the turn onto their street, my husband joined the cars in front of us in a symphony of “honks” while we all shouted out wishes for many more happy years. Tears of happiness poured down the celebratory duo’s faces. They poured down mine, too. The honking and screaming continued as we made a second lap by their home after turning around. And before we knew it, the parade was over. Each car went off their own way, but I think it is safe to say that we all took a feeling of joy home with us.
Hubby and I came home and poured ourselves an adult beverage. We toasted to a successful surprise mission, but without either of us saying so, it was much more than that. As our glasses clicked, we were celebrating each other. This parade made us stop and remember why we said “I DO” ourselves almost 21 years ago. (Just in case Hubby is reading and really didn’t remember.) It allowed us to look back on all the ups and downs throughout the years that have brought us even closer. In the midst of all the chaos in the world, we had found a few moments to cherish each other and our relationship. I can’t think of a better date night than that!