Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Little Closure

As I was perusing over this blog from my tour in Iraq in 2007-2008, I discovered several "Easter Eggs"... rough drafts of posts that for one reason or another never got posted. I have decided to post certain ones that I still feel are worthy. One in particular is one I began writing about my marriage to the pen pal I corresponded with while in Iraq. For nine or ten months we wrote back and forth and she provided me with inspiration and a pleasant distraction from some of the things that consume a soldier's thoughts while in combat.

This post was drafted around July of 2008, shortly after I returned and shortly after I married the love of my life and the rock that I have depended on during my battle with post combat issues. With her support and understanding (a stern hand or "The Look"), I have become a better man, better husband, better father, better Christian and better soldier!
July 9th, 2008

I know it has been awhile and I have been back for quite some time now, 8 months to be exact, but I wanted to add a little closure to my blog. On June 28th, 2008 my girlfriend, my children and her children (seven of us in all) packed into her Dodge Intrepid and drove to Eureka Springs in Arkansas and I made her my wife. The ceremony was small but the day was so incredible. We got there in plenty of time and we were all ready to get out and stretch (in the rain). We decided to look for a spot to eat.

We found a cozy little BBQ spot heading out of town. It was an entertaining atmosphere with an elderly woman singing Karaoke; including a loud, raspy rendition of Eric Clapton's "Cocaine". In a not so coincidental coincidence, our daughter Ashley was glancing over the hundreds of one dollar bills stapled to the ceiling which included signatures, dates and some had little notes. One of the bills directly above our table was a couple who wed on June 28th; the day of our wedding. It was just another of the "millions" of coincidences we have experienced in our young relationship that we call "God Moments"... just a time we have come to accept that all the trials and hardships of our previous lives were His plan to get us together.

The wedding was a small service surrounded by nature with us and our children. It was raining that day, but we were undeterred. Tammy was insistent that we were married on 6-28-08... She has a 'thing' about even numbers. This was the last opportunity we had to have all our children together for our family's union and have all the numbers right.

The big moment had arrived and as we stepped out onto the little dock overlooking a coi pond with several large coi and a big bullfrog bellowing slow, deep croaks the rain stopped and a little slice of the sun peaked out. We all lined up in a row and with my sons, Billy and Taylor beside me, we united clans. Through the ceremony, Billy was distracted by the fish and kept tugging at my shirt asking if he could pet the fish. I attempted to delay his attention a little while longer. Hearing a few giggles I glanced down to see him licking the rain off the hand rail behind us.

As the service ended the rain started drizzling again and we crammed in the car for the two and a half hour drive back through the beautiful mountains of Northwest Arkansas; our first trip as a family. Driving back I was amazed at the blessing God has given me as I glanced around the car at our children all together and feeling the tight grip my wife had of my hand and her beaming smile from ear to ear. It was a beautiful day!