Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A best friend's wedding

Recently, I had the chance to attend the wedding of the girl who was my best friend from fifth grade through high school. This is the person who sat with me at lunch every day in elementary school, listened for hours to my teenage angst, and dreamed with me about the future. She was a friend who in some ways was very different from me –– in religious perspectives, athletic ability, hair color, height. But, we had fun talking about boys, listening to music, and exchanging ideas. Sometimes with all our differences we marveled that we were such good friends, but somehow we stuck together and I believe made each other better. Our unique backgrounds seemed to make the friendship more interesting.

Still, at moments during the last several months I questioned spending the money to fly from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Utah for the wedding, partly because Renn and I are trying to save up enough for the down payment on a house and partly because, since we're not as close as we once were, I wondered if she'd really care. But, I suppose what was important is that I cared. I'm so grateful my husband never stopped encouraging me to go to the wedding, and that we were blessed that he got a new job that allowed us to afford to do so. I'm also grateful for my parents who babysat, sent their love, and loaned me their car. There was something so sweet about seeing such a significant person to me on one of her most important days. I was glad I could show my love and support in person.

I was relieved when Lexi's mom immediately came up to me to thank me for coming when I arrived. Other of Lexi's longtime and newer friends, as well as her extended family members whom I'd met over the years, also welcomed me. So many memories came back and I felt touched as I saw the gentle grace with which Lexi handled her wedding. She chose what she did carefully, regardless of tradition, and decided instead of gifts to encourage donations to one of two charities, in the newlyweds honor and in honor of her new husband's mother who passed away recently. The blue wild flowers she chose for her bouquet matched her eyes and her outdoorsy, natural personality, as did her simple, elegant dress and jewelry. She kept her wedding small, which gave it an intimate, one-on-one feeling, which is the kind of person Lexi is. It also allowed her time to visit with her guests. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, she had her favorite, flourless chocolate cake. Her uncle, a minister, married her in an outdoor ceremony up Big Cottonwood canyon that emphasized Lexi's view of marriage as a beautiful, important life commitment.

I saw Vanessa, Laura and Sarah, whom I hadn't seen for years and it was fun to see what they were doing with their lives.

I also met the man Lexi married and liked him, and was impressed that his father and brother seemed like good, nice people. That wasn't a surprise since they are from the Midwest after all! From what Lexi has told me, his mother was an amazing woman as well. It was also nice to see my friend's parents, whom I hadn't seen for years, and who while I was growing up fed me endless plates of nachos, took me to University of Utah basketball games, and shuttled Lexi and me all over.

And, of course, I stayed to enjoy the dancing. I was glad I did, as it gave me some time afterwards to talk one-on-one with Lexi and connect with her on a deeper level. Plus, she thanked me for staying the entire time.

I wish Lexi and Mason a courageous, joyful, beautiful life together.

I'm glad they've found a true friend in each other, and I'm grateful for the friend Lexi was to me during one of the most formative, and in some ways difficult, times of my life.

"Hey, ain't it good to know that you've got a friend? People can be so cold. They'll hurt you and desert you. Well, they'll take your soul if you let them, oh yeah, but don't you let them." – James Taylor

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My wedding cake

My wedding cake
My sister, Christie, made my wedding cake -- all five layers of it. It was fondant, covered in fresh red roses and green ribbon. For a more modern look she chose to make a square cake.

Trip up the canyon

Trip up the canyon
OK, here's the truth, what Renn and I really look like when we wake up. After our first backpacking trip as a couple, Renn's hair looked like grass growing on his head and mine lay flat and matted as we walked out of the mountains.

Karen and Renn in Mexico

Karen and Renn in Mexico
This is us on our last day at the Hummingbird Inn in Maneadero, Mexico. It was a fun week of service with Engineers Without Borders. Renn and other USU engineering students helped put in drain fields at an orphanage, The Gabriel House, for children with severe disabilities. I helped dig some holes and wrote an article for the newspaper about the experience.