Drew and I are trying to raise money to pay for our wedding. It may seem superficial and unimportant to some, but for us, this day and the reason for it is something neither of us thought we would ever find. We have both been married before, although both marriages were doomed to failure from the beginning. Each of us had given up on finding the love that other people talk about, given up on hoping for forever. And then, we found each other.
When Drew and I met on January 1, 2011, neither of us had any illusions or expectations for something long term and involved. I was nearing my graduation from nursing school, and would then be commissioned in the Army and moving to an as-yet-unknown location. Drew was still grieving the loss of his mother from lymphoma just two months before. We each had a toxic marriage and contentious divorce under our belts and two children to support. The first night we met, after the initial awkwardness, we talked for hours. Literally. He says that he knew he had found someone special that very night, but it was months before he ever told me. We continued seeing each other every other weekend (he lived 3 hours away) until June, when I learned the Army would be sending me to Texas. Me, trying to be practical and keep my emotional distance, said that we would "maybe work it out, who knows". He, realizing the truth of what we had found in each other, said that he could never hope to find the love and acceptance that he had found in me with anyone else, and that he was fully prepared to move to Texas or Timbuktu as long as it was by my side. I argued no, saying that he didn't know what it was like to be "married to the Army", that he would be away from his family, that I wasn't as amazing as he thought. And he argued back just as much, that he loved me, and my kids, and that we could do anything, together. And we have. I am thankful every day for this man who loves me so deeply and without reservation. I am so thankful that he has allowed me to hold and protect his heart. Even my worst days are eased by his love and understanding. I've gone my whole life wondering if this kind of love was something made up by story tellers and exaggerated by childhood. After all of the hurt and heartache, I have found my home.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
We could, of course, get married at the JP and call it a day. It's all the same, right? Not for us. Not this time. It's hard to convey through a typed message to anonymous readers how truly important this marriage is to both of us, to our children, but I hope that somehow, our message will resonate with someone. I married my ex-husband at the courthouse, with no witnesses. While it meant something to me, apparently not so much to him. With this man, who has moved across the country to be with me, who has left all he has ever known and been thrust into a military life that he doesn't understand, I want the witnesses, the public venue. I want our friends and family that have been with us through our separate trials and sorrows to see us join our lives in celebration.
We have already cut our expenses to rock bottom to save money. We've been collecting cans and donating plasma when we can. My father and his family have minimal, if any, contact with me (due to my previous choice of marriage partner and our mixed race children). Drew's family is willing, but mostly unable to help us. Neither of us are looking for extravagance or ridiculous amounts of conspicuous consumption. We just want to have a ceremony on the beach in Florida, and a reception with plenty of dancing and hugging and well wishes afterward. We've been buying little bits and pieces here and there to try and make things come together, but weddings are far more expensive (even when done as cheaply as possible) than I had ever imagined. With your support, we can have the simple celebration that we want, surrounded by friends and family, and start the rest of our lives together.
We want to thank you for at least reading our story. If you should decide you want to help us achieve our goal, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I will personally write a thank you note to each contributor. The minutes that I spend expressing our thanks will never truly pay back the gracious, selfless gift that you have given to support our dream, and the beginning of our future together. Thank you.