15 years ago today was the happiest day of my life. I awoke nervous and anxious. My buddy Sal came over to the house to help me through the day. When it was time we left and drove to the country club where all of my friends and family gathered to witness if I would actually go through with it. I was more than happy to do so. My cousin Paul and I had a pact that neither of us would get married until we were 30, and I happily broke that pact that evening for even stronger vows; those that would last a life time.
I met the love of my life on April 14th of the previous year. It was a Friday night and all of my friends were meeting at Seville Quarter to hang out. Those that knew me in High School would not recognize the shy introverted boy they once knew. I was confident and cocky and very happy being me. Honestly, I wasn't looking for a relationship. But when she came up to the bar, I was captivated. She was warm and engaging and the smile that was framed by her auburn hair caught my attention. Seriously caught my attention. As we talked she asked my what my hair looked like out of the pony tail i was wearing, so I showed her. I guess I thought that I was cool sporting that late 90's mullet. Whatever. It started the journey. She sang with Rick Holt that night further cementing my desire for her. I can't quite explain it, but she seemed perfect for me.
After that, we were inseparable. We talked on the phone all week and spent the entire weekend together. She taught me how to eat sushi, and I taught her that libraries can be any size. It was in the summer that I was sure of my attachement to her and on a trip to Atlanta I gauged her interest. We had spent the day rafting down the Chattahoochee with her good friends Joe and Denise (a trip which she spent half the day hurling into the river). We were driving home when I asked, "Hypothetically, if I were to ask you to marry me, what would you say."
"Hypothetically? Hypothetically, I would say yes." Ok so I chickened out a little bit, but I did have my answer. Now to do it right. But that would take some planning.
I did all of the traditional things, I talked to her father Nunzio (whom we all still miss) and with his help planned a Christmas engagement. We were going to visit her family in New York for Christmas and he would take us into the city. At the tree in Rockefeller Plaza I would drop the question. Months of planning went into this. The night before we left, I took her to St. Anne's Catholic church in Pensacola to see the lights. I was nervous about taking the ring on the plane and walking through the city. What if I got mugged?!? Suddenly the moment struck me, and just outside the chapel doors where there is an alcove, I dropped to one knee and officially asked, "Will you marry me?" Her dad was mad that I did it when he wasn't there, but I think he forgave me.
Then the planning began. Finally on Sept 14, 1996 it all came together.
"Laura Rose Rossi, do you take this man to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."
"Charles Anthony Lynn, do you take this woman to have and to hold, from this day forward.."
"Hold on. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."
I won't lie, marriage isn't easy. You have to work at it. There are times when you feel slighted or under-appreciated, and you just have to think that your partner has had those same feelings. Everything takes work. I don't regret a moment of the last 15 years. 2 cities, 3 moves, 4 houses, 15 jobs, 7 cats, 4 rats, 1 dog, 1 rabbit, 1 turtle, and 3 of the most beautiful children one could ask for.
I would thank her for a full life, but I know that there is much more to come. Instead, I'll just thank her for all that ever was, is, and forever will be. Laura, Happy Anniversary, I love you more than life itself. I eagerly look forward to the next 15 and beyond. You are and will always be my Smart, Sweet, Sexy Princess (Queen).