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I was thrilled and honored to be Ann’s maid of honor. From kindergarten on, Ann and I have been inseparable — we have shared laughs, tears, adventures, broken hearts, and I can safely say that I have considered myself a member of Ann’s family thanks to the thousands of miles we spent in the back of the family suburban traveling to softball and basketball tournaments. Sports and school kept us so close, even after high school we spent lots of time in the library studying and a little bit less (okay, a lot less) time in the gym together. But we did still find time to work out together, kickboxing, climbing, biking, and whatever else we could weave into our schedule. It is bittersweet to start a new page of our friendship now that we aren’t neighbors and classmates — now that we don’t have school and sports to mandate time together. But I’m excited that Ann is so happy – and anyone who has seen pictures or was at the wedding knows that she was absolutely stunning on her wedding day. She was breathtaking, and even brought a few tears to my eyes when I saw her coming towards us down the aisle.
Once Ann started dating Joe, I could see this change in her. She was still the same silly, smiling, beautiful friend but now she had this ambition to do these crazy things that my 4.0, A+ , never misses a class or practice friend would do. Joe seemed to bring Ann alive. At first, it made me nervous. Watching them interact and hearing about all of the outrageous trips and experiences they had together made me feel at ease. Ann was so happy, genuinely radiant. As she excitedly shared with me the stories about spending the night in a freezing cold cave in the Wind Rivers, scuba diving in the Bahamas, climbing routes she would have never tried otherwise, and jumping out of airplanes alone — things that truly exposed her adventurous spirit and allowed me to see she was an even more incredible woman of God than I imagined. As Ann continued to trust Joe, I found myself warming up to him too. Soon enough, there I was jumping out of an airplane (twice even), and spending 18 hours in my climbing harness cuddling for warmth in silence trying to fight a poor attitude, then giggling uncontrollably when “nature called” on the top of a cliff.
Ann and Joe have an appropriately named Wild Love Story, and even though it feels like when she got married I had to give my best friend, my favorite person, my second half, someone who knows every single detail about me (and vice versa), the one friend I can call for everything — a major part of my life away, I’m doing my best to embrace it as gaining a new friend in Joe, who is such an important (lets be honest — he’s the most important now) person in Ann’s life. I will continue to pray for them – for their safety, for their love to continue to grow, that Christ will continue to be evident and the center of their relationship, and that throughout their marriage they will continue to inspire those they are around to stretch and grow even if its uncomfortable. It was such a blessing to be standing next to her and representing her as the maid of honor.
Since Ann is extremely organized, being the maid of honor was basically stress free. I didn’t have a single complaint about the things she asked for help with. It was so much fun to help try on dresses, pick out flowers, practice her hair, and make sure all the details for the big day were perfect. I was so amazed at how calm and collected she was throughout the whole process. Once she was finally ready, we snuck her into the waiting tent. I was privileged enough to be the “peeker” to see when people were sitting, make sure Joe didn’t sneak around the corner for a look, and got to savor the last moments of her un-married life. We kept asking how she was feeling/what she was thinking and her response was perfect: “I’m being the duck” I knew right away what she was talking about, but she explained. “You know how a duck is sitting on the water and when you are looking at it you think it looks graceful and calm but under the water its legs are paddling like crazy? Yep… the duck.” Leave it to Ann to not only elegantly fool us all about her nerves, but of course she had to use an illustration with a critter in it.
The whole ceremony and reception was flawless. The vows, the braided cord, the first dance, even a break dancing gorilla. Oh and perhaps the most impressive surprise: a helicopter exit from the send-off brunch on Sunday morning. Congratulations again you guys, it was so incredible to be a part of your big day!