January 9, 1999

In retrospect, I suppose planning to get married in early January in Indiana was probably tempting the fates. As it turned out, however, the snow was beautiful; flakes larger than I’d ever seen before or since, seeming to drop in inches. It was interesting, when about nine inches fell on the night of the rehearsal dinner, that the same storm that served to keep some folks away merely stiffened the resolve of others.

The wedding started at 12:30pm (keeping with tradition of good luck falling on the up-swing of the minute hand,) the reception started at 2:30pm, and by midnight we had asked the DJ to stick around to play a little longer… twice. By 2am we were sitting in one of the hotel rooms, laughing, talking, truly enjoying the company of friends who had too quickly moved away and family members who had always been too far. It was one of the finest moments of our lives and, though we had no idea what lay ahead of us, I was confident that it would be great.

Seven years and four kids later, it’s 2am on January 9 (technically, I guess, the tenth) and I’m driving back from an exhausting week in Florida. Several days with sand between our toes has taken a little of the edge off; left us all breathless and refreshed, that wonderful mix of not wanting to leave and yet still anxious to be home. The truck is quiet, nothing on the radio here in Georgia at this time of night, and with everyone else sleeping I can plainly hear the deep, heavy breathing of sleep above the rolling tires.

Everyone sleeping but Jack, that is, but I didn’t know he was awake until I heard his little voice ask, “Dad, who’s my fairy Godmother?”

“Mary Harbaugh, honey,” I replied. “You remember, Lucy’s mom?”

“Oh yeah. And Lucy’s dad is too, right?”

I smiled, thinking Joel would love to be known as ‘Jack’s other fairy Godmother.’

“Yes, Lucy’s dad is, too.”

Several minutes pass in silence, and I’m thinking he’s gone back to sleep. And then he says “Dad, cough drops are like mints, right?”

No, there was really no way to know what was in store for us seven years ago. And even though I thought it would be great; I really had no idea how great it could be, how great it would be, how absolutely wonderful it is…

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