Jazlynn and Juanita were thrilled to hear about my engagement. They insisted on taking me dress shopping right away.
After trying on what felt like 100 dresses I finally found the perfect one. I was practically jumping up and down with excitement when I saw myself in the mirror.
A few days before the wedding mom and daddy arrived. I was so happy to see them, I had missed them both so much. JR stayed back to tend to the farm. Mindy had planned on coming but the twins came down with the chicken pox so she ended up staying behind. But mom assured me that they sent their love and congratulations.
My niece Sara came along though and it was great seeing her. I can’t believe how much she has grown up since I have been gone.
We decorated the barn for the wedding and reception. It looked beautiful. Just like the wedding I had always dreamed of as a little girl.
Jonathan and I wrote our own vows.
“Jonathan, when I first came to Appaloosa Plains I didn’t know what to expect. I had never been away from my family before and I was worried I would feel so alone. But right away you made me feel welcome, you were there for me whenever I needed you. Whether it was someone to help weed the crops, chase away burglars in the middle of the night, or just make me laugh when I was feeling sad. I can’t imagine a moment without you in my life. You once told me that I would find my special someone — the one person that I was meant to be with for the rest of my life. I am so happy that someone turned out to be you.”
“Anna, my parents died when I was 16 and from that moment on I struggled to let anyone in. I didn’t want to end up in the foster system so I ran away, hitch-hiked until I found myself in Appaloosa Plains. I was hiding out in your Uncle’s barn for three weeks before he found me – though I always suspected he knew I was there the whole time. Rather than turn me in he put me to work and gave me a place to sleep. When I turned 18 he told me that I needed to get a real job if I wanted to stay so I applied to the police academy. He had such an impact on my life but the biggest was when he gave you his farm. The minute you walked into that barn and I saw you I knew that I needed you in my life. I hadn’t really felt alive after my parent’s died but meeting you changed all that. You made me whole again.”
“Most beautiful vows ever,” my mother gushed.
“They are so perfect for each other,” Jazlynn added.
Following our vows the rest of the ceremony went by in a blur. Before I knew it the minister was saying, “And you may now kiss the bride.”
Following the ceremony everyone enjoyed a meal and cake followed by dancing. We had a dance where all the couples got on the dance floor. Then couples married a year or less were asked to step away, then five years, then 10 and so on. Finally it came down to couples married 50 years. It was just my mother and father on the dance floor. I hope Jonathan and I are that happy 50 years from now.
As the party was winding down Jonathan and I snuck away for a little alone time. I am so glad I stuck to my beliefs and waited until I was married. It was so worth the wait.
My parents stayed for a few days after the wedding in order to spend some more time with me before returning to Riverview. Before they left Sarah approached me.
“Aunt Anna, if it is ok with mom and dad do you think I could stay here in Appaloosa Plains with you? I want to study Music and Appaloosa Plains High School has this amazing music program that I just can’t get in Riverview. I know you are a newlywed and that the last thing you want is someone else around but I promise you won’t even know I am here and I can help you with the crops and with Chestnut. Please!”
“I will talk it over with Jonathan and your parents and see what we can do.”
“Thanks, you are the best.”
After talking it over with Jonathan and JR and Mindy we agreed that Sarah could stay here with us.
Jonathan decorated a room for her and everything.
I think letting Sarah stay was a great decision as I think I am going to need all the help I can get in a few months.