Once upon a time there was a little girl with braids and a little boy on a bike. They were in the same class at school even though he was a year older. They played foursquare and tether ball. And dodge ball, but he never threw the ball at her. Then one day there was a note asking her to "go out" with him. Because that's what you called it in the early 80's. She checked the box next to "yes." Then there were puppy-love notes passed and shy smiles given, but very few words spoken between the two. For a long time this continued. Well, at least a long time in pre-teen time. Until one day there was a "break up" that she doesn't remember.
Then he went off to high school. And a year later she did, too, but to a different school. They crossed paths at church and occasionally went to the movies with the same bunch of kids. She still remembered the notes he had written her and wondered about him. And maybe he did the same. She had a crush on the football quarterback and the drama guy and that tall guy in science class. He went out with a girl or two from school. But there was still something there between them.
Then over Christmas vacation, they both went to a youth event and all the kids stayed up all night in the church building watching movies and playing games. And these two, this girl and this boy, talked a little. And the next day, he called her! For the first time ever! And she thought she'd die with nervousness and thought maybe he was a little nervous, too.
And so began their "going out" for a second time in their short lives. She rode next to him in his big, noisy, red truck. They went bowling and to the movies and out to eat fast food. And one night, as they stood on the front porch as he was leaving, he kissed her. And she wondered how she had made it sixteen and a half years without being kissed by him.
They finished school, she at hers and he at his. They worked. They started college. They talked on the phone about all the things that kids talk about. They went on dates. And after a while, they talked of the future.
In May of 1992, he took her to the movies and to eat at their favorite restaurant and for a walk on the boardwalk. And when they got to the middle of the boardwalk, he got down on one knee and, with the moon and stars above, asked the girl to marry him. She smiled and said, "yes."
With their parents' blessing, they planned a July wedding. It was long enough to wait for these two who had been sweethearts for as long as they could remember. So, in eleven weeks, they planned a wedding.
And on July 11th, 1992, the girl married the boy. They stood there, both in white, before their families and friends and made a promise that they had made to each other long before. And she knew it was right when he sweetly comforted her after hot wax dripped on her hand from the unity candle lighting. The day was perfect and they were happy.
For many years after, the two of them lived and worked and grew. They were young and in love and spent time together becoming for each other what neither knew was even possible.
Then after seven and a half years, their world changed. Another person entered their lives. A tiny little person that was half him and half her and wholly theirs. And they had to learn all over what this life was all about.
And a fourth person joined their family 19 months later. And yet another 7 years after that. And with each new person, the girl and boy learned and grew together.
But through it all, this life they lived, they remembered their promise to each other. They survived the poorer and sickness and rejoiced in the richer and health. They loved each other and worked together to honor that vow.
And today, 20 years later, they will rejoice once more as they celebrate that day that forever changed the lives of a girl and a boy.