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Every little girl dreams of her wedding day. A white gown, a beautiful bouquet, a big cake and a champagne toast with friends and family gathered around; all figure into the vision. The future bride may conjure these things a thousand times in making her way to adulthood, promising herself that this is exactly how it is going to be. She'll also develop hundreds of conjurings of the moment she meets her own Prince Charming -- the white horse, the chiseled jaw, the rescue of a damsel in distress
There's only one problem with such vivid and well-planned dreams -- life doesn't always agree to play along with one's vision. Sometimes love lines up beside you as you march along with an M16 rifle in your arms and a 60-pound rucksack on your back. In the briefest of terms, this is how my oldest daughter came to be married just a stone's throw from an Army base on a state park beach somewhere in Florida with no one but a craigslist officiant and a random stranger to bear witness to the blessed event. This, however, was not the end to the beginning for Charlotte and Andrew.
Little girls who grow up to become Army officers don't get there by dropping their dreams. If there is one thing I've learned in watching Charlotte's transformation, it's that her training has greatly expanded her ability to assess, adapt and improvise. Where there is a will there is a way, and even though the real business of becoming a missus had already gone down, the dream lived on. Last weekend, when the nation didn't need them for a few days, the 10-month "newlyweds" came home and Charlotte got to wear that white bridal gown -- her mother's, no less! There was a big cake made by her new sister-in-law, Alyssa, a champagne toast raised by the maid of honor, her own little sister, Sylvia, and everything else this particular little girl ever hoped for in her vision of the perfect wedding -- including a walk down the aisle on the arm of a guy who had watched her dream those dreams right from the beginning. To the honored guests it couldn't have been more "real" had we all been there on the beach back in February.
Duty calls and a proper honeymoon will have to wait, but when it does happen I'm sure it will be everything our little girl has dreamed! Congratulations Charlotte and Andrew!
(Be sure to check out John's weekly podcast "Out There In It" on TheVoiceOf-HolmesCounty.com.)