Butterfly’s Big Day

“Hi!” the familiar voice on the phone sang. “Would you be mad if we got married while you’re here?”

Um, what?

My trip had been planned for a couple of months. The first weekend in November would be a slow time for them, and after the gardening season had ended for me. We were going to see a little bit of the town where they are living, do some shopping for the baby, and fill up their freezer with food. You know, Mom Stuff…

Now, 2 weeks before my trip, it seemed we had other plans!

Joe’s grandparents would be driving through the same weekend, returning to Massachusetts from a Florida vacation. They had called her Favorite Uncle, who could make it then, too.

So, as my dear Parisian friend Florence likes to say, “Why Not?”

The Southern Belle Wedding Chapel

While I scurried around Rhode Island to find something to serve as a Mother of the Bride outfit, the kids set about finding wedding garb of their own, and a place to hold the ceremony. The Southern Belle Wedding Chapel fit the bill – cute, inexpensive, and all-inclusive packages. You’d never guess that it’s in an industrial park, would you? The ladies that run this place were great. One of them was the photographer, and she was very good. They even supplied the Pastor!

My son-in-law. That still sounds strange...

Sarah’s dress and Joe’s suit came from a thrift store – $45 for both. After I got there on Thursday night, we bought a grocery-store cake for celebrating after the ceremony. A trip to Hobby Lobby provided a bride and groom for the top of the cake – as well as that awesome butterfly Sarah wore in her hair!  I told them they should write a book about how to have an inexpensive wedding… 

The Barefoot Bride

The ceremony was lovely. Sarah waited until we were all at the chapel before asking her Uncle Jody to walk her down the aisle. (Yes, the Big Guy teared up a little at that…)We got to meet Joe’s grandparents, Ronald and Priscilla, who are awesome people who love to laugh; and Jody’s friend Cassie (NOW can I say GIRLfriend, you two?). Sarah and I have agreed that we want to keep her, no matter what Jody wants…

We did it!

 In the blink of an eye, it was a done deal. The pastor said,”I give you, Joseph and Sarah Steinmetz!” And we all cried and cheered. Later, at the house, we raised a toast – sparkling cider,of course – to those not present, who we all know were there with us in spirit…

A little while later, Joe’s grandmother filled me in on why they decided to do this now, instead of waiting until after Niko’s birth, like they had planned.  When they were in Massachusetts last month, she reminded Joe of the story of a family member who found herself in the same situation some years ago. The father of her child died before she gave birth, and no amount of sworn statements by the man’s parents could get the child legally recognized as his after the fact. She also solved the “But we can’t afford a ring” dilemma by sending them to search through her jewellery box. All I can say is, “Priscilla, you rock!”

Things have been difficult for these kids since they arrived in Tennessee last summer. The jobs they were promised never materialized. They’ve been living off their savings, choosing to stay only because there was a place to live, and the best prenatal care system for poor women in the country. Two days before I arrived, they learned that the house they’ve been renting is going to be foreclosed on the first week of December. They are making plans to move back, to live with Joe’s dad until they can find something else.

But you’d never know it from their smiles…

Facing the World...Together

Click here for a link to all the other pictures – there are lots!

Whoops! Looks like I forgot to do photo credits!

Photos 2, 3, and 9 – Joe (AKA Jody) Leslie

Photos 4, 5, 6, and 8 – the lady from the chapel whose name Sarah needs to send me…

Photos 1 and 7 – me


12 thoughts on “Butterfly’s Big Day

  1. yes…..

    ummmm YES! ! ! ! ! ! !


    little something in my eye …………..

  2. What a fun and beautiful wedding! I’m a big believer in quick and simple…..I put mine together in 4 days and we’re going on 29 years now. So far so good!

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