It was Christmas of 2012, less than a year ago.

My daughter called shortly before Christmas to tell me that my granddaughter’s boyfriend, who was enlisted in the Air Force, would be coming home on furlong a couple of weeks before Christmas. He then told my daughter that he planned to propose to my granddaughter and wanted to marry her in their home around the holidays.

At the time my daughter wasn’t sure of the exact date. When she let me know I had checked on airline tickets, which were extremely expensive. Mix that in with work and previous commitments, I finally convinced myself that I really didn’t need to be there.

After word of the proposal got around, my granddaughter and her fiancée were gifted a beautiful place in which to have their wedding. The date was set for Dec. 28, 2012. At this time they had only one week to plan the wedding, which already had grown by leaps and bounds. 

My granddaughter wore my daughter’s wedding dress, and because he was in the military, he wore his uniform. The wedding was to be a patriotic red, white and blue color scheme.

Now I was really starting to feel guilty so I sent money for her bouquet and a groom’s corsage along with a blue sapphire necklace and ring for her to wear at her wedding so she would know I was thinking of her and that I was with her in spirit.

Then, right before Christmas, the man I was dating said, “You need to be there for her wedding. There will be too many regrets if you don’t make it.” So the new plan was that we were to leave the day after Christmas. 

I let my daughter know and we decided at this time to make it a surprise.

After spending two 13-hour days on the road, we arrived the night before the wedding. 

The following day after she was all dressed and ready for her big day, I was ushered in as “her surprise”. We all cried, tears of happiness. I know it was the final completion to the best day of my granddaughter’s life. Of course ,it was one of my very best days as well to share in what was such a memorable moment. I’m sure this will be her first and last wedding, as they are a beautiful couple inside and out. 

While this wonderful man who made sure all of this happened, is no longer in my life, I will always remember his kindness and generosity in putting family first. 

Moral of the story: No matter how busy the holidays are, maintain a clear understanding that your “presence” with family and friends is far more important than any “presents” you can give or receive.

I wish each and every one of you the very best for the holidays and all year long.

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