I met Annie when my husband Ike invited me to her graduation in Fayetteville, to meet his dad and stepmother. I remember my first conversation with her, in her high school bedroom. While she was fishing around in her closet for something to wear, she asked me how long Ike and I had been dating. I answered, a little embarrassed, “About two weeks.” She glanced at me, looked back in her closet, and announced knowingly, “Ike dates a lot of girls, but none of them ever last very long.”
That was over thirteen years ago. She has been my sister-in-law for the past twelve. Our relationship was primarily family-oriented for years; catching up and celebrating during the holidays and vacation. When she moved to Little Rock five years ago, we started to become close friends. I saw her more often, and even though I was busy in residency and having babies, she became a fixture in our household, joining us not only for important occasions but often just to hang out, have dinner, and chat. As my daughter grew older Annie started inviting her to sleepovers – they colored, watched movies, listened to music, and painted nails. I enjoy hearing Annie talk about the serious questions Sicily started asking her at three, and feel so lucky that Sicily has Annie to broach important topics with; someone outside of her parents, to get a broader worldview. Annie has fantastic answers.
Annie has many characteristics that make her a fabulous aunt, friend, daughter, sister, and soon-to-be wife: she is intelligent, adventuresome, petite, beautiful, stylish, loving, patient, calm, and has amazing taste in books, music, and gifts. Dave must be pretty smart too, because it didn’t take him long to figure this out. I remember a story she told me not long after they started dating: that she came home to a freshly cleaned house full of candles, flowers, and a gift from Box Turtle. She was breathless, smiling, and her blue eyes sparkled. At that moment, I knew tomorrow was inevitable.
Dave has joined many family dinners and celebrations over the past year, and he quickly won over the most important people in the family – the ones that can see people for who they really are, without all the social trappings of adult interaction: my children, John and Sicily. He shares job and recreation interests with my husband. We have met his family on many occasions, and they are truly wonderful. To Dave and Annie. They have made a big, important decision - to live the rest of their years, in this life, together. I look forward to supporting them, and wish them much happiness.