And because Bastiaan and i went to the Netherlands and i haven't been in full "blogging" mode yet i thought what better way to celebrate our wedding day with the Three times is the Charm Saga!!! Yep, all three stories in one with new pictures! Hope you enjoy, and yes this Thursday were back with new "life experiences"...
Wedding number one;
Some people get married once
Some people get married twice
Some people get married three times to THE SAME guy… and yes this would be me...
How do you get married three times, well, it isn’t because I really wanted too but sometimes life throws you a little curve ball and you just have to go with it…
Bastiaan proposed to me in November of 2007. In a really nice restaurant in Fort Wayne, we had been together for over 6 years and he figured it was time, and so did I, so I said “YES!” (And we got a free dessert from the people sitting next to us in the restaurant which made it extra nice).
We set our date to be on July 5th 2008 so our family and friends would have enough time to come over and book a flight from the Netherlands, Canada or Australia. At that date we would have the party and our church wedding. Of course we just started milking on the 20th of November and everything was still very hectic, exciting and stressful but also an immense adventure and we were loving every moment of it!
Because Bastiaan’s visa was going to expire in February we needed too make sure he would be "safe" and we decided to get married in the Courthouse in Bluffton, just to get the paperwork done. Go to Holland make sure the visa’s were in order and then get “really” married in July. For us this “wedding” was a necessity. We would of preferred to have done it on the same day as our church wedding but if you have so many people coming from abroad you need to give them proper time to make arrangements and plan flights. Telling them in November you are going to get married in February is not enough time, we figured.
We were already flabbergasted when we went to the courthouse to get a marriage license. Question one; ‘Have you been married before?’, ‘ No…’. Question two; ‘Do you have any children?’, ‘No…’ Question three; ‘Do you have mental problems?' ‘HU? NO!!!’. Those questions plus the actual license cost us $9.00 which was shocking (Yes, the price as well as the questions)! They told us now that we had the license we should get our witnesses and we would be ready to go…
On January 18th it was COLD!!! As in we (Dutchies) are not used to this kinda weather! But because I wanted to make sure this was at least a little special, it was our wedding after all, I wore a skirt (never mind the fact that an hour before I was still running around in coveralls on the farm trying to get things in order and Bastiaan was working on fixing a tractor!) and Bastiaan got a nice new shirt and my mom & dad and brother were coming, all dressed up too after running around on the farm all morning. Because of the dairy start up we hadn’t really had the opportunity to meet a lot of new people who could stand in as our witnesses and so my parents were going to be our witnesses.
We agreed with Bastiaan’s parents and my little sister that we would put them on speaker phone when it was time to do the ceremony so they would listen to us say our 'I do’s'. We did not want them to feel left out, but we also didn’t want them to travel two times, after all the June wedding was going to be our “official” wedding, and we rater had them there at that time!
So on this cold day we went to the Bluffton Courthouse and which was another SHOCKER where out of the courthouse and married for the very first time WITHIN 15 (if it lasted that long) MINUTES!
Before Bastiaan and I knew what was going on we were officially married! The only thing I really remember was the major saying those things that we only hear on TV or in the movies, now for real right in front of us which was pretty amazing! And naturally my new husband being very sweet and handsome was amazing too!
After we got out off the courthouse we went to the Mexican restaurant to celebrate and got a great lunch, after that it was pretty much back to business as usual…
Soon after our “Court Wedding” Bastiaan and I picked the venue and the church and met with the priest, picked what we wanted to eat and who we would love to have at our special day and THAT was pretty much the extend of what he wanted and needed to do… (Being a boy and planning weddings apparently doesn’t go together…).
Me and a friend on the other hand decided on getting organized and we got a Marta Steward planning guide (haha, yep) and the next months we were extremely busy getting everything done and ready. In the beginning of April 2008 the first wedding invitations went to our 200 guests all over the world…
On April 15th I got a phone call.
‘Sorry, but you got cancer…’.
Within 5 minutes our whole world as we knew it changed.
Four weeks after getting “the news”, being true several surgeries and debating different types off chemo, we canceled the wedding...
Together we decided to fight this beast first, make sure we were healthy and yes then we would get married, for Real. But at that time we really did not know or realize how bad it was going to be...
Wedding number two;
I had my wedding dress…
It was gorgeous…
It didn’t fit anymore… I was too skinny.
We were done with the first full month of chemo and into our three times a week for 48 weeks "period", and yes, I had survived so far. I also survived the surgeries and yes, I even survived the fact that we cut my hair (all that was left of it) and I found out that I was more vain then I ever thought I was going to be about the whole hair thing.
Apparently losing your hair doesn’t seem too bad until it is gone… And yes, every Sunday Bastiaan would drive me to the farm so I could do the payroll for our boys who so desperately with him, my parents and my brother were trying to run the dairy…
We didn’t even think about the wedding that we were supposed to have in July… We were in FULL SURVIVOR mode.
Our Catholic priest was also in full survivor mode.
On our way to Ohio is a beautiful church. Exactly like we have them in Holland (big, old and tall) and as soon as Bastiaan had asked me to marry him I told him I would love to get married in that particular church. We only had one little problem…. Bastiaan was not raised Catholic…
We met with the priest and explained that we would love to get married in his church and join his parochial. He told us getting married there would be all right if we went to a “marriage session” and he had to ask the bishop. Of course we also would have to go to church every Sunday and raise our “soon to be” kids Catholic… The session is a whole blog post on its own, trust me…
We went to church, went to the session and got to know the priest a bit better. After we got the "news" he came over to our house and we had an ointment for the sick and he told us he would be back and check up on me.
On a particular Tuesday, don’t ask me what Tuesday cause I really don’t know, he told us he would come by and we needed to have my mom and dad present. I had no idea what he was coming to do. I just knew I had to keep my Big Mac down that I had the day before after my nice shot of chemo, and focusing on keeping my body still (from trembling uncontrollably) and try not to fall asleep. That was all I could focus on.
I asked Bastiaan what the priest was coming to do, but he had no idea either. We finally came to the conclusion maybe he wanted to do another ointment of the sick???
But that was not what he came to do…
He arrived with a briefcase, candles, ointment and a booklet. It just didn’t make sense to us.
I was wearing my oldest, and I mean OLDEST, sweater and maybe (I cant be completely sure) I wasn’t even wearing a bra!?! Bastiaan was wearing his favorite (I don’t wanna come out, cow poopie stained) jeans on and mom a dad just arrived from the dairy so they didn’t think about dressing up either. The priest looked a bit confused by our appearances but didn’t say a word.
We all sat down on our couch and he took out all his instruments, lighted the candles and put on his nice “thingy that he wears around his neck” cloak dress. Bastiaan was just looking at my mom and dad and I was just in THE "chemo" zone…
He preformed the ointment for the sick and steamed, and yes I mean STEAMED, like a STEAMBOAT that can’t stop, into: “do you Bastiaan Meeuwis Oostdijck take Leontien Martina Francina Wilhelmina Maria van de Laar to be your wife?”
“Oh no no NO…. You can’t marry us in these clothes, on our couch, without anybody knowing, in poopie stained jeans, without family and friends, ON OUR COUCH!!!”
Bastiaan said “I do”. And so did I. My mom and dad signed the papers he had brought.
I puked and went to bed.
Bastiaan let the priest out.
Mom and dad called my brother (it was too late to call my sister and Bastiaan’s parents in The Netherlands) and went to work at the farm.
Bastiaan and I talked about that day a lot. We figured the priest thought I was in such bad shape (and yes he probably was right), I might join the Good Lord soon, so he better marry us while he could so at least we would be joined together in front of God.
But what this priest did not know is that I am stubborn. As in very, very stubborn. And I wanted to marry my love the right way. In a church. In a white dress that I already had for 6 months. In front of our family. In the presence of our friends. And defiantly DEFIANTLY NOT on our own couch! Bastiaan and I decided to kick this whole cancer thing even harder in the butt so we could do it the proper way.
But with another priest.
All we had to do was fix me…
Wedding number three;
Ever heard of a Rose Ceremony? And NO I’m not talking about the Rose Ceremony at The Bachelor… What about a Hand Fastening Ceremony? No??? Me neither, well until I met our new minister that is!
Being sick sometimes means you meet new people… I know sounds a bit strange but let me tell you how that goes.
My mom and dad had to go to Cleveland to renew their passport. At the Dutch Embassy the met a very sweet gentleman named Arnie. My mom and dad started chatting with Arnie about dairy farming, and ended up talking about me. You have to remember this was in 2008 and emotions of me being sick and undergoing chemo were at the tip's of everybody’s tongues.
Arnie told my mom and dad that he had a dear friend, Mr. John Regan and John was a cancer survivor himself and helping others when or wherever needed. He told them, “If I needed somebody to talk to, I should just call his friend John”.
Well, not long after I decided to give this Mr. John a call. And it was great! Not great because the subject (cancer is NOT a funny subject) of our discussions where so good but because I could relate and he was a very VERY positive and good humored man. I had never seen John, never met him or even knew where he lived, but 'it' and the talking to him felt good.
Soon after we got done with all the chemo in 2009 I asked John, who happened to be a minister, if he would mind coming up to Indiana and marry Bastiaan and me for REAL this time in a little church in front of our family and friends. Luckily he said yes.
A couple of months into planning this wedding John asked me what kind of ceremony we wanted. “We didn’t know, just a nice one would be fine with us”… John suggested two things; a rose ceremony or a hand fastening ceremony??? In the mean time our relationship (John’s and mine) evolved from calling on the phone to writing emails and when I read “Rose Ceremony” I did a double take and thought “OH NO! Anything else then whatever it is that reminds me of the SLIMY BACHELOR (and yes i watched EVERY week...) from TV!!!” So we decided to go with the Hand Fastening Ceremony…
My next email to John was: “And what is the hand fastening thing exactly, do I need to bring a piece of rope?” (yes pretty blunt...)
His answer: “This is a slightly different type of wedding ceremony which is called hand fasting and it is of ancient Celtic origin and it is where we in the USA got the expression "Tying the knot" from, to mean someone is getting married. I have a beautiful white and gold-trim piece of rope specifically designed for use in this ceremony. I drape it over the hands of the bride and groom as you make your vows, then TIE THE KNOT. It is loose enough so you slip your hands out after the vows and I hand it to the best man or maid of honor.”
I think he kinda knew that I had this strange idea in my head about hand fastening after reading all those disturbing Stephen King novels…
I talked to Bastiaan about it, and he thought it would be just fine.
Between October 2009 and May 2010 we had sent new invitations, made a new guest list (because all the great new people we had met running in and out hospitals and operating a large dairy), dusted off my wedding gown that had been moved back and forth between our house and my mom’s house for two years in order for Bastiaan not to see it, did major remodeling to make sure all our friends would have a place to sleep…. Well, I just wanted a new bathroom but I had to give Bastiaan a good excuse… and planned the wedding of our dreams.
On May 15th of 2010 Bastiaan and I stood in front of Mr. John (who we met for the very first time in the flesh that day) and he wed us. The ceremony was beyond beautiful. The little church was full of loved ones, flowers and laughter. The Hand Fastening Ceremony was new to almost 95% of all the people that were there, so very interesting and humbling for most of us. There was some crying, some laughing some praying and some "just being happy". You could feel it in the air...
Just like how I got my horse this wedding was a gift from above.
If you ever where a little girl… trust me… this was the wedding you had wished for. After surviving this awful disease, after loving each other was made into a very hard thing to do, moving to a different continent, doing something you have never done before (dairying), we stood in front all our family and friends and felt as one.
Our first time getting married was good, because Bastiaan and I already knew we belonged together.
The second time getting married was tough, because Bastiaan and I were tested to no end in our love, our strength and our determination.
Our third time was perfect, because we overcame and had all the people who we love with us to celebrate.
It was a good day.