June Eleven Eleven

There are nine years difference between my brother and I.  He was just a little kid when I was learning to be an adult.  He was thirteen when Tim and I got married.  The age gap was apparent during those years.  He was the same age as kids I babysat.  He came to my volleyball and basketball games, although I think he ran around and played with matchbox cars more than he watched.  By the time he was running track in high school, I wasn't at home anymore and didn't get to watch much at all.  Our major milestones were always celebrated together, meaning that neither of us has really ever missed celebrating with each other, despite the difference in our age.

I've posted about my brother before, how the age gap has closed over the years since he's gotten older and I haven't aged.  :)  In all seriousness though, we've grown close as adults and he and my sister both are two of my very best friends.  For both of them, I am happy when they are happy and I hurt when they hurt.  Cash is the type of person who has a magnetic personality.  He gives wholly, he lives fully and he loves greatly, and he is and always has been eager to do so.  There has not been anyone who has been able to meet his idea of girlfriend, companion, partner, wife.  In the midwest, the norm seems to be 'turn 18, know what you want, pursue it', which typically translates to graduate, settle down, live, be happy.  NOT ALWAYS, so don't think I'm trying to make a point.  I'm just saying that Cash was beginning to wonder if being happy meant settling...and then he met Annie, and he knew...we all knew. 

Last weekend, Cash and Annie commited to a lifetime together, and one of the most common things that I heard from all of Cash's friends was how they all knew how special Annie was the first time Cash talked about her to them.  They could hear it.  They could see it.  They knew!  I knew, and I was happy...so happy, but I must confess, I was honestly a little sad too.  Sad in a selfish way.  I knew that my brother's days of coming to visit for extended periods were coming to an end.  That his time and energy was going to be focused elsewhere, and I was a little jealous.  All those feelings kept in check, they were still real.  What I saw between the two of them during their wedding weekend though made it all different.  I truly discovered the real excitement of knowing that my children weren't letting go of their uncle, but grasping hold of an aunt.  I know that sounds ridiculous..."we're not losing a son, we're gaining a daughter...", but I didn't know it applied to other relationships quite the same way.

All of that jibberish said, the wedding was...genuine.  That is really the word that comes to mind to describe it most accurately.  We've all been to weddings that were pretty and they're obviously real weddings, but this was one of those weddings that you knew was a real marriage too.  They both love the Lord first.  They invited Him to the wedding and professed their desire to keep Him as the priority between them.  They expressed their own vows in addition to the traditional ones.  I wiped away a steady stream of tears.  Jakob asked me if I was going to cry at his wedding and I told him I wouldn't be able to come.  (I'm not serious, but I can't imagine that it won't be a joyfully teary day).  The entire extended weekend was wonderful. Full of family and fun.  Catching up a little here and there, sharing meals or chatting over a cup of coffee, hugs and more hugs.  As always, time moved too quickly, but I've learned that you take what you can and relish it.  As I click through pictures, I realize that I didn't capture enough of them.  I need to do a better job of making photo opportunities, especially as I recognize all of the family members that I didn't get pictures of.  I guess we'll all need to get together again so we can get those pictures taken!  :)

We always enjoy time with Aunt Lexi. 

The boys...it's just natural to get a football game going...even if you're holding a toddler!

The pictures on these bottles of beer is the place that Cash proposed to Annie.

Staying in a hotel is always a fun adventure!

My beautiful sister

and my handsome grandfather

and my proud parents...FAMILY...

The Stricker Family

Mathilda was so excited to be part of something so special.  She got to hang out in the bride's room with Annie and her bridesmaids.  They prayed together before the ceremony started.

Mr. and Mrs. Cash Stricker

My cousin Bobby will probably always be "Uncle Bobby" to my kids.  I'm so glad he and my brother can still find their "boy energy"!

                                                                                  Sending them off with fireworks!

The kids get their grove from their dad...not their mom!

                       My grandparents have celebrated 64 anniversaries...truly remarkable!  What an amazing example they are! 

Congratulations Cash and Annie.  We love you both very much.  Annie:  I hope you're up for the "Adventures of Aunt Annie".  The kids can hardly wait!