Twenty eight years ago today I nestled my arm in my dad’s, as he smiled lovingly down at me, and together we walked down the long aisle of the church. I remember that day as clearly as if it was yesterday. Song looked incredibly handsome as he waited for me to join him, and I loved the way he watched my every move as I approached him. He was nervous and his voice shook as he started saying our vows, but after we giggled a little about our nervousness, he was fine.
The ceremony was short, but it seemed to be an eternity before we were officially pronounced, “Mr. and Mrs. Song Brown!” Finally, the moment I had waited for; we were finally married after dating for three years! We were young; I was not even twenty, and Song was in his early twenties. The fact that we were broke didn’t faze us….we were in love and that was all that mattered!
As I look back over our early years together, I think about the trials we endured and the mistakes we made, but most of all I think about the fun we had growing up together! Those years of living in university housing or basement apartments taught us many valuable lessons. The challenges we faced made us stronger and brought us closer together.
As a young bride I had dreams and ideas of what our lives together would be like, but as I sit here now, twenty-eight years later, I can’t help but think how differently our lives turned out. I had always said I wanted to be a stay at home mom and we always joked about having a dozen children, but in my wildest dreams I couldn’t imagine anyone having more than three children!
Three years later we were expecting our first child and I was graduating from college. My advisors didn’t hesitate to tell me that it ruined my chances of getting a decent job and that it was a terrible mistake, but we knew better. It was the beginning of something wonderful! We had our first child late that fall and then our second child came three and a half years later. As we were getting ready to leave the hospital, our pastor came to visit and told us all the reasons we should stop having children. He reasoned that we had a boy and a girl, that’s the perfect family. My own grandmother had told me the same thing repeatedly while I was pregnant and even encouraged me to have my tubes tied immediately after giving birth. You know, go ahead and kill two birds with one stone and only have to recover once. Something about their advice didn’t sound right to us so, thankfully, we put off making that decision. After all, I might possibly decide to have one more baby if everything went well with the two I had.
There I was, a delighted stay at home mother of two feisty, strong-willed children, living the life of my dreams. I attended Bible studies, got together for play dates, and scheduled regular “Mom’s Day Out” outings. All was going along as planned and then it happened, something inside me changed and my life has never been the same. I came to the realization that these children weren’t prized possessions to display and fit into my schedule, they were blessings from our Father in Heaven and we were blessed to have the responsibility to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. With that in mind we opened up our lives to receive the Father’s blessings.
So here we are many years after that turning point in our lives celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary. When we started our family, I thought we would be experiencing the empty nest stage of life at this point. But instead, we are enjoying a candle light dinner prepared for us by some of our eight delightful children, all of whom are joining us for our celebratory dinner. They all still live at home and we love having them here. The love and laughter, the fun and fellowship in our large family fill our days and our lives with treasures that money can’t buy. Our life together is far better than anything my young mind could have fathomed!
I started our marriage as a young, naïve bride of nineteen with visions of the typical American family with two, maybe three children. All these years later, I’m a not so young, naïve bride who thinks this is what the typical American family ought to be! In hind sight, I’m glad we had the opportunity to grow up and hopefully, grow old together, I wouldn’t change a thing!