looked at myself in the mirror. "Ryan you look Beautiful." Grammy
whispered. Grammy was my Mom's Grandma but was like a mom to her.
I smiled at my reflection. I had on my wedding dress as well as
my hair in a bun at the top of my head. It had loose curls
hanging from it as well as a blue forget-me-not pin in the side.
My make-up was perfect. I looked at Mom as she smiled, tears
rolling down her face.
"Thank you." I smiled as Bailey cooed at me. She was in my arms; thank god she was awake for this. She had on this beautiful marine blue dress. She had on a red bow on her head that was made into a headband so she could wear it since she still had no hair.
"Okay let's check. Do you have everything?" Mom asked as Grammy took Bailey.
"Wilt thou, Tanner Williams, take Ryan Banks (who was once referred as the "dependent"), as your Family Member, to dwell together in so far as the Marines will permit? Wilt thou love her, comfort her via the Postal Service or over the phone, make sure she knows where the commissary, Exchange, and church are and what time she is scheduled to use the laundry room the DAY she arrives, wherever you are stationed? Wilt thou attempt to tell her more than 24 hours in advance that you will be leaving for two weeks, beginning the next morning? This especially applies to the years you will live in a foreign country!"
"Wilt thou, Ryan Banks, take this Marine as thy wedded husband, knowing that he is depending upon you to be the perfect (well, almost) Marine Wife, running the household as you see fit and being nice to the Commander's Wife? Further, you understand that your life with your husband (little that you may have together) will not be normal, that you may have to explain to your children, not once, but twice, and more often in the same day, that mothers do have husbands. This Marine is their daddy, who loves them very, very much.
"Wilt thou love, respect and wait for him, preparing his favorite meals when he does come home, freezing them when he doesn't, send him all his favorite cookies and pictures of yourself and the kids, so he can remember what you look like? And last but not least, put on the outside of your door his 'Welcome Home' sign when he's do to arrive?"
"Ryan, please repeat after me. 'I, Ryan Banks, take thee, Tanner Williams, as my live-in/live-out husband, realizing that your coming and going and 0330 staff meetings are a normal (although absurd to me) part of your life as a Marine. I promise not to be shocked or taken by surprise when you inform me that, although we've just arrived at out new duty station, we will be leaving within the month. Yes, I'll have you as my husband as long as, while you are away, my allotment comes through regularly, and that you leave me a current power of attorney and the checkbook at all times. I am a Family Member and proud of it, dependent upon myself and my resources. Although I miss you when you are away, I know I can handle whatever comes across my path.'" I repeat what he said before sliding the ring onto Tanner's ring finger. He smiled at me and mouth 'I love you'.
"Now then, let no man or woman put asunder what God and the Marines have brought together, only for them to soon say 'Goodbye' to one another. The Marines hereby issues this lovely, dedicated, independent, woman, knowing that she'll be an asset not only to your marriage, but also to the Mission of the United States Marines, which is, as you all know to remain in a state of Readiness'. By the authority vested in the Bible, elaborated in the regulations and subject to current directives concerning the aspects of marriage in the Marines, you are now a Marine with Family Member. Marine, you may now kiss your bride." The crowd roar as Tanner took me into his arms and pressed a kiss to my lips. "Ladies and Gentleman, Woman and Marines, I am proud to present to you all Gunnery Sergeant Tanner Lucas Williams and Mrs. Ryan Patricia Williams. Best Wishes and Good Luck." Tanner pressed his lips to mine again as we turned to go down the aisle hand in hand, arm in arm. We walked down into the line of Marines holding up their swords for us to walk under. Dad called out orders for the Marines as we walked under them. The last one dropped making us stop.