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Wedding adds to special holiday

My first experience with weddings was as a 3-year-old.

Mama was serving cake and I was "helping" by pushing the plates to the front as soon as a space would open.

Twenty-three years later, I have accumulated more than my fair share of wedding experience.

In fact, it was summed up by a close friend as "Always a _____; Never a Bride" (Just fill in the blank. I’ve done it all).

At last count, there were 15 stints as a bridesmaid including two as maid of honor; 24 stints as a server including 16 on wedding cake (six in one year), five on punch and three times on the bride’s book; and two stints as a flower girl.

I’m in wedding pictures all over Alabama and from Georgia to Orlando, Fla., to Texas and Nebraska.

My latest wedding experience was last weekend as the maid of honor at my little brother’s wedding.

It was, by far, the most difficult one I’ve been through. Don’t get me wrong, I love my new sister-in-law. She’s the best, and they’re perfect for one another.

I don’t know that I’ve ever known two people who fit together better than they do or love each other as much as they do. It’s really inspiring.

But, still, he’s my little brother.

I named him when he was born and since then, he’s been mine.

I wrote a poem for Chris and Lana in honor of their wedding and as I said in the poem, he never even had to talk as a child because I did his talking for him.

We played together, laughed and fought together, cried

together and were punished together.

And then last Saturday, I stood there with him and watched Lana walk down the aisle. He was so excited and I was excited for him.

Throughout our lives, as far as women for Chris, there was mama and then there was me.

Now, there’s Lana, mama and then me.

Being relegated to third has been a traumatic change, but I’ll never forget walking out the doors of the church and over to where Chris and Lana, who had walked out just before me, were hugging.

They looked at me and with a few tears and really big smiles, hugged me too.

It was more reassuring than anything that had happened that day.

This Thanksgiving was an especially poignant one for my family.

For some time now, it seems as if our family was shrinking. With people getting older and dying, there were fewer and fewer of us each time a holiday rolled around.

Now, we’re on the up side, and I guess we have Lana to thank for that.

We also have our memories of other holidays and the blessing of being able to look forward to many more special days spent together.

This Thanksgiving as never before, I realized how precious those memories and dreams are and how every day I should thank God for them.

I can only hope that everyone’s Thanksgiving was as precious and wonderful as mine.