Life is about seizing the perfect moment, right? Well, this weekend we did just that, Ryan and I, with the help of our immediate family and friends, created the most meaningful day of our life. Together engulfed by love, we become one. We have grown through some of the most beautiful moments and persevered through some of the most trying. We've smiled from the core of our being and laughed at our mistakes, and taken big chances to get where we are today.
When we mutually felt we were ready for engagement, we had always taken into account my Dad's condition and 'terminal' diagnosis (FYI, were all terminal, and we graciously accept that). There were NO fears about marrying one another; Ryan’s a real-life saint named after Saint Christopher, the patron of travelers. He is supportive, thoughtful, loving, intelligent, family-oriented, gifted, and quite exceptional. Finding him at school was like winning the jackpot, absolutely worth the investment of venturing up to CSU, seriously beyond my education, my tuition has been paid off in love and friendship. We dated for almost exactly four and a half years.
Last week, my dear Dad's health began to decline rapidly; we had to enlist extra help to care for him and chose to focus on his comfort and quality of life for his time remaining. Losing his ability to walk and motor function on his left side was a wake-up call. He hasn't been in any pain but is noticeably losing his cognitive function. Ryan knew more than anything that I wanted my Dad to be apart of our ceremony, we had been planning to do a smaller ceremony this June, but with things changing at an unknown pace, Ryan asked if I wanted to get married this past weekend. Sure enough, we made it happen. The simple fact that Ryan was able to sacrifice any wedding plan to make my biggest dream come true meant the world to me. The memories and photos collected will be with us forever, and I am so blessed to have someone to love me enough to do just that. He is selfless, his parents and grandma were so supportive, and I could not feel luckier. Once we decided to do just that, we began to apply for a marriage license. Boulder County did not work in our favor; we needed to be on the same Zoom screen to process the application, for they could not prove we were in the same country, and even if they could, we would not be able to receive it in time.
Michelle and John, Ryan’s parents, had the brilliant idea to approach the Meeker Courthouse to see what options we had in Rio Blanco County, sure enough, they were able to make it happen and even got our official marriage certificate in time. I was stunned, I didn't think it would happen, but let me tell you, if you need someone to get something done, John and Michelle are capable of doing anything they put their minds too––this is where Ryan gets his grit and cleverness. Following this serendipitous process, we began asking for help to put together a small celebration. Michelle was in charge of creating her world-famous carrot cake––it's so good it will change your life while also spiking your blood sugar. I then called up the legendary Constantine (Costa) Skodras and his bride to be, the beautiful Adeline Depuis––the two coolest, ultra compassionate, culinary creatives you will ever meet (also how fabulously regal are their names? haha). Timidly I asked Costa what they were doing over the weekend and if he would be able to prepare a meal for our family. Without hesitation, they said, don't worry about a thing; he sent over two insanely fantastic menu options and handled everything. I can't even thank them enough for their time and energy doing just that. They are earth angels.
My mom's sister, my Aunt Lyssa, organized a port-o-john delivery to help mitigate people going in and out of the house and to keep things sanitary. My Aunt Suzzi and Uncle Scott came over and helped polish up the yard, they made the place look gorgeous! I called up the talented Darcy Kiefel of Kiefel World Photography to see if she was available to capture the moments. I've known Darcy since I was in second grade and throughout high school worked with and picked up many of my photo skills while assisting her at weddings and other events. She was available and SO appreciated, she went above and beyond to capture our memories. My cousin Sedona, a horticulture major focused on Food Crop Sciences at CSU, was put in charge of picking out the flowers and decorating our yard. She picked out the perfect bunches of Lavender, Baby's Breath, mini Daisys, and fresh Eucalyptus. Naturally, she is a lovely botanist and gardener; she's also been my soul sister since she was born in 1999. With everything squared away, our neighbors made beautiful signs for our outside; the port-o-john had a lovely brown sign reading "Powder Room––Please Seat Yourself." It was too dang funny!
After the little details were picked up by our fantastic tribe, Ryan and I went on to figure out how to do the ceremony. His Dad, John, was the officiant, Sedona was to do a reading, and we wrote our vows (the morning of!). Getting creative with the things we had at the house, we decided to paint our alter. We used the paints that were Ryan's brother to make sure he was tied into our ceremony, this month we celebrate his birthday and beautiful life, happy early birthday and heavenly birthday, Johnny! Our painted alter was the color blue because well, that's our favorite color. In white, Ryan and I painted the sun and two dancing cherubs. This image comes from "The Sun" tarot card. The story behind it goes, almost five years ago, I had my cards read and this was the card that I pulled, the woman told me I was going to meet someone and together we would have everything under the sun. I immediately thought of Ryan, this boy I had casually met only twice before and thought, "uh oh, why am I thinking of this boy… I don't even know him." Well, that card served as a constant reminder to focus on the bright side, and since then, I have always been pulled towards Ryan. We finished our 'alter' the night before and decorated it with flowers. My Dad loved seeing us paint it; he kept asking us for pictures so he could see how it was progressing. Finishing things up on Friday night, we went into Saturday without any expectations!
At 4:50 am, we woke up to my mom calling our names; she needed help. My Dad fell off of his bed while trying to get up; the steroids must have been working. Thankfully he was not hurt, and Ryan was here to lift him off the ground. My Dad, of course, was naturally joking about it right away, while Ryan had my Dad in an early morning bear hug to hold him up while we adjusted the bed, my Dad goes, "Well, I guess it's a good time to say, welcome to the family!" It. Was. Precious.
The morning flew by, and our dream team threw together the backyard flawlessly. My mom and I made my flower crown and boutonnières for everyone, she is a gifted artist herself. My mom was able to get my Dad showered and dressed and into his wheelchair. He wore one of his brother Dave's shirts and my Jimpa's cap. We were able to take photos inside, and then Chase, Ryan, and John lifted my Dad's wheelchair down the stairs into our yard. Together my mom, brother, and I wheeled him down the aisle. It was perfect, we hit a bump and almost launched him forward, but he safely made it over to a lawn chair where we were able to help him lay horizontally.
Our unrehearsed ceremony was perfect, magical, and so special. Being able to act candidly and naturally made it the best. During our vows, my Dad hollered, in classic TR fashion, "You can be fishing buddies for life." I hadn't heard him speak loudly in days. The whole thing was more special than words can convey. It ended with John declaring us, "Man and Husband," we all let out a big laugh! And Dad clapping with both hands (right and left). Following the ceremony, we had our first dance to the song Strawberries by Caamp, Ryan flipped me over his head (see video, haha), and Ryan and Michelle danced to "My Wish" by Rascal Flats. My Dad and I picked the song, "Sunshine of my Life," by Stevie Wonder and Ryan, my mom and I lifted and swayed with him, a moment I didn't know we would ever be able to share. I am so lucky. We cut our delicious cake and I went in for the smash and initiated the cake battle, Ryan didn’t even see it coming. Our May 2nd, 2020 afternoon will forever be engrained into my heart.
Life is so precious, and we are so thankful to be surrounded by love. Every day is a gift, and the present is a blessing. I am pleased to have 'officially' established our bigger family and grow in love and laughter, there is plenty of good things headed our way. Thank you, everyone, for the kind messages and outpouring of love and generosity. I am officially Mrs. Rachel Rae Roderick Wix and couldn't be happier!
These photos were all captured by the wonderful, Darcy Kiefel of Darcy Kiefel World Photography.