Dear Daughter: Your Papa is my Parking Lot Miracle

Garden theme. White lilies. Fairy lights. Swarovski tiara. Long train. Laced veil. Walk down the aisle to Elvis Costello’s “She”, the soundtrack of Notting Hill (which was very popular in our days, by the way). A poem in our invites written by me. A dreamy first dance. Oh, and a string orchestra.

I had a folder consisting of images of my “dream wedding”. And just after we set the date and booked the venue, I started ticking things off of my list.

During that year of wedding preparation (yes, it was a whole year!) I dated your Papa as normal. (Well, not entirely normal. If you asked him, he’d have an entirely different definition of that time. I was not the nicest person under pressure.) We met after work and discussed wedding plans. We went on work trips and still called each other over the distance to talk about wedding plans. Now that I think about it, it seemed as though that year was filled with only wedding planning. How we were going to get the whole big family together, how we were going to do the holy matrimony, etcetera etcetera. It was a never ending discussion that was often cut by a disagreement that ended in tears. The pressure of making my dream wedding come true was at that moment the biggest thing on my mind. And throw some major action at work in there, I didn’t have a lot of time to focus on my relationship with your Papa or even the joys of getting married at all.

One Friday, Papa and I agreed to meet at Pondok Indah Mall for our usual dinner and a movie date. It was only two away from our wedding day. As I was driving from the office to meet him, a gospel song came on the radio. At that moment, I just felt the urge to pray. I said, “God, I know I never really talked to you throughout this wedding planning ordeal. But I’m about to make the biggest decision of my life. I feel like I should ask you about it. So, I’m asking you now. Please give me a sign if he’s the right guy for me. If I find a parking space right next to his car, then I know he’s the one You have personally handpicked for me. If not, I’m ready to call this wedding off.”

I’m telling you, 25-year-old me had a huge pair of balls.

So, off I drove into the entrance of Pondok Indah Mall. By that time, another song had come on and I had forgotten about my prayer already. (Blame it on short attention span and lip service.) Like how it usually is on Friday nights, the parking lot was crowded. I drove into Basement 1, took a ticket and without even thinking, went on my usual route finding parking space.

A few seconds later, one car left its parking space, and without even thinking twice, I parked in that spot. I checked the time and I had only a few minutes to make it upstairs before the movie began.

Suddenly, I thought about my prayer again. I turned to the left and I realized that I had parked next to a pillar. I got out of my car, with a mixed feeling of excitement and nervousness, to check the car on my right. Lo and behold, it was… 

YOUR PAPA’S CAR! His Black Chevy Aveo!

It didn’t even take seconds for the tears to start welling up in my eyes. If that’s not a miracle, then I don’t know what is.

Suddenly, at that moment, all the pressure I had about getting all the details in place was not so important anymore. Suddenly, my “dream wedding” didn’t seem so important anymore. I was going to marry the man handpicked especially for me. And I simply couldn’t wait to be married to him.

We’ll be married for 10 years come January. It’s been one heck of a fun ride and I’m looking forward to many, many, many more years with him. I really can’t picture myself with anyone else but him. (Except when he’s being a stubborn ass and I picture myself being with a nice Eastern European guy or a handsome older man the likes of Colin Firth, drinking champagne on a yacht, giggling, as we sail away into the sunset.)

Our journey was never without doubts or tribulations. We’ve had our share of conflicts. But we’ve worked them out. And if there were any time that I had wished to bail out of this relationship (or when I think of Colin Firth and his yacht), I think about my parking lot miracle and I am reminded of why I chose to be here.

I wish that I had spent more time building our relationship and getting to know my groom more and more during that stressful time of wedding planning. I wished I had focussed more on the joys of getting married. But all things work for good and we’re where we should be. That still counts as something to be grateful for. 

One day, when you find yourself in the midst of your wedding planning, I hope you will remember this: your marriage will last much longer than your wedding. Build your relationship, strengthen it, nourish it. Get to know your future husband deeper and deeper every day. Talk about your likes and dislikes, talk about the fundamentals of marriage, talk about what’s important to you – your hopes, your dreams, even how many children you want to have and what kind of house you’d like to live in. Prepare yourself for a marriage much more beautiful than your wedding.

Focus on that. And leave the wedding planning to the people who can make it happen for you. 

Oh and I don’t know how relevant this will be when you’re getting married, some 25 years from today (because we don’t want you to get married too young – or ever leave us! – but we also don’t want you to be an old spinster!) here’s another pro-tip: you can browse through a collection of wedding vendors on Bridestory. Believe me, how I wish that it was there during my time.

Love,

Mama

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