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Amy: Welcome back to San Antonio!
As I climbed into the passenger seat of Amy's green Honda Accord the next morning, headed to San Antonio, I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. It didn't get much better than this. The woman who I had chosen to be my bride was by my side after 18 months of separation. I would love her and she would respect me all the days of our lives.
I know, I know. I can hear it now. If you're married, you're probably saying to yourself that I'm looking at marriage through rose-colored glasses.
On the one hand, you're right. Having never been married, I don't know for sure what it will be like. On the other hand, I sure have witnessed my fair share of good marriages, including my own parents' marriage.
I realize that no marriage is perfect, because no two people are perfect. But, I believe that when those two people try to out-serve each other, and see each other through God's eyes, that a marriage grounded in Biblical principles can go the distance.
Now that her parents had given me their blessing, I enthusiastically shared the details with my parents, my brothers John and Tim as well as Todd, my best man. Amy dialed up her kindergarten friend Audra and her husband Carl, whom we later fellowshipped with over dinner that evening at Chuy's in Austin. Before we knew it, we had arrived in San Antonio.
I dropped Amy off at her hotel at the Drury Inn Suites and drove her Honda to my house. I had a lot to do in very little time.
The next morning I was a whirlwind of activity. I called the florist to have two centerpieces delivered -- one for the middle of the mantelpiece, the other for the kitchen counter that looks into the living room. Then, I got on the horn and called someone to cut the grass. Third on my list was a carpet cleaner and finally I had a banner designed for delivery that afternoon.
It was about 3 feet wide by 8 feet long with red lettering over a white background. Stretched between two trees in the front yard, it proclaimed unashamedly,
"Amy, Welcome to our new home!
Needless to say, my neighbors who usually barreled down our cul-de-sac, decided to drive at tortoise-like speed today in order to read the strange new banner in front of McManus' home. I love it. Life is such an adventure. Sadly, way too many people live their lives inside the box. How boring!
Meanwhile, I was doing loads of laundry, cleaning the kitchen and hosing down my bathroom with one of those commercial pressure washers that are normally reserved for cleaning Wal-Mart parking lots.
I'll tell you something here and now. When a bachelor decides to close the deal on his bride to be, he hasn't seen her in 18 months, and she's never seen his new house, it's amazing how much dirt, which previously had been tolerable, reveals itself virtually for the very first time. Shocking, I'll tell ya, downright shocking.
In the midst of the floral delivery guy announcing his presence by ringing the doorbell, the carpet cleaners' hoses stretched across the front lawn, the washing machine alerting me that my clothes were ready and the lawn guy who was weed eating in the backyard imitating a giant mosquito, Amy called me from her hotel room.
"Peeps, can I come over now?" she asked with a scratchy voice, having woken up with the beginning of a head cold.
"You sound terrible. But you're so cute. What's wrong?"
"I think my body's going through shock. Between hearing from you that you're finally ready to get married and talking to our friends for hours about every detail about your 'ask for my hand in marriage speech,' I'm downright exhausted."
"I can imagine," I sympathized.
"I'm hungry. Can you come pick me up?"
I had driven her Honda to my house from her hotel the night before, parked next to my car in the driveway. I liked the look of her car next to mine. A sign of things to come, when we would one day be husband and wife, living under the same roof and sharing our lives.
"Not right now. I've got just a little bit going on over here for the moment. Look, I'll call Jason's Deli. They're right around the corner from your hotel. I'll get them to deliver some of your favorite soup with some fresh fruit. How does that sound?"
"Adam, I love that you like taking care of me."
"That's my job now Peeps. Just get used to it."
Later, after every worker had completed their tasks, after I had lit the gas fireplace and five living room candles, I went to pick Amy up in my car, ready to chauffeur her to our future home after we said our "I dos." I was seeing everything afresh through her eyes: the entrance to my neighborhood, my front yard and yes, the increasingly popular banner proclaiming both my undying love for her as well as the affirmation that one day, very soon, this house would be hers as well.
"Adam McManus, what have you done this time? Have you lost your mind?"
I love when she talks to me like that. I wish I could just bottle those moments to savor over and over again.
"Do you like it?" I asked, referring to the bold banner stretched between two trees in my front yard. I felt like a little boy anticipating a word of affirmation from his mother after bringing home an arts and craft project from school.
"Do I like it?" she repeated. "I love it."
"That's right honey child. Right after we get married sometime this year, this'll be your home as well. Can you believe that?"
"I know. It's weird. But I can't wait."
"Me neither. Stand by the banner on the left there, so I can take a picture of you, the banner and your new future house all in the same shot."
"Okay Peeps!" she said with that captivating smile, showcasing her bright white teeth, framed by her recently touched-up pink lip gloss.
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