A Moment for a Lifetime

Name one experience that changed your view of life.


In 1999, my father and stepmother were married in a beautiful castle in Northern Ireland. She was dressed in a white lace gown with a bouquet of lilies clenched in her delicate fingers. He was suited up in a sharp black tuxedo with a smile permanently fixed on his tanned face. My stepmother’s parents flew in from Indiana, my father’s parents from Newark and I, the flower girl, flew in from Pennsylvania with a ham sandwich packed by my mom and a bleak outlook on my future place in my father’s family.

The wedding was beautiful in the way that antique and traditional things often are. The vows were formal and announced undying love and affection and the joy was evident on everyone’s faces. I was skeptical. If my mom and dad didn’t work out, what would make it so that Colleen and my dad would? Why does one love fade and another bloom?

After the ceremony and the reception, both equal in their levels of beauty and formality, the bride and groom departed for Italy to enjoy a glorious honeymoon in the most romantic country in the world. I was left behind. But I was not alone.

A few hours after my father’s departure, my grandma took me out for a walk along the shore. She held my hand and she skipped with me as it began to rain, gently...

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