Here Comes... Maw Maw?

Our coun­try wed­ding was all about fun, fam­ily and sur­prises.

Country - - PEOPLE - BY KARIE CHATHAM

hen I was plan­ning my wed­ding, I knew ex­actly who I wanted to be my flower girl. I love my younger cousins, but I chose a woman who has been mar­ried for over 50 years, raised four kids and cared for 11 grand­kids and eight great-grand­kids. I chose Margie Miller, my grand­mother.

What a le­gacy Maw Maw has given us. She’s a one-of-a-kind, spe­cial edi­tion woman who can sew, cook, clean, gar­den, farm,

Wfeed chick­ens, chase chil­dren and smile at the same time. I wanted that strong, faith­ful woman to lead me down the aisle at my wed­ding. She didn’t be­lieve me when I asked her to be my flower girl! My hus­band-to-be, Chris, loves his grand­par­ents as much as I love mine, so I asked his granny, Patsy Chatham, to be a flower girl, too.

We didn’t tell the guests about our sur­prise. When Maw Maw and Granny came down the aisle toss­ing petals, they shocked a lot of peo­ple. But I think every­one fell in love with them. How could they not? Margie and Patsy were so cute as flower girls.

Of course, our wed­ding wasn’t a typ­i­cal one. The bridal party was small—in ad­di­tion to the flower girls, my aunt was the ma­tron of honor and Chris’ fa­ther was the best man. The cer­e­mony was held out­doors, and our friends sup­plied the mu­sic.

Af­ter the cer­e­mony, we re­leased “I do” bal­loons and danced down the aisle to the song “Good Day for Mar­ry­ing You.” Af­ter en­joy­ing tons of candy and south­ern food, Chris and I rode away on a bi­cy­cle built for two as guests held sparklers.

It was all great fun, but what made our wed­ding spe­cial was the peo­ple who helped make Chris and me who we are. When my brother and I were kids, we hung out with our grand­par­ents while our par­ents worked. Maw Maw let me cook with her and taught me how to play pi­ano. We went camp­ing and talked for hours. And she was there for me when I was di­ag­nosed with child­hood can­cer at age 12.

To­day we are still close. Maw Maw and I live about 15 min­utes from each other and love to go an­tique shop­ping and ex­plor­ing our home state of Mis­sis­sippi.

Grow­ing up, it’s easy to idol­ize the adults you love. They are big­ger than life, stronger than nails and tougher than any car on the mar­ket. How­ever, you slowly see that the house you once thought was so big is ac­tu­ally smaller than you re­mem­bered, and the hand that gripped yours in sup­port, though still strong, is be­com­ing arthritic.

Fam­ily is the most im­por­tant thing, and I was so pleased to have them by my side at our wed­ding. But I’m even more pleased that I have them ev­ery day af­ter.

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