Shannon here: Peyton Roberts shares the story of her wedding. What went right and what didn’t, and what turned out better than planned. Her Women’s Fiction title is one of my book baby discoveries, so be sure and check it out. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter Monday’s drawing. Deadline: Nov 19th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Peyton:
“Mexico is out”: A wedding story for Veteran’s Day by Peyton Roberts
In August 2005, just a few weeks before our wedding day, I went home to my apartment in downtown Annapolis. My fiancé, Nick, met me there. The downward turn of his eyes hinted that he was about to deliver some seriously unwanted news.
“My training start date got moved up,” he said.
I blinked hard, not knowing what to say. “Moved up to when?”
“To August 22nd.”
That didn’t make any sense. On August 27, we were set to walk down the aisle of the Methodist church in Houston, Texas where we met during high school.
How was Nick going to start basic training the week before we got married?
I stared into him with bridezilla eyes. “What does this mean for our wedding day?”
“I don’t know yet,” he said.
I stood there in shock. All I could think about were the three years of long-distance dating we’d endured to get to this moment. Not to mention the months I’d spent booking vendors, collecting RSVP’s, and arranging thoughtful details for family and treasured friends flying in from across the country. Our honeymoon lounging on the beaches of Playa del Carmen flashed through my mind.
And that’s when the bomb dropped.
“Mexico is out.”
With those three words, I learned our long-awaited honeymoon was canceled. Even worse was that our wedding was on the line.
That conversation turned out to be the first of many we’d have as a married couple in which the Navy canceled our plans. Thankfully, I didn’t let the military get the last word.
As I bawled my eyes out processing the unwanted change, a brilliant idea pushed through the curtain of my tears.
“After we get married,” I said, “we’re going to take a honeymoon every year for the rest of our lives!”
I have to admit that I didn’t have a clue what I was saying. I thought back to a favorite childhood story, The Berenstain Bears and the Week at Grandma’s, when Mama and Papa Bear return home after taking a second honeymoon. “I don’t know if anyone has ever taken a third honeymoon,” Mama Bear says.
Well, we were going to. And a fourth. And a fifth. And. And. And.
Days after the “Mexico is out” conversation, Nick packed up his truck in Maryland and drove across the country to California. A few days later, the Navy granted him permission to attend our wedding (phew!). He flew into Houston as my fiancé on a Thursday and flew out of town as my husband on a Monday.
Our wedding was incredible. The stuff of childhood dreams. Our youth director read foundational words from 1 John 4:7: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God…” Surrounded by family and friends, we danced our first song as a married couple to the Eagles’ Love Will Keep Us Alive.
But the honeymoon we’d dreamed about during years of long-distance dating was postponed indefinitely. After the wedding, we returned to opposite coasts to begin another round of separation.
A few months after our wedding, an injury led Nick to an unexpected break in his basic training schedule. I pounced on the chance to move to San Diego and finally share an address with him.
In the new year, we became SCUBA certified, then boarded a cruise in Florida that would take us on our first official honeymoon to Panama, Costa Rica, and Belize. Exploring the colorful reefs and underwater world of wildlife, I felt so fortunate to be on that trip with Nick. The wait had been well worth it to experience these breathtaking places together.
In the years that followed, our West Coast duty station was a great jumping-off point for some incredible honeymoons. We hiked to the top of Yosemite Falls in the snow and spent Christmas morning beneath the world’s largest sequoia tree. We camped in the forest on the Channel Islands. We backpacked across the Grand Canyon.
When Nick’s duty station changed to tropical Guam, our honeymoons became even more exotic. We dove WWII shipwrecks just off the island’s coast, hiked through a volcanic alpine pass in New Zealand, dove with sharks along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and swam in the world-famous Jellyfish Lake in Palau.
Welcoming a daughter and a son to our family changed the honeymoon scene considerably. Our two-week getaways transitioned into a much-needed weekend escape while grandparents watched the kids (thank you, Grandma Bears).
This Veterans Day, two decades into this wild ride, I can’t help but think about how strangely grateful I am that the military hijacked our initial honeymoon. Our commitment to taking a trip together every year has produced more adventure and escape around the world than one week on the beaches in Mexico possibly could have.
In the wake of many moments of military service marred by turmoil, I cherish the carefree memories Nick and I share together. In his line of work, the only guarantee has been extreme sacrifice. Twenty years of war conditioned us not to take for granted any lighthearted moments with the people we love.
As fortune would have it, another honeymoon is underway. I’m grateful for the chance to get away with this man I admire so much. So, if you’ll excuse me, we have some memory-making to do.
Question for Readers: Is there a service member or veteran you’re thinking about this Veteran’s Day?
About Peyton: Peyton H. Roberts, M.A., is a writer, mom, and communication professional who grew up moving frequently, which prepared her for life as a Navy spouse. Her stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Modern Love Podcast, Military Influencer Magazine, and more. Her debut novel Beneath the Seams (Scrivenings Press, 2021) was an Amazon #1 new release, inspired by true events that unfolded while leading church service trips overseas. Currently calling Coastal Virginia home, Peyton enjoys meeting up with friends and catching fish on long summer boat days with her family. Learn more & connect:
About Peyton’s book – Beneath the Seams:
Fashion designer Shelby Lawrence is launching her mother-daughter dresses into retail stores nationwide when she receives a photo of the girl who will change her life forever. Runa, the family’s newly sponsored child, is a clever student growing up near Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Dresses are flying off the racks when a horrifying scene unfolds in Dhaka that threatens to destroy Shelby’s pristine reputation. Even worse―it sends Runa’s life spiraling down a terrifying path. Shelby must decide how far she’s willing to go to right a tragic wrong.
Both a gripping exposé of fashion industry secrets and a heartwarming mother-daughter tale, Beneath the Seams explores love, conscience, hope, and the common threads connecting humanity.
Perfect for book clubs, this social impact novel includes a resource list and discussion questions.
Get your copy now! Beneath the Seams
Houston, TX Readers can find it at Blue Willow Bookshop
Come back Nov 15th for Kathy Harris!