I'm only reaching back three years for today's flashback because today is one special day that has been a long time coming and I couldn't think of a happier song to celebrate such an occasion. You see, today I will be attending the wedding of Arnoldo and Jillian, two people who so deserve to be happy together.
I have a long history with these two, and even though I'm not a big fan of weddings, I am looking forward to this one. I've written about Arnoldo and his family back when I was writing for the old Associated Content and Yahoo Voices. When I first met this young man, he seemed to me to be one tough 16 year-old Guatemalan kid, with slicked back hair, arms folded and a great big scowl on his face. He didn't speak a word of English and he was registering to be in my class. I was not looking forward to adding him to my roster of students. That was almost eleven years ago.
I learned from that initial meeting with Arnoldo that first impressions are not always correct, as Arnoldo, his sister Mayela, and later on their brothers Jorge and Gerber, exemplified what it means to grab onto the American Dream and carry themselves as decent, hardworking human beings. It was never their decision to come to the United States, but they understood their parents' decision to be a gift that would eventually bring them a life far better than they ever would have had in Guatemala, and I'm proud to know the four of them, who are not simply past students. They are a special part of my extended family that has grown to include Emily and Abigail, Jorge's other half and daughter.
Arnoldo and his siblings' journey to this point has not been an easy one. Within a couple of years of entering the U.S., the four youngsters were left to their own devices by parents who in essence abandoned them. Two of them, one being Arnoldo, were diagnosed with lupus and Arnoldo especially suffered through numerous and serious health issues. But they all persevered.
A few years back, Arnoldo met the love of his life, Jillian, who worked in the same restaurant as he. I remember the first time I met Jill. It was quite awhile after they had met, and of course I was a little apprehensive about meeting this 'new' member of the family. The four kids had brought her to Patchogue, where I lived, and we all went out to dinner. I liked her immediately. Her love and devotion to Arnoldo was easily apparent, and I thought she was simply a sweetheart of a person who not only cared greatly for him, but all of the members of his family as well...just like me!
So after having postponed this celebration due to health issues, and I believe on more than one occasion, this wedding is finally happening. After a daylong deluge of rain yesterday, the skies have cleared and it's a beautiful day...very appropriate! So here's to Arnoldo and Jillian! May you grow old together in nothing but happiness and joy, and may I continue to be a part of your lives for many years to come.
- Mr. M
- Mr. M