My heart is bursting with joy! Last night, my best friend, Geena Gabrielle, said YES to marrying the man of her dreams, Bradley!
warning: this may be very longggg and completely boring to the rest of you, but I love this story so I’m going to tell it anyway. I guess this could be like the readings at Mass where it says “omit brackets for shorter version”… so, brackets added ;)
[Here’s a little story of how G & I met and in turn how she & Bradley met. Geena and I both volunteered for a summer in Michigan with the Regnum Christi Mission Corps, a summer that honestly changed my life. The best part about this is that Geena and I didn’t volunteer the same summer… I was there the year before her. My dear friend and Spiritual Guide, Mary Maher, was in charge of Geena’s mission group and brought them to Chicago for the weekend. Mary called to let me know that there was one girl in particular she thought I would get along with… you guessed it, Geena. I met up with Mary and the group downtown- we explored the city, had lunch & ice cream, and then headed home. Geena and I chatted a little, but that was it. Neither of us really seemed too interested in getting to know the other person, and it didn’t help that we were somewhat bratty fourteen year olds (sorry, Mary). With a little encouragement from Mary, Geena & I exchanged phone numbers. After that summer was over and Geena was back home, we had “phone dates” once a week. We would sit on the phone and chat about everything and anything. After that, we just started taking trips to visit each other. She came to my Sweet 16 party, I flew to see her when Molly Elizabeth was born, she came to the beach with my family.. and that’s how our friendship formed into what it is today. Flash forward eight years, G & I were still good friends, just not chatting as often. One day, over the summer (almost two years ago now), G called me and we got back into the habit of talking often! A few weeks later was my 21st birthday- Geena & I discussed many different options to get her to Chicago to celebrate with me, none of which seemed to work (little did I know, my parents had already booked Geena a flight to surprise me)…
On July 12, the day before my birthday, Geena showed up at my front door. I was shocked. Never in a million years did I think it was going to work out for her to celebrate with me. It was one of the greatest presents I’ve ever received (thanks, mom & dad)! We went out at midnight to bring in my 21st with all my closest friends. For my actual birthday, my parents had planned a night involving all my favorites- Fulton’s on the River, The Peninsula Hotel, my best friends, and a hotel room for the evening! After dinner and drinks with my family, we headed off to Lincoln Park, which is where this fairy tale begins!
I’m not sure how we ended up at Lion Head Pub or the upstairs bar, The Apartment, but I am SO glad we did. Geena, being her social self, walked off to make new friends, while the rest of the girls found a table. After finding our table and getting drinks, we started talking to some guys from the Notre Dame Rugby Team (we didn’t know at the time, but one of them was Bradley’s brother, David). A little while later, we spot Geena… she’s talking to this handsome man who has her complete attention.. She looks over at us and yells, “HE’S ROMAN CATHOLIC AND HIS MOM IS PREGNANT WITH NUMBER TWELVE!” This was so cool because at the time, Geena’s mom was expecting number ten, Isaiah Matthew. We spent the rest of the evening and early hours of the morning with Bradley and his friends. As we headed back to our hotel to get a few hours of sleep, Geena never stopped smiling. Oh, and did I mention he was from CALIFORNIA and she was from MARYLAND… and they both happened to be in Chicago for one weekend. This is another one of those reminders that God’s plan is way bigger than we could ever imagine.
I remember sitting outside of church with Geena the next day before we went to mass, giggling like little girls and talking about how wonderful Brad was. And that was only day one. Bradley invited Geena and her friends (AKA me & Annie) to meet him downtown later that night…. and we did. We hung out in Lincoln Park again and stayed up to watch the sunrise, that probably wasn’t our best idea, (hind-site is always 20/20). After all the excitement, we fell asleep for a total of two hours, which was two hours too long, because Geena had a flight at 8 am and it was 7:45 am when we woke up!! My car was parked in a lot twenty minutes away and that car had Geena’s suitcase in it…after we woke up in a panic, we told G her only option was to take a cab to the airport and we would mail her the suitcase- MAIL HER A SUITCASE?! WERE WE CRAZY? Geena got in the cab and headed off to catch a flight she would never make.. (in any normal situation, a person would call the airline and change their flight, nope, not us)! Annie & I never made it off the steps of the apartment complex, which I guess was a good thing because Bradley came out to tell us Geena had gotten on a little later flight. It was barely enough time for us to get to my car and bring her suitcase to her. We finally got to the airport and Brad ran in to bring Geena her suitcase. She hadn’t told us, but she had decided to change her flight to following day- this girl is ALWAYS keeping us on our toes, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Bradley was so kind to drive us all back to the city after our exhausting, early morning adventure.
My mother had suggested that Bradley come back to the suburbs and stay at our house for the night, so that he and Geena could spend a little more time together- even she knew that this was something wonderful. Eventually reality set in and Geena & Bradley headed off to their opposite sides of the country. It wasn’t quite over though, my dad also had a pretty good feeling about Geena and Bradley, and he invited both of them on our family vacation to Kiawah Island to give them another opportunity to get to know each other. And the rest is history.]
There are few greater feelings in the world than knowing that your best friend is so loved and cared for. From day one, I knew that Bradley was the one for Geena. He treats her like a princess; like the way that you hope all men treat the woman they love. He opens doors for her, he prays with her, he speaks highly of her to those around him; Brad is a perfect gentleman (Thank you, Mr. & Mrs. Harrington, for raising such a wonderful son for my best friend!)
As I write this post, Bradley’s sister, Kaitlin, and I are Facebook chatting because we cannot contain our excitement. We’ve never met, but Kaitlin always gets silly requests from me via Facebook when I am trying to surprise G. A few weeks ago it was asking her to check to see if my package arrived for Geena and most recently, it was telling her that I had booked a flight to surprise Geena for her birthday- surprise already ruined because I cannot keep a secret if my life depended on it. Selfishly, I am excited for Geena & Bradley’s wedding because I cannot wait to meet the rest of the Harringtons that I have heard so many wonderful things about :)
So congratulations, Bradley & Geena. I wish you nothing but happiness as you begin this next chapter of your lives together! I love you both.