Bon voyage: Lessons learned on a cruise
COZUMEL, Mexico — God’s creation is amazing and even breathtaking.…
OKLAHOMA CITY — I’m not crying. You’re crying.
Actually, everybody seemed to be crying.
What better reason to let the tears flow than watching two young people commit their lives to each other?
The Rosses and the Steeleys, it seems, are a sentimental bunch. What better reason to let the tears flow, though, than watching two young people commit their lives to each other?
My middle child, Keaton, recently married Paige Steeley, the love of his life, inside a glass-paneled, flower-filled conservatory at Will Rogers Gardens. Her parents, Derek and Valerie Steeley, along with Tamie and me and about 50 of the couple’s nearest and dearest, were honored (and obviously quite moved) to celebrate alongside them.
Keaton’s older brother, Brady, who earned ministry degrees from Oklahoma Christian and Abilene Christian universities, performed the ceremony. Keaton’s younger sister, Kendall, a graduate of Pepperdine University, served as Paige’s maid of honor. Paige’s brothers, Dylan and Cole, ushered guests, moved tables and chairs and kept us laughing.
Me? I sat on the front row beside my wife and watched her and all three of my children — somehow now adults — choke back joyful tears.
Their faces, so full of love and emotion, did it: Soon I was fumbling for a tissue.
That was before the music started or I caught the first glimpse of my two grandchildren — Brady and Mary’s children — walking up the aisle.
Ring bearer Bennett, 4, wore suspenders and a black bow tie, his hair (uncharacteristically) neatly parted and styled for the occasion. Flower girl Norah, 18 months, looked like an angel in the soft, white dress Tamie made for her, a miniature of the bride’s gown.
Then we all stood, and a hush fell as Paige, looking even lovelier than her usual, beautiful self, appeared on the arm of her father.
“Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” Brady asked.
I found myself wondering why we don’t ask, “Who gives this man to be married to this woman?”
I mean, when I close my eyes, I still see my little freckle-faced boy — the one I took to countless Texas Rangers games and on mission trips and reporting assignments. The one who — now a journalist himself — often clutched his own tiny notebook as he tagged along with his dad.
Truly, Keaton and Paige finding each other is an answer to a literal lifetime of prayers.
I love Keaton. But I love Paige, too. She’s officially a part of our family now, but she’s seemed to be for many months.
Keaton, 25, and Paige, 24, met as students at Oklahoma Christian University. Their first date, in 2019, was at Keaton’s club’s banquet. The men of Chi Lambda Phi are known for wearing traditional Scottish attire.
“There must have been something about seeing Keaton in a kilt that Paige couldn’t resist.”
“There must have been something about seeing Keaton in a kilt that Paige couldn’t resist,” Brady joked.
Not long after, Keaton introduced Paige to our family over dinner at Empire Slice House — a Ross favorite that fittingly was chosen to cater their reception. Bennett, not quite 2 and a lover of books, christened her “Paiges” because that resonated, and no one even thought to correct him.
Both graduated in 2020, although the pandemic kept them from enjoying an in-person commencement. Perhaps we made up for that a little bit with the wedding festivities?
Keaton, an investigative reporter for Oklahoma Watch, and Paige, who has a degree in public relations and works for a mortgage company, wrote their own vows.
“Paige, I love you,” Keaton said. “I love your outlook on life and how you see the best in people. I love how you remember small details and moments and value quality time over anything else. You accept me for who I am while pushing me to improve. You’re persistently encouraging, optimistic, curious and hilarious.”
Paige talked about the examples set by the couple’s parents — Tamie and I have been married for 32 years, and Derek and Valerie for 31.
“Someday, our biggest conflict will no longer be … that you don’t like chocolate and I don’t like burgers,” Paige said. “No matter our circumstances, I vow to value what makes us strong … like our abilities to make each other laugh in any situation, to bring each other joy, peace and comfort, to walk through difficulties without letting them come between us.”
During the ceremony, Brady described Keaton and Paige as a perfect fit: “They never get tired of spending time together, whether they are headed to an Oklahoma City Thunder game or singing along to Taylor Swift with the windows down as they drive to get coffee or brunch together.”
Whoa, here come the tears again.
BOBBY ROSS JR. is Editor-in-Chief of The Christian Chronicle. Reach him at [email protected].
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