February 7, 2015: Baby Russ Got Married

I'm in Cancun and just experienced the beautiful wedding of Russell Lane III and his lovely bride, Megan.

I had never been to a destination wedding before. A first for me and a first for Garrett. Although a gorgeous setting and reprieve from the Nebraska snow we left behind, not all invited guests could make the trek to the Caribbean. I quickly found that destination weddings may be low in attending guest count, but high in level of enthusiasm. We were in the middle of a tropical playground.

The focal point  of the trip was the marriage of Russell and Megan. There wasn't a dry eye on the rooftop as the adorable couple shared their personally written vows with whimpering voices and loving emotion. I sat back and smiled, reflecting on the day Russell was born into the world and the number of people around me who shared in his boyhood.

Yes, Baby Russ got married.

It feels like yesterday that a very pregnant Robbie called announcing she had lost her 'mucus plug'. I am still unsure what this medical terminology means. If I lost such a thing with my deliveries, I don't remember. But I sure remember thinking it was a big deal as we ran across the college campus in the rain to assist in what I assessed must be an impending delivery.

Russ Jr. was coming home from an away football game. The soon-to-be father was a player on the Westmar team roster. In those days before cell phones, the school bus that carried the weary players was flagged down by humans as it reached our college town. Russ was taken off the bus and escorted by car to his laboring wife at the LeMars Hospital.

Russell William Lane the III entered our world that night. Baby Russ.

All of Westmar campus fell in love with this little baby wonder. From football players to coaches to friends and previous dorm roommates, we all visited and held this new life Russ and Robbie brought into the world.

Fast forward twenty-eight years and here we sit in Cancun, watching Russell's wedding. Many of the same usual suspects from his early years were in attendance. The football coach, Randy Schmailzl and wife, Nancy, sat behind me. Russ and Robbie in front of me. Members of the Lane family and old Westmar friends were seated throughout the picturesque rooftop ceremony.

As my brain reflected on that fall day in 1986 to today, I was reminded of life cycles and how people come in and out of your life through these cycles of change. Someone once told me there are no such things in life as coincidences. People come into your life...stay, leave, reappear...but it is all a purposeful plan. It is up to us on how we embrace these human interactions over the course of our lives.

Enjoying time with the Schmailzl's was a great reminder of this. The same coach that visited the hospital the night Russell was born, now flew 1,500 miles  to be a part of Russell's wedding day. Garrett and I sat at the 'Westmar table' at the reception, sharing stories with the Westmar crew from those many years past.

Nancy and I reminisced about their oldest who danced with me at Russ and Robbie's wedding. Although I don't remember the shyness of this now 6 foot 7 grown man, Nancy reminded me of how at age 19, I got on my knees to dance with the smiling six-year-old following his courageous request. This same son came to Garrett and my wedding reception a year ago to share his well wishes. No dances that day, but a big hug.

We shared updates of other Westmar friends. Many who sat on the same football bus as Russ on the day of Russell's birth. Offering updates and showing FaceBook pictures of former football players and students, our table was aglow with memories. It was a reminder of the good of social media. There is a bit of our college yearbook that remains open through this outlet, allowing us to stay in touch with long lost friends now living on different coasts and different parts of the world.

From questions of "What is Sherwood up to?" to declarations of "You've got to follow Byron. Funniest posts on FaceBook." got us pulling our phones out and sharing stories of past and present. I could feel the warm glow that hung over us as we shared life for a while.

The cycle goes deeper than Westmar and the college years. Many in attendance have watched our Baby Russ grow up and have been a part of his childhood years. We have cycled in and out of each other's lives as we have celebrated in our own happiness of births and marriages, as well as life's disappointments and sorrows that have hit us as well.

Watching resort entertainment, I laughed with a close friend on how it took Cancun for us to spend some quality time together. We raised our kids through the years without thoughts of a family celebration that didn't include the other. Yet now, although both with Omaha residences, we rarely find time for each other. An unintentional, but a factual occurrence. We have now vowed to change this.

Thank-you, Russell and Megan, for inviting us to celebrate this special time with you as you begin your journey of life together. It was truly a gift. We look forward to Megan joining our circle and the many celebrations in your years to come as Mr. and Mrs. Lane. And, no pressure, they don't all need to be in Mexico. But it sure was nice....

Not quite a baby anymore, but Boo-Boo and Little Russ back in the day


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