By 4:00 today, Saturday, July 13, 2019, my cousin, Lauren Millican, will be married to Madison Ambrose.
Lauren is an only child and she is the only female cousin I have on my mother’s side, so she and I were very close growing up.
My favorite memories with Lauren are the ones we made during the summers when we were young. Our pawpaw used to love to take us to vacation Bible schools together, so we would go to my church’s VBS one week and then we would be at her church’s VBS the next. Lauren’s favorite part about every VBS we went to was music class and mine was always craft class.
To this day, Lauren is the only person I know of who grew up without siblings and didn’t fall victim to the myth of having only child syndrome. She is kind and giving and has a way of making you feel loved when you need it most.
One of my saddest memories that involves her is the day our pawpaw passed away. None of us grandchildren went to school that day, so I ended up going to Lauren’s house while the family worked on getting funeral arrangements set. She and I curled up on her the living room couch and her mother, my Aunt Lesa, covered us up with a quilt and we just sat there in silence until it was time to face reality. The day of the funeral, her dad, my Uncle Greg, gave each of us a white handkerchief. We sat on the front row in Henagar Baptist Church and held each other while we cried into our hankies.
I have grown up feeling doubly blessed because I've always had both Lauren, and my sister, Nicole, to lean on. Between the two of them, I had the best of both worlds. I could stay around Nicole for as long as it took for me to get on her nerves and for her to get mad at me, then I could leave Nicole alone for a while and pick my nonsense right back up with Lauren.
Now that Lauren and Madison are about to tie the knot, I can’t help but think about the one thing that I always associated with Lauren– Disney princesses. Lauren’s room was the hub for all things Disney princess when we were growing up. She loved them all, and had the dress-up clothes to prove it. She even had a Disney princess canopy over her white four-poster bed, and I have to admit, I always felt like royalty sleeping under it when we had slumber parties at her house.
When we were young, Lauren’s room was a magical place. Princess figurines to gaze at, princess jewelry and shoes to wear, enchanted castles to pretend with and wands to wave, shimmery dresses to twirl in, and, of course, crowns to proudly wear. Now that we’re grown and Lauren’s Disney princess room has been all but erased in our memories, the most incredible thing to me is that she managed to hang on to the one, true princess attribute– finding her Prince Charming.
Thank you, Madison, for validating our make-believe, and thank you for your promise to love, cherish, and care for my favorite cousin.
I love you, Lauren. May you both live happily ever after.
— Kayla Beaty is the managing editor of the Times-Journal, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org