Meet Cynthia Reese and Michael Bof. This was their wedding day. It wasn’t quite what they’d originally planned, but they’re more than happy with it.
You see, a few weeks after Cynthia and Michael got engaged, they discovered Cynthia was pregnant. Figuring they would need the money they might have spent on a wedding more for raising their first child, the pair decided that sometime before the baby was born, they would just head down to City Hall for a bare bones wedding.
Then again, there didn’t seem to be a particular hurry… that is there wasn’t until monday when, at seven months pregnant, Cynthia’s water broke and she was rushed to the hospital in premature labor.
Doctors at Akron General Medical Center stabilized her condition, but told Reese she would have to remain in the hospital on bedrest for the remainder of her pregnancy.
The couple still wanted to be officially married before their child arrived, so Michael went and hunted up a Justice of the Peace who would be willing to do the honors in the hospital chapel on a moment’s notice.
And that’s when the care at Akron General got even more wonderful.
One of the nurses decided that Reese’s hospital gown was not good enough, so she fashioned a bed sheet into a sort of toga and belted it with a vitals monitor for something blue. The dietary department sent up brownies to fill in for a wedding cake. The gift shop provided chips and dip in lieu of a wedding feast, as well as some decorations. Another patient donated some baby’s breath from a bouquet she’d received so Cynthia could have something festive in her hair. A member of the medical photography department did the honors with the camera. Even a visitor to another patient volunteered to play the wedding march.
There was nothing elaborate or expensive. It wasn’t the stuff of a little girl’s dreams. It was better than either of those things. It was something money couldn’t buy: a spontaneous outpouring of generosity from strangers.
The next day, Michael Frederick Bof II was born, weighing in at four pounds, twelve ounces. Since he was born so early, he’ll spend the next two to three weeks in the hospital, and his parents expect to spend most of their time there, too. They’d like to take a honeymoon down the road, but it’s not their priority right now.
In fact, pretty much the only wedding-related plan Cynthia has is to store her very special wedding gown in her closet.
I hope you’ll join with me in wishing the Bof family many happy years in which they can always rely on the kindness of strangers… but won’t need to do so too often.