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The Story in Photos

I went into a kind of meltdown when Michel received his orders to serve in Iraq as a triage doctor. I hadn't been able to protect him from his sister's death 30 years before, and now I couldn't keep him safe against enemy combatants. Michel assured me that 400 Marines would be protecting him. Jenny faced a wait of at least six months in a country that was new to her and knowing no one.

Making the best of Jenny's birthday while Michel was away, we celebrated with my sister Barbie during high tea at the Ritz Carlton. Bob and I were lucky that Jenny returned to San Francisco with us. At 28, she went back to school to improve her already fluent English, cooked amazing meals and lit candles for Michel daily at Grace Cathedral. We alternated sending weekly care packages to Michel and made a formidable support team.

Jenny at John and Suzie's home in Minnesota, with Michel's brother Patrick, far right. Jenny impressed everyone with how well she knew her faraway husband. When a photo arrived from Iraq of Michel in the mess hall, she took one look at his tray and said, "That's not enough food for Michel."


I wasn't surprised that Suzie embraced Jenny so quickly and lovingly. Raised in a family of 10 children, Suzie has the capacity to create huge gourmet meals in the midst of kitchen chaos. We used to joke that she had a catering service delivering meals to the back door. Jenny, also from a large family, loves to cook and pitched in immediately.

Michel had to leave for Iraq so quickly that he and Jenny were married by a justice of the peace. The big ceremony was saved for his return, when Jenny could finally have her dream wedding in her home town of Santa Cruz, Bolivia. My Goddaughter Kaitlin, all grown up and gorgeous at 18, flew down with us for the celebration.

Michel and Jenny, so beautiful and happy together, dance amidst bubbles created by friends and family (we're all blowing bubbles outside camera range). The jars of liquid soap were brought down by my sister Barbie, Michel's Godmother. No one wanted to go home after the bride and groom's lengthy separations, so we danced until 4:30 a.m.