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Posts Tagged ‘Weddings’

Nostalgia… no not really.  Sentimental… yes, more this.  The feeling of sweetness, sunshine and fresh lemon-lime-spring day, mother’s, grandmother’s, aunt’s favorite perfumes and lipsticks, the way everyone feels when you give the “family hug” (nephew feels weightless, other nieces/nephews feel tentative and impatient, dad feels strong and tight, mom feels cool yet loyal, one sister feels rushed, the other sister feels attentive and lingering, brother feels like hugging busy thoughts instead of flesh).  A niece’s (well not really, my cousin’s daughter, not sure what you call this) wedding, wanted to do it HER way (got to love the independence), rock music down the aisle, female minister’s casual and flip marriage ceremony script, girls in sandals, and the reception with lots of beer and wine, first dances while everyone hungrily waits for the buffet to start, KC and the Sunshine band songs, line dancing.  My family, the “saintly, churchgoing pod” sequestered to tables on the fringe by my sister and the cousins “raised by the alcoholic (divorced father) reaps alcoholic children clan” splashed throughout the dining tables randomly.

After my mother, father and my sister  leave after eating (mom doesn’t want to see everyone get DRUNK), my brother, wife,  kids and I have fun dancing and mingling with the “others.”  Beautiful string lights under the canopies, the air clear and just the right coolness.  My cousin Johnny, who was recovered for about 10 years and then relapsed, who never liked kids (in fact would usually leave any gathering early with kids present) tells me that his live-in girlfriend has a “no-good” daughter with a 2 year son, Travis, who comes in from day care with his arms open wide for his “Johnny” to kiss and hold him, then “sit on floor with me” to play cars.  Johnny’s eyes teared up, “I’m afraid to push his mom to straighten up because I don’t want him going out into the world with HER.”  I could feel my heart split, some because looking at Johnny is like peering into my father’s face (they look identical, Johnny’s mother is dad’s sister) and some because Johnny was completely and utterly smitten and I felt a wash of relief for the child.  I told Johnny, “At least he has KNOWN love… he will never forget that, it will be inside him all his life.  No matter what happens to him, your love has penetrated and it has taught him what love feels like.”  “I hope so,” Johnny says weakly, as if talking about the intensity of his feelings has spent him emotionally.

I do a crazy, hip/hop dance with the mother of the bride (my cousin), the photographer behind her catching her spastic body convulsions, and she tells me afterward that her daughter didn’t want her help with any of the wedding (just write the checks, mom).  Not really pain in her face, but mostly confusion about what to feel, what it means to have such a strong-willed daughter (carbon copy of herself).  She flips the emotions off quickly, responding to the pull of the bar for another “gin and tonic.”

Looking through the pictures the next day, I edit and crop a picture of mom and dad, walking hand and hand.  It splits me open again, like a fresh strawberry, weeping on the counter.  I am a mixture of feelings but the flush remains in the sentimental category.  I come from parents who have stayed together for 60 years.  I marvel at the steadiness of that fact and the paradox of my own status as a 3rd marriage-goer.  There is a tenderness that runs like a rooted vein through the years of their marriage.  I have benefited from its nourishment.  I have garnered loyalty and accountability qualities of my own.  I watch my children swim in the quiet pool of this heritage.  Yes I have rebelled the tightness, the fear-based judgments of “others,” the lack of adventure.  But the cadence of my life was initiated by a marriage made for “better or worse” and I feel a need to honor that, let it resonate my bones and celebrate its existence.  Thus my ability to KNOW when I told Johnny that his love has not been wasted on Travis.  Travis has known love.  He will never lose that.  This I know.

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