We went to a wedding last weekend. My nephew got married and he and his bride did a phenomenal job of throwing a celebration that seemed to have every detail accounted for, was beautifully decorated, and very much represented who they are. He was lucky to find someone who very much matches him, whom I quite like, and I’m looking forward to seeing where they grow together in life.
Family celebrations are fascinating to me because it seems that typically everything that defines who you are and the people that influenced you to get there are all thrown together in this finite point in time. My favorite image of the evening was actually when my dad and his brothers unintentionally ended up sitting on a bench along the wall. Grown men lined up like they were waiting to see the principal, which probably did happen once upon a time. I looked at them in their unintentionally coordinated shirts, with their laugh lines, and sun wizened faces and I thought “oh the stories they could tell”.
My mom held court as the matriarch that she has become over the years. My nephew’s mom passed away a number of years ago and my mom, stepped into the role of sage advisor, maker of excellent meals, and CEO of prospective life partner approval to her kids in the seasons since. “What did Nan say?” is pretty much the final word in any conversation and the answer to most questions.
She has indeed loved this job, and it certainly suits her.
It was also for me was a chance to just watch my parents through this narrow window of time. To see my mom interact with her brothers and sisters in law, after being married to my dad for 58 years and wonder what history do they have to tell of their own family gatherings spanning half a century. How some things don’t change with my uncle telling the same jokes I remember as an eight year old (he still calls me meathead), and how some things do when you realize that faces are starting to disappear as time goes by. To watch my dad giggle with delight when a much younger friend in her 50’s took a selfie with him and he told her it would cost her $5. And to take both parents to the fake photo booth, wrap them in feather boas and goofy hats and see them to genuinely smile at the ridiculousness of it all.
At the end of it all we said our goodbyes and left. My parents tired but happy, and me grateful that I got to spend the day with them, watching it through their eyes.
It was a good day.