“You may now kiss the bride.”
You may all applaud me on my restraint: it was all I could do, but I managed not to jump straight up from my chair and shout, “YAY!!!!”
If you drove on I-5 in La Jolla yesterday and saw a group of happy people snapping pictures right at the bottom of where the beam of the car obscures the view in this picture taken from that freeway on the way out, that was us.
If you remember Kathy from my book, that was her town in California, and I tried to figure out how to drop by and say hi to her mom for the first time in 28 years, but my time was too short and just too tightly choreographed.
There were moments every wedding ought to have: the old friend of my mom’s from long ago in Maryland, long since moved to San Diego, walking in the door, seeing my mother, having no idea she was the grandmother of the groom, and her jaw dropping on the floor: “FRANCES!!!”
There were other delightful moments: ain’t nobody can dance like my son-in-law. My oldest kindly lent her husband to our young niece, who danced beautifully with him and then looked way up at him with the widest Bambi eyes that said, That was wonderful, did I do that right? Can we do it again!? And then they did.
There were ohmygosh moments, like when the wait staffer suddenly grabbed the bride’s bouquet off her table and blew fiercely on it: the edges of the flower spray had caught in the tea candle. Close one. Then the groom later put his dinner napkin on the table to go dance the first dance, suddenly realized he’d covered over another tea candle and grabbed it off quick before they had a matching set of moments.
There was the groom’s friend who danced Cossack-style.
There were the two sides of the bride’s family, getting a rare chance to come together again and renew acquaintances again as they all included us in on their joy now, too.
There were many, many people clearly having the time of their lives. I tell you, we were CELEBRATING! To LIFE!!!
There were very kind words from the father of the bride, thanking us for raising such a fine son. And you both, too, we told him and his wife. You too. Well done. So very well done. Your Kim is a peach.
There was a husband-and-wife photographer couple who so much belonged to all of us in the moments of the day as we did to them and each other and everybody and…! Such a gathering of hearts! The wife of the couple came over to me before they left to give and receive a hug goodbye, with a fervent wish from me that they lived near us, felt likewise. We would have beautiful pictures forever, not just in photographs. I certainly hope someone snapped some of them, too, for me.
There were pictures in other people’s cameras that haven’t gotten to me yet; I kept either forgetting mine or being unable to manage its clunky presence. If ever I wished I had something smaller and definitely lighter, but that was okay, there were other cameras in abundance.
There was the bride’s elderly maternal grandmother, wishing to me that she had the energy of these young folks to dance with her husband like that. I guess that was a declaration that became intent: a few minutes later, she and her sweetheart were swaying gently together to the music with the rest.
There was a friend’s musical piece playing in my head, “Sail Away,” a tune that has always spoken to me of love and belonging, in the quieter moments as I watched the boats going past our hotel room’s deck overlooking the bay from Coronado Island. My friend had no idea what a perfect future backdrop he was creating for me when he gifted me with his CD. Hummingbirds and terns flitted past our window as boats swished through the waters and on out of my sight.
There were two young people dearly and deeply in love, who laughed for sheer joy many times in the day, and a whole flock of people come to tell them how much we loved both of them and how glad we were that they’d found and come to cherish each other. And how grateful we were that they’d brought the rest of us together in their doing so.
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