A Ceremony Worth Celebrating

I’ve wanted to write about my son’s upcoming nuptials for weeks and guess what happened?  The wedding was last weekend.

This is what happens when one is busy experiencing the event.

I really wouldn’t want to have it any other way. 

Juxtaposed with the whirlwind of wedding activities was enjoying family from California. My sister-in-law is approximately my age with a great husband and four kids all under the age of eleven. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was managing the care and keeping of three kids much in the same way that she is. And yet, here I am watching my oldest get married. Blink and there he is, standing in front of the officiant saying wedding vows to a remarkable and lovely young woman.  The little boy who was going to take over the world with his underwater laser base couldn’t keep the tears at bay when he saw his bride walk down the aisle.

It was pretty much a golden moment.

I am no longer an advocate for elopement – and my girls better listen up as I say this. Being witness to these two young people making a vow and commitment to each other was very important for me. My heart warmed as I heard my son speak his vows to his bride; however, it was her vows to him that cracked my heart wide open. This woman, who loves my son with all of her heart, took the responsibility to ‘be the shelter for his heart.’  I felt a deep sense of contentment and satisfaction as something almost intangible seemed to slip away from me into her hands – the care and keeping of the man my son has become.

I will always be his mom but it was through the witnessing of their vows that I also get to step down from the primary female role in his life. Frankly, I’ve felt that since the day he took her on their first date and there was joy in my heart even then. This time, however, the knowledge feels more solemn as if I, too, am making a commitment to honor their marriage partnership foremost by simply being a loving presence and support for both of these amazing young people.

Ceremony and ritual are not just for those in the center of the room.  The community that witnesses the ceremony is woven into the fabric of the vows and intentions as spoken.  Watching this particular community celebrate these nuptials gave me a peek at the love, humor and care that will undoubtedly continue to grace the lives of my son and daughter-in-law.  What a blessing!

And so, at the end of the day, as my guests head home and I slowly begin to put crystal and china away, I am conscious of being a woman with children who are quickly launching into their own adult lives (yes, one is still flapping in the nest - but she’s on her way). I am aware of how quiet this big farmhouse of ours is. Empty rooms, echoes of voices and the thunder of little feet.  Memories savored, and yet - tomorrow beckons to me just as it does to my son. He steps into marriage and a future family of his own. I step towards my own new chapter.

Each and every day.

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