The newlyweds returned to the chaotic energy of the household filled with five extra family members. Her grandfather tentatively helped with flower cutting; brother and first cousin sorted and bagged KitKats brought from Japan. Then the relatives, still tired from driving across states to be here, willingly got back in their cars to pick up more flowers and cupcakes to deliver to the restaurant, along with the guest book, candles, framed pictures and card box. My husband left at the same time to pick up her altered dress and her husband's dry cleaned suit, leaving the couple and myself a quiet interlude to breathe.
A few hours later, our nuclear family of four plus our new(ish) son-in-law arrived at the lakeside restaurant. My husband dropped us off so we wouldn't have to carry the centerpieces too far. As he pulled away, I started walking and felt my shoe separate from its sole.
It's not a wedding celebration without something going wrong...right? I shuffled into the venue and up the stairs.
The room was wonderfully appointed with the decorations we had sent on ahead. Party coordinators greeted us and took the centerpieces to be placed on the tables. The photographer was already there, and began taking pictures of the couple.
Extended family reappeared--my father, his wife, my uncle, my brother and his daughter--with more picture taking to mark the event. One, two, twenty more friends and family from all across our daughter's life strolled in. My partner teacher who was among the first to know I was pregnant twenty-six years ago. Her NICU nurse, still a good friend. Friends from middle school and high school. Her college roomate. Beloved neighbors who might as well be her grandparents. Our favorite, welcome Thanksgiving dinner guest.
A motley crew, to be sure, but all connected by their love for our daughter and her husband. Laughter and smiles and conversations filled the room as we all caught up with one another or found new connections--the college roommate discussing her med school NICU rotation with the nurse, my teaching partner and my daughter's high school friend commiserating over Minnesota winters. Toasts were made and glasses were lifted to the newlyweds' happiness.
We couldn't have asked for a better celebration.
|The centerpieces now adorn our kitchen table.|