I didn't expect to feel that way. It was just a wedding, a time and date I had to keep. A dinner I had to attend. What am I going to wear? What gift should I buy? Who's going to watch my kids? Did I order the prime rib or salmon? These things clouded my thoughts.
The bride, I've known since her birth. My best friend's niece. Absolutely beautiful in every way. Sweet as a blushing peach, smart, accomplished in everything she attempts, deserving of much joy and the wonderful, smart, accomplished man who promised this day to love her always. It was an exquisite day, an outdoor wedding in an arboretum, a reception in a glorious room with an open balcony overlooking beautiful lawns. And the hors d'oeuvres. I could live off the hors d'oeuvres table (and waitress's trays) all my life from this day on. Roasted vegetables, a beautiful salmon, not your average pasta salad, sushi, scallops wrapped in bacon, clams casino, spring rolls, shishkabobs.... Oh, I'd never seen anything like it. I was primed for a night of joy and laughter. And we had that.
The reception. I was surrounded by people who have been part of the family of my life. Not necessarily the ones I was born from, but the ones who have accompanied me on my journey thus far and, I trust, will from here on out. The ones who fed me countless dinners... and breakfasts. The ones who knitted sweaters and hats for my babies. The ones who came to my shower bearing wooden bowls, lingerie and heartfelt hopes. Who held my newborns, who love my husband, who ask about my children, who invite me to their weddings. There were those I knew by name, but not personally. I'd heard a little of their story, we shared friends and loved ones and we talked and laughed like we'd been friends forever. At a good wedding, your people's people become your people.
Together we had come to see the bride and groom's story begin. We wanted them to continue to experience the good in their life together and to fend off the bad. We wanted their story to be better than our stories, their hopes to be preserved. We watched her tilt her head shyly as they danced. We smiled with her as he delicately dabbed icing onto her nose with a touch of his finger. We hoped she'd always be that blossoming lady and he'd always be that gentleman. We hoped they'd be two of the lucky ones.
It was a good celebration, the air was thick with love. It filled the room warmly, even among the personal pains and struggles that escorted the guests like awkward bundles of deflating balloons. Alcoholism, dementia, desperation, loneliness, hopelessness, betrayal, faithlessness, self-consciousness, fear. I knew so many of their stories and brought some of my own. We're just regular people, how could there be so much pain right here in this room? Tuxes and hairspray don't scare off our stories, yet I feel the love won out for those few hours. Our own experiences only made us pray harder that the couple be blessed even more than we were. May they be two of the lucky ones.