Today I attended a bridal shower of the soon to be daughter-in-law of my friend of almost four decades. Her youngest is soon to be married, and while visiting with her daughter Alyson I told her about this journal entry I had written about her wedding in 2017. I searched for it not realizing I had never published it.
We are fast approaching the 2020 wedding season, and I decided now was the time to share this story of a growing family and love.
May 20th, 2017
Last night I attended the wedding ceremony and reception for the youngest daughter of my friend of nearly 35 years, who over time has become my sister from another mother. She and her very loving husband have and always will be family.
The ceremony was brief, but lovely and surprisingly entertaining, since the minister continually called the bride “Ashley” throughout the service instead of her name -Alyson. The guests shared restrained giggles and smiles in the warm humid breeze while keeping a protective eye on the bright but cloudy sky, threatening to rain at any moment as the bride and groom stood before an organic arch of green foliage and flowers along the edge of lush green golf course.
Alyson wore a nervous smile from ear to ear; simply beautiful in her knee length dress and netted veil cap reminiscent of the 1940’s, jittering with nervous energy that she relieved with multiple deep breaths and a little wiggle dance of her hips as the vows were being read. When the groom proclaimed his “I do” her expression changed suddenly to “surprise” and the nervousness reappeared as she realized it was her turn; but she quickly regained her composure. When the minister said, “Ashley” she immediately corrected him- stating that her name is Alyson. After all, if she was to make a vow, it was going to be in her true name! Safe to say they made it through, free of rain, and shared a kiss that always signifies the ceremony’s end. The small intimate ceremony was free of stuffiness or pretentiousness, simply focused on the couple that couldn’t keep their eyes off of one another and filled with love.
As a long time friend of her parents, I’ve known that “family “ above anything else, has always been the most important thing to both of them. So much so that they have woven a unique tapestry of members they call “family”. To most their family network may seem odd or unconventional, but to them it’s just the people they love and I’m grateful at times that I am considered one of their members. Their generous hearts extend a hand out to help just about anyone that needs it. I’ve never witnessed their saying “I can’t”, or “no” to anyone. A passion or calling that they have wholeheartedly committed their time and attention to.
Over the years and most recently, some of their treasured family members are now deceased, slowly chipping away at the number of living members. It was comforting to witness a night devoted to commitment that would now further extend the size of their family.
My sister friend walked over and sat beside me for a while, to have a small bite of food and something to drink, when just minutes afterward, the song “Lady in Red” began to play. I watched as her oldest daughter was being escorted to the dance floor by her husband and suddenly my sister friend quickly excused herself to dash into the crowd of guests. Shortly afterwards, the dance floor was filled with dancers, and among them I spotted her dancing with husband.
Throughout the night I observed her family, especially her two daughters and grown son with is girlfriend, and wondered if they (she and her husband) realized that their children had all found the one thing a parent can never give them.
Later when she returned to sit next to me I told her, “Your son-in-law (to her oldest daughter) really loves your daughter.” She looked out into the crowd and looked around like she didn’t understand, so I told her again. While sometimes as parents or simply human beings we may see flaws in one another, as an outsider looking in, I could see without a doubt by the way her son-in-law treats her oldest daughter and looks at her –having two small children running around beside them – that he truly loves and respects her. I’m not sure if my friend ever stopped and really looked at them in that way.
The same was obvious between her son and his girlfriend and as I said before during the ceremony of her youngest daughter and her groom.
While the group she calls family may currently be slightly smaller than what they are used to, I see the beginnings of a new generation forming. Those of us who were once “the young” will become “the old” and this new pairing of lives will weave and create the new tapestry of my sister friend and her husband’s ever changing evolved family, whose foundation is formed purely from the love they all share.
NOTE: THE PHOTOS IN THIS POST WERE TAKEN AT A DIFFERENT WEDDING OF A FAMILY FRIEND.