This past Friday, I got to be a part of my Mom’s wedding.
It was a remarkable and beautiful occasion — beautiful for most of the usual reasons: two people pledging themselves to love and care for each other until their bodies fail them in the task, a community of loving and supportive friends, and the chance for all us married folks to reflect on our own vows along with the couple at the center of the event.
But there were wonderful, unusual aspects to the day as well: both my mother and her new husband, Bill Liles, had been married before, and had previous spouses on hand to cheer and support them. While Bill’s parents were unable to make it down from Pennsylvania to attend the event, the best man had a cell phone in hand for the entire ceremony so that they could listen in and be a part from their home. There were a wealth of children, step-children, and grandchildren of the couple on-hand and involved. The church choir in which they met was there in force both to affirm their union and to provide some great music for the event. (Oh Happy Day!) My mother was celebrating her wedding the day before she celebrated her 70th birthday.
But the best thing of all, to my mind, was that it was the most joyful and happy I have seen my mom in years. Possibly ever. (And, while I don’t have the same history with him, Bill seemed similarly giddy.)
In spite of the fact that just over a month elapsed between the time they decided to get married and the wedding, everything came together beautifully (though not without a certain amount of scrambling). Marti, my mom’s sister, did an amazing job of pulling together the necessary planning, organizing, and communication. Kathy whipped together a lovely program in Word the day of the wedding. (This was especially notable, as she and technology are normally mortal enemies.) And I was honored to get to sing Steven Curtis Chapman’s “I Will Be Here” during the lighting of the Unity candle. (I was wryly amused that the rendition during the ceremony was rougher than any of my practice sessions, and that my doppelgänger brother actually received more comments on it than I did.)
But in spite of the hurried preparations, the evening was terrific and really reflected the character and personality of the couple. Joy, humor, beauty, silliness, tenderness, authenticity, love, and the odd slightly off-color comment were all there in front of the altar with them, and were clearly welcome companions.
So, best wishes and prayers to you, Bill and Diane, as you launch into this next chapter of your lives together. We look forward to walking it alongside you, and are delighted at the joy you have found in each other. Big love to you both.