The baby is getting married.
The husband has been copying photographs, putting together a video for the reception. He made a wonderful pairing of two photographs. In the picture on the left, she is 10-years-old wearing my mother’s old wedding gown playing dress-up and I am adjusting her veil. In the picture on the right, she is standing in her real wedding gown and I am kneeling on the floor pinning where fasteners will go for the bustle.
A quarter inch of space is all that separates 16 years. The time went exactly that fast.
She’s about to take the plunge. Every marriage has an element of jumping off a cliff. You know the other person as well as you can, that he loathes tomatoes and you like them. You do the pre-marital counseling, read the communication books, then close your eyes and leap. The act of marriage takes grit and courage.
Marrying someone is not the same as living with someone. Living together is test-driving the car. Marriage is having the guts to buy the car knowing it is still yours even after the 5-year/ 50,000 mile warranty has expired.
Marriage is a public commitment, a legal contract and covenant of faith, in which a bride and groom vow before God and witnesses to uphold a life-long exclusive faithfulness.
It is mildly nerve-wracking knowing that the model of marriage your offspring knows best is your very own.
Did she see that marriage is the most important relationship she will ever nurture?
Did she see that the cornerstone of marriage is courtesy? Tone of voice, dear. Ask, don’t tell. Suggest, don’t demand. The world outside is rough, so be tender.
I hope she heard me say at least once that women do not have to be first responders. Often it’s better not to say the first thing that comes into your mind. Or even the second.
I hope she knows I married her father because he’s a good man. She’s marrying a good man, too. Respect him by speaking well of him, both to him and to others.
I hope she saw the power of the mundane — that the shared laughs, small surprises, kitchen disasters and everyday routine and monotony are what cement you as a couple. Even the crises and catastrophes become part of the memories that build your history.
Our daughter and her fiancé will be glowing on their wedding day. I pray they enjoy every moment of the day. I also pray that they will weather all the seasons of marriage, and that one day in the distant future they find themselves with a few extra pounds, salt and pepper hair, a thousand inside jokes and still enjoying one another.
Robert Browning said it well: “Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be — the last of life for which the first was made.”