Today, the womanchild served as "Best Man" at a close friend's wedding. She was the groom's only attendant. B. and A. have dated for over six years. They're only a few years younger than I was when I got married after dating R. for five years, but they seem so young. As I get older, I forget how tender we all were at some point. Babies remind me of this, but I never remember how long that tenderness lasts. In remembering my own life, I don't see that delicacy, freshness and unconscious optimism in myself at that age. It's hard to be objective about your own life though. Part of the beauty of youth is being able to take it for granted.
The groom's grandparents are friends of my mother-in-law's, and I remember them at my wedding. Back then, they couldn't have been much older than I am now. Seeing them today at their grandson's wedding reception, they too displayed a beautiful delicacy. They each came in on a walker. You could see the physical toll that life has taken on them in the last few years, yet it was almost as if some of the weight of adult life had been stripped from them. They both, but specially he, had a softness and openness (completely different from that of senility) most often seen in infants.
Both the wedding and reception were very casual. C. wore a blouse and skirt over tights to the wedding, and a T-shirt printed to look like a tuxedo with jeans to the reception. The groom's mother had told her that as Best Man, she had to deliver the toast to the bride and groom. She's sweated over this for the last week, ever since the kids announced their wedding. This morning, as she was getting ready, together we worked on her speech. She said it's handy having a mother who's a walking thesaurus. (Yes, I was flattered.) This afternoon, she brought the room to tears, not because of eloquent words, but because of heartfelt emotion.
I've been an anti-social creature this last year, and prior to the last twelve months, for too long far too many of my social events have been funerals. I've averaged close to four a year for nearly a decade now, and some of these have been the Big Ones of family members and dearly loved friends. I have felt entrenched in loss, surviving death and crisis, for years. I don't remember the last wedding I attended. I know of some that I've missed because I was either unable to attend or not ready (read unwilling) for a celebration of life. I came close to backing out of this one today, and it was only the daughter's strong desire to have me there that got me there.
I'm so glad I went. The joy and faith in each other that B. and A. share is beautiful. I cried so much today, I'm crying still. At the reception, a CD of love songs that the kids had chosen played in a loop. They had songs from the 50's on, and many of them were some of the songs that were special to my husband and me. One of them was played at his funeral. At one point, I had to go to the restroom to pull myself together. C. told me that it was okay; her friends and their family knew that this was going to be hard for me. And it was okay. I also got to dance with my daughter, and well, it doesn't get much better than that.
I'm so proud of C. today. Yesterday was a truly nightmarish day for her. We'll have to deal with Tuesday's events seriously and carefully. Today, though, she chose unselfish love and happiness for others. My child is teaching me well.