Standing back from the crowd, I watch as the scene unfolds before me in a hayfield set up for a wedding. The sun is shining brightly at 1 p.m. with a blue sky and a slight breeze. Thankfully, the humidity from last week is gone. As it is, 82 degrees is warm enough. I look at the friends and family who have gathered for this event. Love and laughter abound and probably a little bit of nervousness for the bride and groom.
The wedding party lines up and the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom are escorted down the aisle. Following them are the bridesmaids in their wine-colored gowns, the ring bearer walking carefully as an important duty has been assigned to him, the two flower girls who can only be described as adorable, and finally the bride and her father. The bride is smiling and so very beautiful in her strapless wedding gown as she walks toward the man she loves. The groom is already waiting at the altar which is an arch with flowers adorning it. The groom’s attendants stand beside him.
This is a special wedding where one of the bride’s daughters (both of whom are the flower girls) has a father other than the groom, so it is in effect a combination of families. The girls, ages seven and four, stand close to the bride, and the groom kneels before each of them and tells them how much he loves them. He then places a special necklace around each of their necks. He speaks of family unity and love always. There is a lot of emotion and tears are in my eyes as I am sure there are tears in many of those watching. Then the groom stands and he and the bride say those special words a man and woman speak to each other on their wedding day. Before we know it, they are married and seal it with a kiss.
Pictures follow and everyone walks back to the wedding barn where the reception is being held. The usual activities follow with the bride dancing with her father and grandfather and the groom dancing with his mother and the bride’s mother. There is plenty of food, laughing, talking, pictures, dancing, and a bouncy house for the kids. Then the bride and groom change from their wedding attire into shirts that say “Mr.” and “Mrs.” on them.
I am totally in the present soaking in the love around the newly married couple. It is wonderful to leave the problems and tragedies of the world behind for a few hours and watch this couple set out on their new journey.
As the bride’s grandmother, it gives me great pleasure to be able to share these moments in her life. It is later that day that I reminisce in my mind. I remember her younger days and some of the things we did together such as making gingerbread houses from scratch at Christmastime (which was always a day-long event but the result was so worthwhile). We also baked chocolate chip cookies, went on walks searching for different shapes and colors of stones, made mud pies and cakes in the dirt at the end of our dooryard, played in the sandbox that my father made when I was a child, colored pictures, and read lots and lots of books (sometimes over and over). As she grew older, we shopped, practiced driving skills so she could get her license, and I mentored her on her high school senior project.
The years move on and she is no longer a child, but a young mother with children of her own. She has her own life now with a husband who loves her and is willing to go through all the good times and bad times with her. Their children are so excited to be part of the wedding. They are having as much fun as everyone else and are out on the dance floor. As their uncle from Michigan said recently, “Those are two happy girls”. They are indeed and they certainly show it on this day.
Having recently seen “The Lion King,” I am reminded of the song in the movie called “The Circle of Life” (originally composed by Elton John with lyrics by Tim Rice). I look around at the four generations present – great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, and children. Each of us is part of one generation. As we grow older, other generations come along. That is what life is about – the ever-changing circle of life and yet parts of the old generations carry into the new generations.
I look at my granddaughter and her husband and think of the many young couples just like them with hopes and dreams for their futures. Yes, there will be good times and bad but their combined strength and belief in each other and their family will get them through.
I believe that we are all allotted a certain amount of days in our lives. Make the most of your days because many people do not have a chance to grow old and see the new generations coming along.
Life is a journey. We have been truly blessed on this day.