Tuesday, January 03, 2006

After the Wedding

Returning to the winds of the St. Louis airport after the warmth of South Padre Island in Texas woke us all up to "the real world" as Erin put it. She really should not talk since she will soon be leaving to go with softball friends to visit in California and enjoy the beach again there. I hope she soaks up sufficient sun to keep her warm when she heads back to snowy South Bend and Notre Dame and the hard work awaiting her there.

Four days of travel, relaxation, visiting, eating, shopping, and getting acquainted with the groom's family during wedding festivities had certainly given us a break from our real world. We'd stepped off the plane at the airport to see lots of green grass, palm trees, bright red bougainvillea, yellow hibiscus, mesquite, cacti, blooming petunia plantings, and no need for the coats we wear here in Southern Illinois. There were beautiful lights all up the driveway between the palm trees and more Christmas decorations inside the LaCopa, where we stayed, but the decorations had a Spanish look. Our ears often heard the Spanish language spoken in the shops and restaurants as well in our hotel. Gerry got to come over a couple of days from his lodge in Mexico to join in although he could not stay as long as he wanted since this is his busiest season.

Weddings make us stop and think and reminisce about the past and look forward to the future and somehow temporarily transport us to another way of seeing life. A beautiful ceremony by the ocean was especially moving as we contemplated the waves and the waters stretching out forever, the youngsters playing on the sand, the white gulls and the colorful kites overhead, and of course the momentous changes that come not only to the bridal couple but to their families as they abruptly cut off things as they were and change to the way things have become. Watching three sisters (Tara's two and Bryan's sister Beth)with dark tresses and red dresses looking gorgeous while supporting Tara in this life-changing ceremony, we older ones remembered how it feels to see a daughter or son leave the home nest with its frequent contact, communication, and fellowship with siblings and then move on to new and better things.

We hung around for photos after the ceremony and watched the bride and groom frolic in the ocean before the whole group headed off for dinner and wedding cake. This was also the fourteenth anniversary of Mary Ellen and Brian's New Year's Eve wedding on Music Row,and we insisted on an anniversary picture under the arch. I hope Trent and Brianna enjoyed seeing their parents kiss under their cousin's wedding arch as much as we did when we finished singing "Happy Anniversary" to them. Mary Ellen had been Tara's first baby sitter the summer Tara was born, and Tara paid her back by being Trent and Brianna's nanny summer before last.

When Erin fixed hair for the bride and her maids in the hotel room, as she no doubt has done so many times at home, there were lots of giggles and inside jokes and wisecracks. There were also a few tears when something of the grandfather who is no longer with her was passed on to Tara. I remember the April that Tara was born and how that grandfather stopped every day after work at Gerry and Vickie's trailer to see their new baby. It is odd how close the past seems during a wedding week. The other grandmother and I both thought of Tara's parents' courtship and wedding--and sometimes the past seems more real than the present. Tara should still be making Gerald stop at McDonald's two and three times during a truck trip. Erin should be the little mischievious tyke who cut her hair and screamed when we brushed it--and not the lovely glamourous young lady with hair up with scarlet ribbon. Little sister Geri Ann (almost 12) should not be looking like a shorter 16-year-old version of Erin. After making the past so close, weddings also make us admit that yesterday has evolved into the present and there those children and grandchildren stand by the wedding arch: all grown up and beautiful and anticipating the future in the real world.

1 comment:

Somerset Wedding Girl said...

What a wonderful piece of prose, and all so very true. I think weddings really are a fantastic time for reflection on how we have grown as people!