We had a busy weekend celebrating a wedding and a birthday. On Saturday Fred's old best friend got married in the same church Fred and I were married. It might be the first time I've been in that sanctuary since our wedding. This friend was Fred's best man, so the whole ceremony was eerily familiar, especially on the eve of our 14th anniversary.
We walked in and the organist was playing the same prelude we had for our wedding, "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." For a beautiful rendition, check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPeVIuRjUi4&NR=1 Now that's real music.
Was the church really this small? I remembered it bigger, with the aisle longer, at least it seemed like that when I had to walk down it. The mothers went up to the altar and lit the candles and I could clearly see in my mind Fred's mother and my mother doing the same. I see their dresses and how they had done their hair. I remembered how they walked to the front, both of them uncomfortable to be there with everyone watching. Then the organist played Pachebel's Canon in D and the wedding procession began. But I was thinking of Marissa, just a little girl back then, walking in with her basket of roses along with little Alex (now 18 with a baby of her own!). These two with their sweet faces made all our guests smile. A young boy helping to usher at the wedding today even looked like Anthony back then.
I looked to the front and there was Fred's friend, waiting for his bride. He was in just one place over from where he stood 14 years ago. Back then my husband was in his friend's very spot, and I could think back and see Fred again, so handsome, waiting for me to come down and take his hand. I was near tears remembering my husband that day, and this wedding had hardly started! Do we all relive our own weddings every time we attend one? Maybe that's why people cry. Not for the new couple but for ourselves and the passage of time.
Then I looked at the group gathered here and thought of our guests back then. My boys were so young. Dominic stood at that same podium, reading the scripture. Psalm 103, it was. Nick, with my only granddaugher at the time just a baby, sat down near the front after he walked me down the aisle. Fred's dad was up front on the other side, gone now. Fred's sister was a couple of rows back, gone now too. The young woman who caught my bouquet at the reception, gone. So many changes in so few years.
The next day we celebrated Lana's birthday in the park. What a gorgeous fall day! October is the best month for a birthday, although the weather is unpredictable. Luckily for Lana, this was the nicest day of the week, very warm but quite windy. Lana was a little sad that her candle wouldn't stay lit long enough for her to blow it out. But she had fun anyway playing with cousins--and her Aunt Arielle and Aunt Liana.
Family celebrations are the best. Even at the wedding we attended, the girls said, "We wish it was a family wedding! It would have been more fun."