The day was supposed to be damp and cloudy. The sun disagreed, and came through, hot and bright. We were all drenched in sweat soon enough, but we would have been damp with tears of joy no matter what, so we happily lived with the sweat.
My new daughter was lovely, beautiful, glorious, glowing, all the words you can think of to describe a bride. My beloved son was snappily dressed in a sharply tailored suit with a wooden bow tie, because of course he would find a stylish wooden bow tie, he's my Andy.
I walked Andy down the green and grassy aisle (which failed in its attempt to trip me by grabbing at my heels), hugged him when we got to the front, then sat down with Bob. Emily's dad walked her down the aisle, then went to sit down, and the act of joining two lives together began in earnest.
They wrote their own vows. No talk of death parting them, just talk of going on a journey together. Emily cried as she told Andy just when she fell in love with him, and why she loves him, and what his friendship means to her. Andy cried as he told her how much he loves her, and how hard he'll try to be worthy of her love.
There was plenty of laughter during the ceremony, between Star Trek: The Next Generation references by Josh Allard, the wonderful friend who officiated; a rambunctious toddler flower boy; and an escaping wedding ring. Andy and Emily are both actors and writers, which meant they made the ceremony as inclusive as all such ceremonies should be.
They exchanged rings, and kissed, and became the newly-married Emily Bates and Andy Berlien.
Later came the cocktail hour and the dinner (pizza from Gino's East because, hey, they're from Chicago, so that's exactly what was called for), and hugs and laughter.
My brother Mac, resplendent in his RCMP dress uniform, announced Andy and Emily to the gathered guests, using his most official and stentorian voice to do so.
So many people became part of the day - my beloved brother; found family, like Gonzo and Dr. Bob (Sandy and Bob Andina), and Jack Targonski; friends of Andy's who have long been friends of ours, like Gordy Andina, (Gonzo's and Doctor Bob's son, and Andy's oldest friend) and Sarah Fields, the daughter of my heart and Andy's sister of the heart, and so many more; and even friends we were delightedly surprised to have join us, like Neil Rest and Mike Butler.
Bob toasted the couple, speaking about the difference between a contract and a covenant, asking those gathered with us to toast the covenant between Andy and Emily.
They danced their dance, smooth and practiced, because they are performers, and it delighted them to delight us by doing so.
Emily danced with her father, and her father then beckoned to Emily's mother and her husband to take part in the dance, an act of extraordinary grace that brought a lump to my throat. By the end of the dance, Emily's two sisters had joined in, everyone with their arms around each other.
Finally, I was summoned to the dance floor to dance with my son. I didn't know what music he would choose, possibly Moulin Rouge, I thought, the short and quirky Tim Buckley song we both liked?
Instead, Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill began playing, and my son began pogo-ing to the music. No sedate dance for Andy and me, I realized. That's not us. We danced around each other, and sang the song to each other, our hands to our breasts beating out "my heart going 'boom, boom, boom!'" every time the phrase came round.
We urged those watching us to clap, by virtue of our own clapping. We jumped high, and often, and heard everyone singing along with us. As the song swelled to its end, Andy beckoned everyone to come dance with us, while my own 62-year-old heart went boom-boom-boom, and I realized anew how much I loved my son, even if he was bidding fair to kill his couch-potato mother with such musical cardio.
He told me later that he chose the song because it always made him think of me. He's wise; the song always makes me cry, mostly for joy.
The wedding was about Andy, and Emily, and our dance was just a tiny part of the whole, but it fit the day that Andy and Emily created for themselves; it fit the way they chose to create an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace,
After all, a wedding is also about family - finding one's family, and drawing people in to join the circle, and starting new branches that still are part of the old trees. We have a new daughter, and Emily's family has a new son.
And I am blessed to have been part of the day.
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