My little brother (who’s still littler than me, regardless of the fact he hasn’t been little in twenty years) married his sweetheart yesterday, bringing to a crest a ten year story with twists and turns no one could ever have expected. It was a wonderful day, a beautiful ceremony, and a damned good time. I have no hesitation in saying that the hearts of everyone in attendance were full to bursting with joy, best wishes, and good cheer.
Of my three siblings, he was the last to marry. Now we’re all suitably hitched, with marriages that span from nearly 11 years to barely just a day. If nothing else, that says to me that my parents should be proud of themselves and the job they did raising us. When we were young, things were often not easy, and like all children, we were never afraid to test the limits of their patience. Regardless, they taught us to each find our way in the world, while never forgetting to be a good person first. And as with so many things, it was in their example that we learned the most. Married for 41 years and counting (I think – Mom, please correct me if I’m wrong), I don’t recall them ever fighting in front of us. Theirs is the benchmark to which I will always compare my own marriage.
For those of us that have made the walk up the aisle surrounded by friends and family, attending a wedding will inevitably cause reminiscing for our own nuptial event. What got me the most during my brother’s ceremony was the moment when the bride first appeared at the doorway, drawing the attention of everyone in the room. I couldn’t help then but think of when the Puddinette appeared at the doors of the church when we were married, and how the sight of her literally took my breath away. Before that, I’d heard people refer to being breathless, but always assumed it some kind of hyperbole. At that moment, though, I realized that, if nothing else, the one thing in life capable of honestly achieving it was seeing half of yourself, half of your soul, physically incarnate in the person who will become your spouse looking at you from the opposite end of that aisle.
When I saw the Puddinette in that doorway, she’d captured me, I was hers entirely, and the thrill of it was such that I’d completely forgotten how to breathe. When I looked at my brother standing in the front of the church yesterday as his own bride was revealed, I recognized the wonderfully helpless look on his face that indicated that he’d forgotten how to breathe himself. My older brother, his Best Man, did exactly what Best Men are supposed to do and quietly reminded him to breathe and relax, just as my own did over a decade ago.
The Maid of Honor holds the Bride’s flowers; the Best Man holds the Groom together.
Later on, well after the ceremony and when all the traditional customs of the reception – the dining and first dances, and cake-cutting and bouquet throwing – were complete, when the actual party began in earnest, I happened to see another reception in a separate room in the hall. It looked very much like ours, and it made me realize that weddings, more than almost anything else, represent the best we have in the way of a pure celebration of life. In the singing and dancing, smiles light every face, children play with abandon, and we all overflow with love and cheer and well-wishes.
Moments like these are few and fleeting, when the magic of fairytales briefly intersect our everyday lives and we find ourselves caught in the instant when two people are so consumed with love for another that it steals their breath just as their lives are joined.
It’s a wonder that we too often take for granted. A wonder that should never be underappreciated.
Congratulations to my younger brother and his beautiful bride, may their life together be filled with good times and boundless joy. I’m thrilled and honored to have participated in the celebration of making of their new life together.