It wasn’t that long ago that she was 2, trailing me around her home, where I was a guest, watching me, her auntie, apply makeup as I prepared to meet the day. I’d come from far away, left all my busy work in a busy newsroom behind to see her, to hang out for a while with my little niece — the first of eight children my sister and I would help bring into the world. And as she watched, I could feel her sweet young gaze and all its wondering.
Was she already imagining in some inexplicable way this day?
I didn’t expect the emotion that would rise up within me during the ceremony, as a string quartet played haunting melodies of life and love, as a future bride joined hands with her future groom, as they locked eyes during the vows, as she tried not to cry.
I see people crying at weddings and it’s hard for me to connect sometimes. I didn’t cry at my own wedding. I’d seen too many brides lose it walking down the aisle. I, on the other hand, was intent on remaining in control.
And I’ve sung at weddings of people I don’t know. It’s easier then to remain composed.
But this time, it was different. This time, that little baby face I saw sitting in her mother’s arms that very first visit, waking me up with her tender giggles as she watched her sleeping aunt, and my awe over the fact that my sister had really done it — she’d become a mother — after all our pretending in our growing up years about this day; it was real. A child. My only sister’s child. And so beautiful at that.
And now, a blushing bride, and the years flash back and forward and in a jumble I realize…this is big.
This is the beginning of a new life, and the beginning also of many weddings and new souls coming into our lives and all that our growing families will come to mean in the coming years — and so much of it as yet unwritten.
Next, it could be one of our daughters.
Who knows? For now, I’m content with them serving punch at their cousin’s wedding.
I’m not quite ready.
Was my sister? She seemed so composed, so relaxed. She did a great job of being mother of the bride. I know it wasn’t easy every step of the way, but she did it. I’m so proud of her. Because really, even though it’s about my niece and her new husband, it’s also about my sister and her husband and everything they have poured into this life.
Now, they step away and hope they’ve done enough to teach her to be a woman, a wife, a mother.
The photos speak for themselves, but suffice it to say…it was a beautiful day. The rain of earlier had cleared just in time for outdoor shots.
And from there, everything seemed to flow as flawlessly as one might imagine it.
Oh, I’m sure there were a few hidden foibles.
But we couldn’t see it from the outside.
We just took it all in and enjoyed the sight of a new family in the making. Two saxophone players from North Dakota who met in Colorado and realized…this was something different than they’d known before.
I pray for my beautiful niece and her charming new husband, that they will always have the opportunity to share the music of their souls and never forget what it feels like to dance.
I pray that God would wrap His loving arms around them and never let go, and that they will respond in kind, and realize that it is only through Him that they will find true fulfillment in this world.
There is much reason to be hopeful.
And by the way, Happy Anniversary today to my sister and her husband, as if a wedding and another birthday the same day of the wedding wasn’t enough!
Q4U: What are you hopeful about this week?