Wednesday, 13 July 2011

eldest sons wedding

I have the most amazing red finger nails and they have been this way for over two weeks now. For the first time in my life I went to have a proper manicure and to have my nails ‘shellacked’ at the ‘Beauty Lounge’. But then it is the first time I have been the mother of the groom too. I had decided I was going to enjoy every single bit of this monumental occasion. I had bought my outfit in Bath on a shopping trip with my sister, and I had my shoes made to match by the shoemaker in St Agnes. I was ready.

Having sons I always knew I would never have the ‘mother of the bride’ experience but I have been so lucky because in my son’s new wife I did feel very much the mother of the daughter-in-law, that sounds so lovely I am going to say it again, my daughter-in-law, I have a daughter-in-law. I never thought I would share the experience of going shopping for a wedding dress for a child of mine, (he may not have been wearing it but it was very much for him too) so I had never wondered what that would feel like, and I have tears in my eyes now as I remember standing in the shop so full of emotion as the dress was selected; I felt so special and privileged, I cried then too. This lovely girl had given me this wonderful gift of helping her choose one of the most special garments she will ever buy; and on her wedding day I helped her put it on. One hears of friends having that special joy with their daughters, and although Kate is not my daughter, it was no less a magic thing.

Two days before the big event my son was every bit my son as he panicked because he had left some important stuff to the last minute. As soon as I arrived up country the day before ‘the Day’ we had the most perfect shopping trip, ever. It was as if someone had laid out the exact things we needed even thought we didn’t know what some of them should be, we were inspired; we got everything that was needed, not only got but were really pleased with; with a hair cut and lunch to boot and time to spare before the shops closed. This was my baby all grown up with a baby of his own, the step he was about to make somehow felt more grown up than anything that had gone before and I didn’t want to miss a moment of it

We all spent the night before at the hotel, and it was decided that my sister and I, with our husbands, would take Lee out to dinner. We chose a pub that served Thai food, it wasn’t the poshest place but the food was very authentic and very good, down to the sticky rice being served in little wicker baskets. The food, the lay out of the place and the atmosphere all reminded me of when Lorna and I had joined Lee for a couple of weeks when he was travelling many years ago, this was when I first noticed my boy was in fact a man and not only capable of looking after us, he did. That was a life changing holiday in all sorts of ways and here we were again with another life changing event before us.

My son and his wife to be had very clear ideas about how their special day should be, what they were doing was very important to them, they were very committed to the step they were taking and they wanted to share it with the people that were close to them. They didn’t want a ‘staged’ wedding, they wanted a celebration; and that is exactly what they had. I took a photo of the bride as she walked up the isle and it is one of the best wedding photos I have ever taken; she looked radiant, her excitement and joy shone out from her face. And who could blame her because waiting for her was this incredibly handsome man who had loved her even before he had asked her out; this man of whom I am so immensely proud. What made it such a family affair is that the ceremony was conducted my brother-in-law, my eldest grandson was the ring bearer and this little three year old took his job very seriously and preformed his duties without fault, he was a star.

If I believed that fate gave us signs on these auspicious occasions then she smiled that day; in between wet miserable days we had one glorious real and proper summer day with the bluest of blue skies and warmth one imagines when thinking of the perfect day. And a celebration should include a feast, a feast were everyone can eat all they want of delicious food until they can’t eat anymore, and we did; and laughter, provided by Luke taking full opportunity to tell stories of their growing up and working together, at Lee’s expense. Children ran around and had a ball, family events need children and they were provided for. There was a piñata for them full of toys, cars, dinosaurs, spiders, clickers, and water pistols, and as the shopping, fell to the ground and the children descended upon it, my eldest grandson stood up with such a look of triumph on his face, with all and only the water pistols in his arms. How I love boys. The only concern was their poor little son who was not feeling too well and was not so happy. And presents, given and received, I had managed to maintain my composure throughout the ceremony but when I was given a bangle with their names and the date inscribed on it for my bangle collection I was unable to hold it together any longer, and I cried.

When I look back on the day I feel I should have talked to more people, but I wanted to remember it all, to store it up to bring out on other less exciting days. The staff at the hotel commented that it was a very relaxed and laid back wedding, and they see a lot. When I went with the bride-to-be to see the wedding organiser at the planning stage, she said how very much in love they seemed, and added she dealt with many many couples, and didn’t always feel that.

When walking to work the day after meeting my husband, I could not feel the pavement beneath my feet, the sun shone just for me, the birds sang just for me, it was as if the world had somehow shifted on its axis, everything was the same but looked and felt different. I know not everyone experiences that in their lifetime but I wanted it for my children, and I believe my son and his new wife had that magic, and the very best of my wishes go with them into their new life together.

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