This weekend I went to the wedding of the daughter of a good friend. It’s the first wedding I’ve attended of a contemporary of my own son, although probably not the last. The bride is someone I’ve known since she was two months old.
It’s a cliché at a wedding to ask where all that time went—in fact, there’s even a tearjerker of a popular song to that effect, “Sunrise, Sunset” (“Is this the little girl I carried…”). And I followed that cliche; for me, the wedding was pretty emotional. I teared up, although I managed not to cry.
It was a beautiful day—(although very hot!)—in a beautiful setting. Take a look—this is where the ceremony was actually held:
But the main source of emotion for me was that the bride and groom seemed so deeply in love. Knowing the bride’s family very well, and knowing at least the history of the groom’s, I’m aware that both have come from families where the parents had exceptionally bitter divorces that impacted heavily on both bride and groom, adding a burden of suffering that clouded their childhoods.
And yet, here they were, starry-eyed over each other. Is this merely the triumph of hope over experience, the naivete and beauty of youth, an example of denial? I don’t think so. I like to think—in fact I sense, and I certainly fervently hope—that these two young people
have learned through their travails what to value, hard lessons that will help them through the inevitable conflicts in their own marriage.
An extra poignancy was added by the fact that all the previously-warring parents attended the ceremony, and all seemed more or less civil to each other. That, in and of itself, probably could not have happened without the passage of a great deal of time since the divorces, as well as strong motivation to make the day pleasant for their children.
Looking at the bride’s parents—a couple I first knew about twenty-five years ago, right before their very necessary divorce, but have not seen together since—I couldn’t help but remember their former selves, hardly older than their own child is today. Now they’re the mother and father of the bride, united for this day by that commonality. Their marriage was a disaster, but their child most definitely is not.