Monday, August 17, 2009
Passing the Baton
My oldest son has been engaged for almost two years; yesterday he became a husband and I became a mother-in-law. Recently people have been asking me if I’ve been nervous about the wedding – or excited or happy or what. I’ve certainly been happy about the wedding. My son and his fiancé, no wait, my son and his wife are wonderful together; I could not have picked a better life partner for him even if I’d posted a request for resumes and conducted interviews. And I was also excited for the wedding; it’s been in the planning stages for a long time. However, I found that I really wasn’t nervous. I expected to wake up yesterday morning feeling nervous and anxious, but I found that I didn’t really have any intense feelings. I realized that the work was done, the events for which I was responsible for were taken care of and yesterday was truly their day – all I had to do was show up and enjoy it. And enjoy it I did!
The wedding officiant was a dear friend of ours who has known our son since he was born. Just before we all prepared to walk down the aisle, this friend called us into a huddle, much likes sports teams do at the beginning of a game. What an appropriate beginning to a ceremony marking a life commitment. Isn’t that one of the ways we get through life? We gather with our family, our friends, our supporters; we cheer each other on – Rah! Rah! Rah! Let’s do this! As part of the ceremony, our friend gave the bride and groom his personal message about marriage, family, commitment and tradition. It was beautifully said and obviously came from the heart. Since we’ve all been friends for almost thirty years and since my husband and I and this friend and his wife have long term marriages, I guess it should not have been too surprising that much of his message echoed my own thoughts on marriage. One of his points, which I had also expressed to my son and his wife in a letter I wrote them the day after they became engaged, is that they should try everyday to give 100% to the other without asking for anything in return because if each person does this whole heartedly, the level of joy and satisfaction in a marriage can be tremendous.
My son and his wife wrote their own vows and, again, it was heartening to hear them echo words about marriage that my husband and I have lived and words similar to some of what we said during our own vow renewal two years ago. As I listened to the vows they made to each other, as I watched them look at each other with obvious love and adoration (we call that look “goo goo eyes”), I felt a deep satisfaction. We all wish that our children will be happy when they grow up; our son suddenly seemed very grown-up and, in marrying a wonderful woman, he was taking a huge step toward the type of happiness we have always wished for him. For almost twenty-eight years we have guided and encouraged him; we have been a good example of what happiness in marriage can be and we have hoped that he would find similar satisfaction in his own life. Yesterday, it felt like he took the baton from us, took his bride’s hand and, together, they set off on their part of life’s relay. Where their run will take them, we don’t know, but I do feel that we handed the baton off firmly and I think that it fits well in their hands. I can’t wait to watch them run with it!