She looked like a dream, as we all knew she would. A culmination of all her life experiences, positive and challenging, leading her to this joyful moment. She was a picture of all that is good – smart, healthy, confident and truly kind.
So we gathered to watch her marry the handsome man who was strong and gentle enough to be with such a woman, two families, and friends, coming together to celebrate the love and marriage of their cherished children. The wedding was held on Fishers Island at a seaside home. I’m the Auntie – well, the bride is the daughter of my ex-husband’s brother, and with my divorce, I didn’t have to relinquish my aunt status to these beautiful young women. They have been a huge part of my son’s world and a treasured gift in my life.
I felt peculiar on the ferry approaching the island on a hot and hazy day, to this place I once called, “home”. It was a lifetime ago, and at that moment, it felt like a different incarnation of myself. Not much had changed on the island in the years since I left. I walked off the ferry and immediately recognized an old friend’s smiling face. I gave her a hug realizing how good it was to see her again, and I knew this would be a fun and meaningful time.
The ambient sounds and smells were so different than what we have become accustom to in our mountain life. The squawks from the seagulls and the damp salty breezes were lovely and evocative, bringing memories of my life here to the surface.
The first night, we slept in the small third floor room, in a house that once belonged to friends of mine. As I drew comfort from the lolling call of the fog horns off in the distance and the slow rolling sound of the waves coming from the Long Island Sound, my husband questioned, “are those annoying horns going to be blasting all night?” What I drew comfort from as sounds of my childhood growing up on the southern California beaches and my time at our family house on Fishers Island, White Caps, brought no solace to my mountain man from Idaho.
We are a blended family, and with the reality of the dynamic cycles and changing forms of love, I am ever so grateful that my ex-husband and I cared enough about our son and each other to come to a place of friendship. In the big scheme of things, anger would have served nobody and love has meant everything.
It is special for me to watch my grown son interact with his much younger half brother, and to witness first hand the affection his stepmother, my ex-husband’s wife, has for him. I watch the two brothers walk together across the lawn, and later, escort their grandmother who lost her husband, their beloved grandfather, only a few months ago, to her seat. I recognize their father’s gait and stride in both of them. I see how they stand with their hands in their pockets with the slightest slouch of their shoulders apparent, and I see their father as he was when I met him. We are older now, but the wit, sarcasm and sense of humor are the same.
Our coming together that weekend, especially at that hour when our niece professed her love and commitment to her chosen life mate, and he to her, was filled with so much deeply-rooted love, it was palpable. I learned later that the bride’s father had a chat earlier in the day with his recently departed father about the weather. The skies had been pouring down on the grounds of the wedding site with gusto all morning, he asked his father to keep the rain away for the ceremony.
The groom and groom’s men strutted down to the ceremony site to the sound of “Eye of the Tiger”, with the crowd cheering them on, followed by the two bride’s maids, throwing cheeky smiles, winks and even an air-kiss on their way down the aisle – they were an ethereal sight. Finally, with the sun shining bright and low on the horizon, after two clearly delighted cherubic flower girls charmed the guests, the bride and her father stepped out from the house and onto the lawn. The bride’s grandfather in the heavens, having kept his promise, breathing one big gust of wind to announce his presence as she and her father began their walk towards her soon-to-be husband, and then he blew just enough of a gentle breeze through his granddaughter’s hair and veil to rouse and frame the most glorious vision. She was as stunning as a bride could be.