My sister, Tricia and Michael were married May 19. It was a celebration of so many things. As Monsignor Whelton pronounced them ‘husband and wife’, I turned to Michael’s two daughters and gave them a hug and said, “It’s official! You are my nieces and I am your Aunt”…in a single moment, my parents became grandparents of two lovely little girls and my kids had two more cousins. It took a ceremony of two families coming together to gain a brother. My sister became a stepmother; but more than that I witnessed a commitment she made to Michael’s two daughters that I will remember as long as I live.
The nuptial Mass was beautiful because it was intimately a family affair. The smallness of the wedding made it more personal for all assembled. I completely lost it when Pop walked Tricia down the aisle with two leg braces and a crutch. Symbolically, it was a miracle. Who would have thought two years ago that Dad would come so far, yet he was his old self; taking his ‘baby’ down the aisle. For our family, it was a victory lap. We all had run the race.
The words to their first song & dance “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life…and I’m feeling’ good” was so appropriate for the occasion. It was a day of grace. How many family weddings evoke feelings such as this; that no matter how sad life can be or how many blows and disappointments come along, that some things are just sacredly joyful in their essence and meaning. I saw cousins I hadn’t seen in a decade. Michael’s parents hosted a fabulously fun rehearsal dinner the night before and it was as if we were all one family. That’s how weddings should be.
As they ventured out to their honeymoon, my sister Terry and I left a picnic basket in their honeymoon cottage, along with their favorite champagne and treats. The photographs I loved from the day are of the new “family” and the parents in a group hug huddled together at the end of the evening.
Tricia has been bi-coastal for the last two years trying to finish her doctoral program, while planning this wedding and securing two teaching positions that wait for her return from her honeymoon. I’ve never witnessed my sister in overdrive; and was even more impressed with her patience and understanding when advising me on my own Master’s application for nursing. She has been more than my sister; she has been a true friend. As the youngest sibling, it was she who took me by the hand, probably for the very first time.
As I watched the happily wedded couple dance their first dance to crooner, Michael Buble’s rendition of ‘I’m feeling good’, I watched the circle of friends and family around them. Their joy was infectious. Everything about the day signified that these are the days worth remembering and cherishing. It was an honor and a privilege to witness it.