Corey and I haven’t been to a wedding in years. Well, maybe one or two, here and there, but for the most part people our age are married and haven’t started divorcing yet, and our kids and their friends haven’t started getting married yet. Weddings are few and far between. This weekend we had two.
At first I couldn’t believe they fell on the same weekend. I was disappointed. I felt it would mean that I wouldn’t get to fully enjoy both as I would be worried about time, pacing and the overwhelming feeling of attending two important events in the same time period. But, I have been praying about just this thing lately. The idea is that I need to stop looking at all of my commitments as burdens, but instead begin embracing them and my busy life as a blessing. It is a good change in thought and it is turning in my mind slowly, making a positive difference.
They were two very different weddings, both of huge importance in my life and both far exceeded my expectations.
Friday night my brother got married. He is my younger brother. I was an only child for ten years before he came along, and I was desperate for a sibling and desperately in love with him from the minute he came. He is my best friend, we have always been close. As we got older life was crazy for me when I was having my kids and trying to work. A bartender, he would always take my midnight phone calls when one of my children was sick. He would then agree to come over and sleep on the couch and watch the Disney Channel with them all day so that I could go to work.
When the chaotic nature of my life subsided as my children grew older, his began. He met a girl, fell in love and in the blink of an eye he went from longtime single guy to committed father of one stepdaughter and two small children. It was a good change. It fit him and we loved her. As life happened, their marriage and wedding kept getting postponed, and we waited for it to all come together. And then this weekend it did.
I won’t give a blow by blow description of the day and all of the events. But, I will point out the highlights, the things I don’t need pictures for as they are forever embedded in my mind.
As children of divorce, when I got married it was still uncomfortable, my parents have always done fine, but there was a horrible awkwardness and underlying tension that would work its way into all family events that brought us together. I was reminded at Andrew’s wedding that time heals all wounds, and that things can come around in ways you would have never expected. At Andrew’s wedding there were photos that included parents and stepparents, a speech from my father that embraced his past life that made this all possible, and a fun moment watching Naomi (a women who cannot operate even the simplest of cameras) try to take pictures for my stepmother (a women who has professional cameras), and yes it was being done with the sunglasses on at the 8pm reception.
I will remember my brother standing alone watching his stepdaughter sing for them at the reception and then giving a speech that both honored his stepmother and stepdaughter in such a beautiful way that I cried. I will mostly remember being proud of my brother at every moment, and grateful that he found this amazing woman who loves him, and knowing that their future is very bright from this moment on.
It was one of those magical nights when everything is perfect. It was all things sentimental and perfect and it was a Newton wedding, so it was open bar…a great party on top of it all!
The next morning, after a Tylenol and large glass of water before I went to bed, I awoke to wedding number two.
I taught Samantha in the second year of my career. It was third grade. When I made a grade level change two years later, I would have her again for her fifth grade year. The next year I would have her sister Meagan as a fourth grader. They were an amazing family. Irish and fun, mom always brought Irish soda bread on St. Patrick’s Day, there were two older brothers. She was also a part of a special class. My first year of teaching had been a little rocky, with some very difficult students. That second year, Samantha’s year, brought me some amazing children, who were smart, dedicated, loved school and to be honest, they loved me.
As time goes on your memory fades, you forget things. As a teacher you don’t always hear how things turn out for those little faces that you loved and pushed for greatness. In my case, I had left the small town I taught in for the first eight years of my career, so having been gone for awhile, I really didn’t get follow up.
She found me on facebook. It was fun to see the grownup Samantha and her new baby. I asked her if she still kept up with her best friend from third and fifth grade, Liz. She said yes, and they were still best friends.
On Saturday I watched Samantha, Meagan, and best friend Liz all grown up walk down the isle at Samantha’s very beautiful and intimate family wedding. Liz’s mother remembered me and told me great things I said and written about Liz. Samantha’s mother told me this was a small family wedding, “and Mrs. Daniel just had to be a part of it.” She also told my husband the he had gotten even more handsome, so Corey was super happy he came as well. The girls remembered me in this really great way, remembered me as teacher who had made a difference in their lives. It was a rock star moment for sure. Today I am framing my picture with the girls, it will sit on my desk for the rest of my career.
So, I had this weekend where I was reminded in some really amazing ways that I was on the right path, both personally and professionally. It’s easy to forget where we are headed and that there is purpose. Wedding weekend was a lovely little reminder.