If you think any of us got through this wedding without tears, you don't know us. Or you don't know what it's like to have the first member of the youngest generation get married. Or you haven't lived through twenty-two years watching the baby of the family become a responsible husband and father just as suddenly as if he'd been magically reborn. Or you haven't been happy and proud to see a big step forward taken by two people who have grown into a rock solid family unit in eight short months.
Tears, yes, there were many. D.J., all of four years old, walked his mom down the aisle and said, when the minister asked who gives this woman, "Me and Dakota." Pledges, promises and rings were exchanged, with a measure of dignity and a bit of laughter. David, Tammy and D.J. lit four candles and a large "unity candle," symbolizing the new family of four members (so far). The minister pronounced them husband and wife, they kissed tenderly and were presented to their family and friends as a married couple for the first time.
As I mentioned yesterday, I don't go to a lot of weddings, but this was the best one ever, no question. Everyone was talking about it, how beautiful and moving the ceremony was, how simple and tasteful, and how well planned and organized. There were (to my untrained eye anyway) no hitches. On the contrary, nothing could have been improved upon. Nothing important, anyway. Nothing that matters.
After the ceremony was the cocktail hour, with a buffet in the lobby while the official photographs were taken and the reception area was readied for all the guests. When we went inside, Mom and I sat with John and Suzanne and the close family members at the main table, just below the long head table where the wedding party was seated. (In fact, we were the second table allowed to go fill our plates, right after the bride and groom and attendants.)
Eric was best man, and his toast moved us to tears again. He and David had fought like— well, like brothers when they were growing up, but they are now best friends. That means so much to all of us, especially their mother. Suzanne has good reason to be proud and happy, and that's where her tears came from. All of us who have been on this journey with them felt that wistful satisfaction that things were turning out better than we could even dream.
Tammy's matron of honor Alicia has known her longer than her new family, and she again moved us with her story of the difficult road that brought them to this place at this time. With the help of her best friend, Tammy became a stronger person, and now she has David (and the rest of us) as well. The future looks brilliant, and whatever difficulties come will be faced and overcome together, with the support of all of us who love this couple.
David made a gracious speech thanking his parents for all the support, and for making the day possible. (And we all cried again.) Tammy made a speech of her own, acknowledging her "adopted" father and expressing her appreciation for how much a part of our family she's been made to feel. (More tears.) It was a series of wonderful (if slightly soggy) moments.