Forty-two years ago, my parents got married.
Fourteen years ago, Sister I and Brother-in-Law J1 got married.
For obvious reasons, I don't remember the first of these weddings. But I do remember the second. I was seventeen and a mere week from heading off to Yale. I was so happy. So excited. So stuffed with anticipation. My sisters and I were bridesmaids. We wore big blue ball skirts and ivory tops. Five minutes before we were to process into the picturesque gardens, the skies opened up on all the lemonade-sipping guests. What ensued was an unpredicted and utterly perfect evening of celebration. My keenest recollection of that night was gathering with my four sisters and my parents at the center of the dance floor where we all threw our arms around each other and got down to "We Are Family."
I remember when Sister I and BIL J1 so graciously presented my parents with an anniversary cake. I remember Mom cutting a slice and feeding it to Dad and how tuxedo-clad Dad, ever the goofball, bit her finger. The laughter that erupted was priceless.
I remember how beautiful my oldest sister looked that day. How her big dress bounced and twirled. How she looked at the handsome man who was her guy. That night? I am realizing today, on this happy and sad anniversary, that it meant more to me, young me, than I ever realized. It was a night on which generations commingled to celebrate and commemorate life and love, a night when Mother Nature intervened, soaking us all with sweet summer awareness of what really matters.
And here we are. Many years later. College happened. Life happened. Beloved creatures have arrived on the scene. A certain beloved creature has departed.
Today. I am full of love and reverence, my soul tinged with a bittersweet ache for what was and a profound affection and admiration for my predecessors in this good, if sometimes cruel, game of love.
Happy Anniversary, I and J! Love you guys.
Happy Anniversary, Mom. I know today won't be easy, but I also hope it is laced with laughter and marked with memory. Do you remember when he bit your finger? Silly, silly man :) I love you. Today. Always.