Welcome to the wedding of our oldest child, Christopher, and his bride, Seunghye.
Please come in the Villa Mare and enjoy our celebration. (I am so glad to have you readers with us in spirit. It makes for more rays of love and connection, doesn’t it?)
See this little girl in her beautiful Korean traditional outfit over there? See the little bunny she’s holding? Barry and I bought a stuffed animal for the two little babies (this one and her little brother) at the bookstore of the University of California San Diego bookstore.
Looks like this bright-eyed girl likes it, doesn’t it? She even brought it downstairs for the wedding.
She’s shy, though. It takes her a while to warm up to strangers, so don’t go expecting hugs immediately. It took me a few days before I could pick her up and carry her around.
In the meantime, while you’re wandering around the Villa, please excuse me. I must go get dressed in the aubergine mother-of-the groom dress. It’s kind of wrinkly since travel, and we’ve been late arriving at the festivities. Everyone else is dressed.
I certainly hope ironing is available. Barry’s pants need pressing–and so does Kiah’s dress.
What shall we do?
Oh my goodness, what is this? It looks like Diaa has been taught how to iron by his Egyptian grandmother! Can you believe our luck? He insists that it’s “simple” and so we give him our pants and dresses and, by golly, what kind of miracle man did our daughter discover?–he irons our clothes.
(Yes, yes, I know how to iron. But when someone is offering–and it’s almost time for the wedding–would YOU say no?)
Chris and Seunghye have hired a translator for the big day, so you can talk to her mom and dad and brother and sister-in-law and even the babies.
My mother thought that talking with Seunghye’s mother and learning more about Korean culture was one of the highlights of the wedding!
I was so busy mingling with the approximately 50 guests that it felt challenging to talk adequately with everyone. You know how that is, don’t you?
OK, it’s time for the wedding ceremony to start. Let’s all join together on the outdoor balcony overlooking the pool. C’mon up–don’t be shy. It’s very informal. The bride and groom are going to exchange vows themselves (they have already been married before a justice of the peace) so it will just be a simple celebration.
The groom informs us that we must all hum that famous bridal march as the door of the villa opens and Seunghye glows so beautifully as she walks toward Chris in her lovely wedding dress.
They exchange their vows of love and commitment beneath the palm trees with all of us as witnesses.
You can tell their words come deeply from their hearts.
And now they kiss–and hug.
I’m crying. Are you?
Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older, when did they?
When did she get to be a beauty, when did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?
(Pardon me. For a moment I am lost in the lyrics of Fiddler on the Roof’s Sunrise Sunset which played at our wedding, how many years ago…)
Excuse me. I am still caught in the throes of “one season following another, laden with happiness and tears…”
What kind of wisdom can I give them? How can I help to ease their way?
Now they must learn from one another, day by day.
OK, enough Fiddler on the Roof. Christopher has an announcement. (The photo makes me think he should run for President. Doesn’t that look like a presidential waves? Years ago a native American elder used to teasingly call him “The President”.)
He wants those of us who have been pre-assigned to read or say our toasts, stories or speeches.
First Ryan gives the traditional best man speech. He teaches a speech class, so, boy, he better be good! And, yes, he does beautifully.
Now I’m remembering how I met Ryan’s mom, Deb (who is here at the wedding with her husband Chuck, can you believe it? And we have SUCH a fun time together, especially after the wedding, but that’s jumping ahead) when we were both out-to-there pregnant with our soon-to-be firstborn sons.
And how Chris and Ryan have stayed fast friends all these years and now go on elaborate hiking trips where they roast ducks over open coals and scale mountains and once one of their buddies axed his foot and Chris devised crutches from trees to get him out of the woods…but don’t listen to me yak on.
Ryan is telling you some of this now.
Excuse me. I am still singing that long-ago song.
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears…
My dad has blessed the union with a prayer. My mom shares a wonderful story about how her first-born grandson crawled into her living room and grabbed her Precious–and I mean Precious–Moment Wise Man from the manger back when he was a baby and emerged in the family room clutching her precious ceramic figure in his chubby hands. She tells the most beautiful tale of how she learned over the years what was the most precious thing–more precious than a Precious Moment–and that it was family that really counted, which meant more than anything.
(I hope I have that story right. I was silently weeping during her story.)
OK, OK, you want to see the weeping picture, especially since it’s my turn to tell the toast…
And, while, you’re at it, you might as well get your look at the aubergine dress because, sorry to say, there is not yet an entire photo of the dress from head to toes. But you can see the color, right? You can get the general idea, right?
Just a simple dress. (Sometimes I am sorry that I tease you guys with long stories about something as simple as a wedding dress, and you get all excited to see it, and it’s just a dress. Note to self: do not tease readers so outrageously in the future!)
Now we come the happily ever after part of our “Once upon a wedding”. Chris and Seunghye, all teasing aside, I do wish the best for you. I wish that your love flourishes through the years. I wish that you experience many good times, and that you grow closer to one another during your challenging hours. I wish that you learn to communicate deeply and respectfully with one another–and to support one another through Life’s beauty, anguish, rawness and joy. As one sunrise follows another, may the strength of your commitment help you each in flowering in the fullness of your potential. I love you both. Thank you for your precious selves.
**And thank you, readers, for your presence in spirit at this celebration. I am feeling teary-eyed again at the goodness and possibilities of this life.**
P.S. Thanks to Christina Hoheisel (remember her from the post Shanghai and away!) for so many wedding photos. This post wouldn’t have been possible without you, Christina!