This past Sunday, I was privileged to attend my soul daughter's bridal shower. She has been friends with my son for five years, dated for two and they will be married in 17 days. This bridal shower was primarily a family affair. Aunts, cousins, sister, mother, grandmothers and lifelong friends shared personal memories and reflections, gifts of heirloom pieces, souvenirs, hand crafted treasures, and family recipes. I was struck by the interweaving our histories have within a family.
As the mother of the groom, living in a city nearly 1,000 km away, I'm so grateful my son is being absorbed into this long legacy of treasured memories and look forward as he and his new wife will together build a legacy of their own.
I attended another gathering Saturday on Sunset Beach, where the son of my husband's best friend exchanged vows with his bride. When it came time for the photos, my husband's 40+ years of friendship earned a spot in the family grouping along with me as his wife. As a recent newlywed, these summer weddings and preparations are a sweet reminder of my own recent nuptials and the value of relationships: friends and family members which support and strengthen each union.
This intergenerational blending and intertwining of my family with my new husband's family and his long time friends' families, and us with my son's new family, along with his cousins, grandparents, uncles and their families who will be joining us. It truly will be a united nations wedding: Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, American, Canadian and more.
As I was searching for the words to express the emotion of all this, Dr. David Benner shared the following quote from John O'Donohue. It captures the essence of family:
Superficially, a family might look like an accidental gathering of individuals called together by the chance meeting of a man and a woman who fell in love and wanted to express the depth of their love in procreation. At a deeper level, a family is an incredible intertwining of multiple streams of ancestry, memory, shadow, and light. Each home hosts the arrival of history and assists the departure of new destiny. The walls of the home contain immense happenings that occur gradually under the subtle veil of normality. Though each family is a set of new individuals, ancient relics and residues seep through from past generations. Except for our parents and grandparents, our ancestors have vanished. Yet ultimately and proximately, it is the ancestors who call us here. We belong to their lifeline. While they ground our unknown memory, our continuity bestows on them a certain oblique eternity. In our presence we entwine past and future. ~ John O'Donohue