Tonight I attended a wedding. There was a time about ten or so years ago when they were common. My friend C and I used to go to them together–he was my regular wedding date. Every two or three weeks there was another, and we just had a blast. It’s amazing what can happen when there is no obligation to your date . . . you relax, have fun, and enjoy yourself.
In the last several years, though, the weddings have changed. They’re still fun, though I usually attend alone. Much easier. But they’re bigger hooplahs now. Not quite as easy and breezy but still very fun, and usually more personal. Best friends, family, etc.
Tonight was the wedding of my youngest cousin. She has been with the guy since she was about 15, and is almost 23. She looked absolutely beautiful, but it cracked me up because they were already acting like a couple that had been married for years. In essence, of course, they have–she’s been with him longer than I’ve lived in any singular location.
It’s a weird thing with my cousin. I love her dearly, but when she was about 10 their family moved about two hours away. Her family didn’t visit often, so I really don’t know her like I did when she was a kid and lived close by. Therefore the wedding reception was spent with the immediate family–parents, brother/girlfriend, other aunt/uncle, and the bride’s father/stepmother. They now live in Texas, so I haven’t seen him since my grandfather’s funeral three years ago.
I think that was the best part. I’m thrilled for my cousin, pleased for her mother/stepfather who were happy, and so on, but it was spending a few seconds with my uncle that made it memorable.
I was trying to figure it out. My uncle was 14 when I was born, and when I was a kid I idolized my uncle. He is the one that gave me a tacky confederate soldier hat to wear with my frilly dress and patent leather shoes the day my brother came home from the hospital. He’s the one that always swore around my prissy mother and aunt. He’s the one that wasn’t afraid to drink and have fun. He’s the one that listened to decent music, and thought that sissy bands like the Honeydrippers and Air Supply couldn’t hold a candle to Kansas or Led Zeppelin. (Odd the things that are cool when you are a kid.) He got married when I was seven, and I even caught the bouquet at their wedding. (Wonder if that cursed me for life, catching it at the age of seven?) My new cool aunt used to give me her old clothes (I quickly grew out of them). I remember a family vacation at the beach when mom, my aunt, and I were lying on the beach at Nags Head. “Quick! Look! Three guys at nine o’clock!” I didn’t have my glasses with me, and I remember my aunts disgust at how she couldn’t do anything and the teenager she was with couldn’t see anything.
Little memories, I know, but still.
When they moved away, I missed them. It wasn’t until I was an adult and able to appreciate them as individuals that I truly missed them–I have much more in common with the two of them than I do with the aunt and uncle that live here in town. (Don’t get me wrong I love them dearly as well!) The divorce between my aunt and uncle was amicable, but it still took me surprise. I think I figured that they had been together for 25 years, so why change things now. Fortunately, they both found wonderful people and are each happily married again. My aunt moved back to Virginia, and my uncle chose to stay in Texas–he finally found his home. I only see him now for things like funerals (Papa) and weddings (today), which means his time is drastically split among the Eastern relatives when he visits. Yet today I got to see him again. It’s ironic that it was at a wedding–an event that is guaranteed to have a ton of cameras whirring, everyone trying to grab a pic before he gets snarly because he HATES to have his photo taken. I was the unfortunate victim of that snarl when he had finally had enough. We wanted a picture of the three siblings to have as a Christmas gift. Nope, sorry, not gonna do it.
Yet I digress. As I said, my uncle was 14 when I was born. I was 13 when his daughter was born, and today that spoiled little girl was married. It’s hard to believe that’s she’s all grown up–or that I’m that old!!!