Life events – the good, the bad and the ugly – they all shape us.
One of the best kind took place in my life two weeks ago, when my daughter, Jennifer, married Craig Bellhouse, a wonderful man who hails from New Zealand.
In the presence of family and friends, who came all the way from his homeland, the Yukon, Ireland, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and more locally to share in this celebration of love.
The wedding was simple, beautiful and meaningful.
The promise to myself not to shed tears at this joyous event went out the door at rehearsal the night before, when Stephanie Shaver sang the Book of Days in her beautiful, haunting voice.
It’s a good thing I heard her then because I missed the song completely on the day of the wedding, as my heart, mind and soul were captured by the sight of my son, Jeremy, wearing my late husband’s tie, bringing Jen down the aisle to her soulmate’s side.
When I saw the tears in the groom’s eyes as he made his vows to my only daughter, I knew he was a keeper. She reciprocated and I, and many more I suspect, blinked back our own tears at this moving display of love, acceptance and promise.
We, the mothers of the bride and groom, lighted two tapers which, after the wedding vows and signing of the documents, were used by the newlyweds to light a unity candle, binding the two families together.
Other people important to the couple were remembered in the ceremony although they are no longer “with us” as it were. Four sets of grandparents were listed on their marriage program, prefaced by a beautiful poem that proclaimed, in part, “forever in our hearts, forever in our lives, and so we say our vows in loving memory of you.”
Dressing the hall the afternoon before the wedding was a labour of love and laughter that had family and friends putting up decorations beautifully and lovingly crafted by Jen’s maid of honour.
Laughter also set the tone at the reception, a celebration of the season and the Shuswap as well, with a fabulous cake from Blue Canoe and wine from Larch Hills and Sunnybrae wineries.
Following dinner and fine speeches by the best man, who swore he was speaking English even though his Kiwi accent had some people fooled, the maid of honour and Craig’s parents, I finally got to add my thoughts. Aside from enjoying the opportunity to get back at the groom for wishing “the old bag” a happy birthday last year, long before he was legally my son-in-law, I stuck mostly to the subject of love.
Here’s what I believe: love is the glue that binds us, but with a boundless elasticity, able to grow and stretch to accommodate new people we meet without ever diminishing what we feel for those already within our current circle of love.
Ours is a circle that grew to include Craig’s family and friends, a circle fired by love and laughter and very good memories.