Moving on, and letting go

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined for life - to strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent, unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?"

-George Eliott

In the dance of life, it seems, we play different roles as time marches on. From childhood to teen years; from young adulthood to, well, the spot I'm in now.

I've got a guaranteed spot at the grown-up table of life, and the rites of passage are changing. No longer am I one of those who stays out too late, drives too fast and rolls my eyes at wise advice from elders.

I am one of those advice-givers.

This coming weekend, our large and rambunctious family will gather, five generations in all, to celebrate a marriage.

It's pretty special to me, as my beloved godson Chad Keene, will join his life to that of his bride, the lovely Dani.

Chad has done what wise grooms through the ages have done- chosen and somehow convinced a woman far too good for him, to join her life with his. It is, as I've watched the pair over the months, a true meeting of spirits and minds.

It will be a lovely wedding.

But, more importantly, it will be a lovely marriage.

Chad is a dreamer. And I mean that in the very best of ways.

He contemplates the big questions of life and he seeks guidance from the very best of places, his strong and unshakable faith.

Things like bank accounts, mortgages and 401ks aren't really at the forefront of his thoughts most times.

Dani, while she shares his strong faith and good heart, has shown she can lead him into the land of the practical. She has brought out the best in Chad, and I can see her doing that more many more years in the future.

Chad's mother promises copious amounts of tears as her first-born takes his vows. And, as one who cries at every graduation, wedding and even the more touching greeting card commercials, I can guarantee some from this aunt as well.

The tears will be a combination of joy and bittersweet sadness.

Joy, that one of the young souls I keep close to my heart, has found a path in life that will bring him happiness.

Sadness, at the knowledge that a very special part of our life is done. I'll think of that sweet baby face, a particularly pointed chin, and white-blond hair. I'll remember chasing across golf courses, watching him run cross-country in the fall, and vacations our families shared. Our Christmas Eve tradition, two families for over 20 years, will change.

Chad has already started making memories with Dani; traditions that only they will share.

And, while I know that's the way it's supposed to be; I'm sad for what's gone. And, I think like all of us, I worry that I didn't appreciate enough how very good those good old days were.

There will be a dance Saturday night, at the wedding. The wedding party will take to the dance floor, giving off that particular shade of light the young and happy do. The little ones will hesitantly wobble at the fringes, moving to the music. The teens will approach each other with caution, circling before moving in to ask for a dance.

And I'll be seated at a table, careful not to take to the floor with too much exuberance. After all, I don't want to embarrass my son (he'll be one of those circling the floor). Perhaps there will be a dance for all the married couples, to a more sedate song, appropriate for the more mature crowd.

Then I'll take to the floor, holding tight to my best friend for over 20 years, and remember that change is good, and inevitable. And that, with your best friend at your side, even the hard times become easier.