Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A New Day is Dawning

My son is getting married in three days. I'm gaining another daughter of whom I have become quite fond. It is a beginning and an ending. When two people get married they are a new family, but people tend to think of them as a couple until they have kids. That's how I felt when I got married. "Ah, we are a couple. Someday we will start a family..."

The change a marriage makes is really felt when the extended clan gets together and people need to take pictures. Distinctions are made: just the old nuclear family, now just the siblings, now the siblings with their spouses, now add the in-laws, now the kids with their children...

Eventually, if all the kids marry, you and your spouse are back to being a couple again. With an empty nest.

Life doesn't stop for you to adjust. You sit helplessly by while each child leaves, eager, excited to be on their own, and their empty room is full of past times never to return. You walk in it, look around, and walk out shocked at how quickly it was over. You wonder that anyone could celebrate the emptiness. Your heart aches. You wonder if the silence will kill you. Somehow that picture of the Waltons with all their kids and grandparents under one roof just will not die. As much as you love your spouse, the two of you created something together--and now your joint venture has become shrunken--withered like the skin on the back of your hand making veins pronounced and wriggly. You loved those withered, veined hands on your grandmother, but never expected to see them on yourself. You look at your spouse and hope that the two of you can fill your home and time with life in a new way.

So the wedding is coming up. I'm very happy. I will probably cry for joy. But all the same, a change has come. A new family unit is carrying off my son, leaving me for now on the outside and hoping that he will cherish and love the gift of family that has been given to him for a time...

No comments: