Well, the wedding happened. Everything went off without a hitch. The bride was radiant, the groom was handsome, and tears were shed. They are off honeymooning and I can hardly wait to see them again.
I look back on that momentous day and realize a certain terribleness in it all. I'd better explain fast. It was terribly happy, terribly bittersweet, terribly sweeping in its finality of how things were and now are. While we rejoice with achingly full hearts for the wonder of a new loving family, a parent at a wedding has a heart breaking for the little boy who has grown into a man, or the sweet tot who is now eager to be a wife and mother. I cannot watch Fiddler on the Roof without bawling my eyes out when the father sings "Sunrise, Sunset".
Time is merciless, and love is ruthless on our hearts. We can't stop life from moving on, but we so much want to say "Stop, stop. I need to hug and kiss that little boy one more time before he is grown and gone."
I can't complain. We did do a lot of hugging and kissing, and spoke words of love. We rejoiced at the maturing and thrilled at the miracle of a new love story. Mom plays an important role in a boy's heart, but sees the inevitability of another woman taking that place, and the need to bow out gracefully. I could not be happier about the number one women in my boys' lives. They all made excellent choices for a life partner, and our family is richer and fuller with each new addition.
The nature of love, however, is to cut your heart open, bare and vulnerable. At the time it happens you hardly realize how you have exposed yourself, since you've been anesthetized with feelings so thrilling you are not sure your heart can contain them. And that is the irony--it can't. It must be cut open to expand. And somewhere down the line the pain of love catches you up, and you find yourself crying that your baby has been replaced by a toddler, then by an adolescent, and finally by an adult walking out the door, happy to be leaving your home. And that same person will never come back the same.
Don't misunderstand me. I am not sorry and clinging to the past. But I am now paying the price for loving with my whole heart. Pass the Kleenex.