In what I have hopes is the last wedding in the immediately family, our youngest married this past weekend.
By Sunday evening the house was still, the guests having all flown or driven away. There were dishes yet to wash, loads of linens to clean, rooms to re-arrange again. One of the cats, having enjoyed a week of intense attention and volunteer groomers, was bereft at being ignored and alone. I could certainly empathize.
Marriage is one of the big milestones in life. Each of our kids have been more than mature enough for the event when it happened; it was less a marker on the way to adulthood than a post hoc acknowledgement of arrival. Ending their school years, finding their work careers, purchasing homes, becoming parents… Supposedly the socially expected happy events are done, and they can only look ahead to the sad bournes of life: accident, illness, and death.
In reality, the future milestones are multiplied. The joys of family members’ milestones are often greater than those of your own. Who remembers their own advancement from one level of school to the next as well as their parents? The pride in a sibling’s career advancements – not unmixed with a tinge of envy, perhaps. The birth of one’s nieces, nephews, children. Grandchildren, perhaps. And the word family becomes twisted as you realize that bonds with certain people, not set in blood or genetics but in shared experiences and opinion, is deeper and stronger, and their milestones are adopted as your own. And so many events to see, to come!
Love is a multiplier.
Of course after all the excitement, the people, the activities (and expenses!) there is a moment of reflection, of quiet. During which one unexpectedly falls asleep.