For me, It Was the Dancing
OK people, I'm too emotional (and tired and lazy) to describe who everyone is so forgive me but I am speaking to my family and everyone who knows them, knows their names. I need to try and get this out before it stops making sense to me.
I just got back from my niece Alexandria's wedding and I spent almost the entire six hour drive home pondering the events of this weekend, crying. What started the waterworks? A sudden memory that hit me and made everything come together. A video of me at Tristan's age, refusing to dance with my niece Rachel when she was barely old enough to walk. Fast forward to yesterday... I spent the entire reception dancing with Rachel. I realized that as much as everything changes, it also stays the same, and sometimes the change is the best part.
I remember being at that very Church for Michelle's wedding as a flower girl. I remember our Dad giving her away to Tilden and my Mom crying in the front row. There I was again at that same Church, in a wedding, but this time it was Tilden giving his own daughter away, Michelle was in the front row crying, and our mom was one row back (crying). As I was watching Tilden and Alex dance I could remember Michelle dancing with Dad, and Michelle dancing with me. I remembered dancing with Ben and Vita and my cousins as I watched my own kids with their cousins and I wondered what memories they'd keep of this wedding. I saw the empty chair next to Inez and I sat with her for awhile and cried while she watched the dance and missed Hiroshi, then I went over and cried with Michelle too because Alex picked the most heart-wrenching stinking best song EVER ("Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman). I danced with Rachel, Mark, Ben, and Caleb just like we used to only this time it wasn't to Disney's sing-a-long "Under the Sea", but we were just as happy and carefree as back then. I watched Pat dance with Bobby and teared-up thinking about dancing with my own boys someday... but it wasn't a sad feeling, it was acknowledgement and gratitude it wasn't my time yet. All from dancing.
I'm feeling a twinge of sadness for my sister. Michelle was always the person I went to because at her house I was a kid again. I sang Disney songs or Amy Grant Christmas carols (the best ones) and did puzzles and forgot about being a confused teenager. Alex was right there with us making ridiculous puzzle rules and being insane, and we all loved it (still do). Right before I left the reception Michelle and I were belting out Disney tunes with Ben. All that really changed was the frequency we all see each other, but we will always be us. It's so comforting, but it also makes me miss them already, and I miss Alex for Michelle. That's just one tiny memory of billions more she has to choose from... I'm sure it went too fast. But, how lucky are we to have all those memories! And so many more are in the future!
I am full to the very top with pure joy. I love my family so much and I can never completely express my gratitude for having each and every one of them in my life. I looked back at the big table where my aunties and uncles were and I had a flash of the future... Evie's daughter, and that'll be my table. How fortunate I would be to be there for that. God, let me be there for that! I talked with my nephews, who are suddenly driving and dating, about grown-up stuff and am so proud of the men they're becoming. It made me slow down and appreciate my little boys, but also get excited for the future. Life. Is. Amazing. I loved every minute I spent there. It was just this huge flood of emotions all at once, a million different memories and they all connected. Family gatherings are past, present, and future coming at you in waves and it's so awesome to me. I find it difficult to describe.
Oh... I have so much to say, but it all is running together and sloppy in my head. Just. Thank you everyone for being who you are. Alex & Bobby thanks again for letting me be part of your beginning :) I'm honored. I love you guys so much! I can't wait to see your lives unfold. Your wedding was amazing and you guys are so great together. I can feel the love... we all saw it :)
I get to experience this all over again in October when Caleb, my little snowman, marries his Vanessa... and more family will be there, and more tears, and hugs, and overabundance of joy. Our family just keeps growing and growing. Yay!! Bring it on!
PS - Jacob was adorable. That was for you, Tilden ;)