Wedding week and all the happily ever afters

Wedding week and all the happily ever afters

The warm November sun hits my face, and I bask in its warmth. Palm trees sway around me, and it’s not too hot, not so hot I want to run inside and hide from it. My toenails are red, and I let them sink in and out of the sand as I hear the roar of the ocean just in front of me.

We’ve arrived early to paradise. It’s wedding week.

When we dropped our eldest daughter off 10 years ago at PBAU, we didn’t know how long she’d be here. Turns out that the right coast of Florida was the one for her, and she made it her home. When she brought home a fresh-faced boy named Tyler for Thanksgiving one year, we knew that aside from finding her niche there, she’d also found her love.

We’ve hopped cheap Spirit flights, driven down numerous times, watched her graduate college and sunk our feet into various beaches around the Gold Coast. It’s become a dear and familiar place for us to come to. This week we’re here because 10 years later, seven years together, Belle and Tyler have decided to tie the knot. Their nuptials are being held in Miami. We await the celebration of the year.

She finished school, built her business, and they now feel ready to take on the mantle of husband and wife. Time isn’t limitless here on earth, but we still told all our kids to take their time — don’t rush into marriage. Travel, do, see. Here she is at the end of her 20s, stepping into a new role, an extension of what already is. I look back through the years and realize my mom and her were the exact same age when they married. I wish Mom was here to see it.

I’d want them to know love ages well if you tend it, watering it like a plant — each fragile stem important as if it had the most prestigious job to do. Cut away the dead parts, or as Mom always said, “Pinch off those shoots so it’ll bloom fully later — don’t be afraid to do that.” Lush tropical foliage blooms hot and heavy because the dead weight falls to the ground. Just like marriage, we can’t drag around dead weight. If we do, it becomes a burden, a chain around our hearts.

I’d hope as well that we were an example of love: raucous laughter, loud fights, the sight of two people in love making up, being annoyed with each other and still stirring three teaspoons of sugar and enough half and half to make it creamy into a blazing cup of coffee each morning. Love is turmoil and joy and the falling back into each other and remaining wholly yourself.

Miami awaits us this week, a huge old-Florida style hotel that will ensconce us for several days as we watch two souls join together, lush foliage surrounding a bit of opulence where we will gather — for a short time — to see love unite.

I believe in love. And I believe in these two. Wedding week is here.

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