A week of wedding memories

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 20, 2013

It was a lot to pack into one short week. But everything fits in matters of the heart.
We are what is known as a “blended family.” When my husband and I married eight years ago, I was a widow; he was divorced. Our children (my three, his two) were grown. They never had to share a bathroom or fight over who ate the last gallon of ice cream. But somehow, they became friends.
Maybe we had a hand in it, he and I. But mostly, the credit is theirs. They are good kids, they and their others and their babes. We like them. You would, too.
When I first met his boys, they were 10 and 12 years old.
“Are you going to write about us?” asked the 10-year-old.
“Maybe,” I said. “If I do, what should I call you?”
He grinned at his older brother. “Call him Stretch,” he said. “I want to be Stubby.”

Fifteen years later, when Stretch and his longtime sweetheart announced plans to be married on the Fourth of July, my husband and I rented a house big enough to hold our whole clan. Then we drove from our home in Las Vegas, to Sonoma, Calif., to spend a week celebrating with all our children and grandchildren.
I wish you could’ve seen us.

It was a week I never want to forget. I keep trying to contain it, to process and define it in my words and heart and soul. But each time I try to grasp it, it slips through my fingers and dances across the room.
It shouldn’t surprise me. I learned long ago that the best times of life are not easily contained.
So I will tell you about it in pieces, in the moments I recall.
n I recall, for example, my children arriving hungry and tired after driving for hours and seeming so happy to be there.
n I remember Randy, almost 3, and Henry, almost 2, chasing each other in circles like curly-headed Chihuahuas on speed.
n Wiley, 6 months old, falling asleep, melting in my arms like a 20-pound marshmallow.
n My daughter and daughter-in-law being such good moms; my son and stepson being such good dads; my oldest, swinging his nephews high in the air to cries of “More, peeze, Uncle!”
n I remember sitting up late at night laughing at the sound of my children’s laughter.

From the wedding, I recall:

n My husband playing guitar for the processional, a song he’d written called “The Language of Birds,” that was every bit as lovely as the title suggests.
n My sister-in-law (aka The Best Person in the World) sitting in the hot sun so no one else would have to sit there.
n Randy asking, “Nana, when do we get to eat cake?”
n My husband’s ex-wife waving at me to come sit beside her.
n Stubby’s stellar performance officiating the ceremony.
n The light in Stretch’s eyes as he vowed his love and the look his bride beamed in return, while Charlotte, their 2-year-old flower girl, rolled around on the ground at their feet.
n And the smiles on the faces of their family and friends who laughed and cried and wished them “happily ever after.”
Life is remembered by milestones — births and deaths, weddings and anniversaries, graduations and vacations.
But it is lived in the smallest of moments — as radiant and fleeting as sparks from a campfire or stars on a summer’s night or the twinkling in the eyes of a child.
We record milestones with photos and videos, in the pages of the family Bible and postings on Facebook. It’s harder to capture a moment. But that is all we have, really, this one precious moment, here and now.
Here’s wishing Stretch and his bride and their little flower girl a lifetime of precious moments — and lots of good times with their big blended family.

Contact Sharon Randall at www.sharonrandall.com.