My family loves to celebrate…birthdays and the birth of babies into the family bring us together to rejoice. Weddings not only allow us to celebrate the happy couple and dance and feast together, they allow us to enlarge our family. Tonight, my family grew again as my son, Nate and his sweetheart, Megan, exchanged vows in front of a teary eyed crowd.
Nate and Megan said “I do” in the beautiful Amelie in downtown Joplin. It was the perfect backdrop for this elegant yet festive wedding. Gathered around tables with candle filled lanterns as centerpieces, we watched as Pastor Robin and Nate led the way to the front of the room. Five groomsmen and five bridesmaids walked together toward them and then came the children…Oliver and Karleigh, Joey and Aubrey, the girls dropping flower petals as they walked arm in arm with the boys. We stood as Megan, radiant and gorgeous in her dress, slowly walked down the aisle on the arm of her father, her shining eyes on her waiting groom.
Weddings make me teary eyed. Seeing two people publically express their love and devotion for each other undoes me. This evening, I should have brought the tissues. Megan and Nate wrote their own vows for each other and I was so touched, so moved by their expressions of love to each other. Listening to them recount their first meeting and first date, hearing their pledges to care for each other, listen to each other, be there for each other, reminded me of all that’s good and right in the world. My tall handsome son, who serves and protects as a police officer, spoke from his heart as he promised to protect his bride, foremost and forever. Megan, dabbing at her eyes with a tissue, told Nate he was her best friend, and promised to cherish him as well.
The evening continued with toasts and dancing, laughter and food, photos and hugs. Two families before the ceremony, blended into one, with Nate and Megan and their three children, and with the Nate’s extended family and Megan’s, one large, boisterous, happy clan, united by choice and destiny. I’ve gained a daughter and two amazing grandsons. I’ve also embraced a wonderful group of people, Megan’s family, to celebrate with in the future.
I danced a very special dance with my son, so proud of the man he has become, while Megan danced with her father. I looked into my son’s eyes and still I could see the boy there, smiling, trusting. The man is ready for this next great adventure, with his woman by his side. I know he and Megan will have a beautiful, wonderful life together. They are not unaware of the challenges life can bring. But they will not be defined by them. Hand in hand they will journey, onward and upward, throughout the rest of their lives. Congratulations to you both and God’s blessings be on you. I love you!