We woke up early that morning because we had to get the fruit and berries ready for the sangria. It was going to be a fine day and a wonderful party!
At noon, with all the preparations behind us, and dressed to the nines, Chris and Sarah, Dave and I walked out the side door into my folks’ garden, to get married. Because I never knew the lyrics to anything, the “processional” music was Cat Stevens’ Morning Has Broken, and justified or not, I’m blaming that music for the fact that I cried from the minute we opened the door and I realized this was not just a party until well after we’d signed the register.
Most of our immediate and extended family and many of our friends were there, which was wonderful and heartwarming, and I love that in that flowery and verdant garden, which was my mother’s joy, we were all various versions of young, strong and beautiful. There was a beribbonned swing way in the back of the yard, we had croquet and horseshoes and stilts, music and food, a beautiful homemade cake covered in fresh flowers and we had successfully concocted a very potent version of sangria that we still make for special occasions; we had given the kids ID bracelets with their new initials, my brother Pat took lots of pictures, which I can still see in my head, but which, except for a few, are lost now—still in the beigey-rose album we used to look at in the dead of winter, but which disappeared when we made the move from our big house.
I can remember being humbled by the strength of my emotions, delighted at the solemn way the kids were involved and dizzy, dizzy with love.
Outwardly, we’ve seldom made a big deal of our wedding anniversary. In fact, we joke about how many of them were spent apart, but every year, in my heart and in my increasingly doddering mind, I celebrate it again and congratulate us on the brilliant decision we made that year to have a party at which we’d get married.