About a decade ago, my daughter, Sara, and a man named Tim met at the daycare both of their sons attended. They started taking their children on outings together and after many years of laughter, and shared experiences, realized that they were more than good friends. Their relationship had evolved into love.
Every once in awhile you meet people who truly complete each other—individuals who are strong and devoted, outgoing and fun, kind and thoughtful on their own, but together push those traits even further. Sara and Tim are one of those couples.
When they decided that what they really wanted was to get married on the beach where they once vacationed, they knew that there would be a lot of “moving parts”—things that had to be taken into consideration as their desire was being birthed into reality. Among the most important concerns were: how all of this would work with their four children, and whether any of their friends would be able to make the trip.
Late last night, Larry and I and our, now, four grandchildren—ages 10, 11, 12 and 18, arrived back in Pennsylvania from our trip to Mexico. Sara and Tim left days ahead of us and won’t get back until the end of the week.
Their four-day event was sophisticated and beautiful. It was poignant and thoughtful. It was crazy and fun. It was a true reflection of the many facets of Sara & Tim.
They fully understood the gift of love that was involved as family and friends not only celebrated their special day but, also, made the commitment to travel to be there. The bride and groom included so many different touches that said, “thank you for honoring us with your presence”. Larry and I were fortunate, too, that some of our closest friends—people who are our “family”—were with us as well.
The maid of honor (my daughter and Sara’s sister, Erin) and best man (Tim’s closest friend for 37 years, Eric) shared beautiful toasts at the reception, and walked alongside them as they moved through some of the most important days of their lives. Erin spent the wedding day helping Sara get ready, and her partner, Dave, helped with the kids, and ran from one building in the resort to the next retrieving anything all the women “forgot” to bring to the “Bride’s Dressing Room”. (It was really pretty comical at some points.)
Sara’s dear friend, Anita, was integral in the event from the very beginning. She and I are both somewhat “detail control freaks” and chose to take on the responsibility of stressing over every little element. (I needed to insert some levity here because I’m weeping again.) Anita and I have known each other for a few years, and she and her beautiful family have been at gatherings at our home often, but this event has created a bond that pulls her into my circle of “family”; I now consider her one of my daughters. This is just one of the many blessings of this union.
The wedding ceremony was meaningful—not only because Sara and Tim were making a commitment to “love, honor and cherish for all the days of their lives” but, also, because their loved ones were such an intrinsic part of it. As Larry ushered Sara to the ceremony site to the music, “Alleluia”, he had a difficult time holding it together. The momentousness of that walk—where choice, not biology, makes you family, where one decision has the power to transform so many lives and where the energy of love transforms hearts—touched everyone’s spirit.
There was a “sand ceremony” where the children and their parents filled a vessel with different colors of sand, symbolizing the joining of their families. I was honored to speak as that celebration took place. Tim’s nephew, Ben, recited a piece of poetry, and dear friends, Nancy and Linda, read during the ceremony, and offered a blessing before the meal.
As the music—all carefully chosen—played in the background, the realization of how intricate each moment, each day, and each experience in our interwoven lives is became realized.
Notwithstanding the deaths of people I’ve loved, I do not remember a time when more tears were shed. Uncountable tears—tears of abundance, tears of challenges overcome, tears of love and hope and belief, tears of previously unimagined joy, tears of what is possible if we only believe—were shed on the sand over our days together. We grew even closer as we gathered around this new family. We danced with exuberance, we hugged prolifically, we spoke with passion and we loved without boundaries.
There are times when life forces you to address what’s truly important; times that call you to be fully in those moments, to be open to what lies ahead, to bask in the warmth of joy.
In those moments where it feels as if all is possible, where heaven and earth meet, and where people you may have never known become family; there is respect and hope and grace and joy and peace.
Congratulations Sara and Tim. Thank you for bringing together a group of amazing people. Thank you for being flag-wavers for believing the best is possible.
I love you both,