By Rion Kweller
Our son is getting married. His fiancée’s parents are spending a bundle on the wedding. We are spending a smaller but still substantial sum on the rehearsal dinner and brunch the morning following the wedding.
One would think as father of the groom that I would simply attend the function and pay my share, but this wedding means much more to me than just a check sent for payment due. I really enjoy being included in all that is happening leading up to the big day.
They tell me that plans are busily being made for the wedding location, music, flowers, photography, dress, bridesmaids and groomsmen. Not one detail seems to have been omitted.
Last I heard, my son was still staying involved, alert and calmly in the moment. He has offered input at times and remained on the sidelines for a number of other decisions. Good for him. As the groom’s dad, I hear about the decisions and smile. Easy job. No drama.
I stopped being as involved in my own wedding plans after my fiancée and her mother brought me to a meeting with the wedding cake baker. As they seriously discussed and debated the pattern of the icing on the second tier of the cake, my eyes glazed over. If they had only given me a taste of wedding cake, I am sure I could have hung on a bit longer.
With all the wedding discussion, one does start to reflect about the bigger picture. I am so very pleased with my son’s good fortune to have found someone whom he loves and wants to marry. They are happy, healthy, educated and employed.
The money at this point is (almost) inconsequential. Through my financial and emotional contribution, I am also buying into this couple’s hope and optimism.
They believe the future is bright for them. They believe they can be stronger and better together than apart. They believe that they can support each other even if life becomes unpredictable and difficult.
When my son’s mother and I were newlyweds, we felt the same way. Times were different, but the dreams were the same. We, like they, were also focused on the moment – the rush of anticipation, nervousness and excitement. If we did think about the future, it was only in the abstract. It all seems a bit hazy now.
Fast forward to the present. My wife and I are still together and have been more on track than off for 32 years. Having accrued some maturity and maybe even some wisdom, we remain strongly committed and family focused.
Despite the challenges and adversity that occur in all relationships, we have dealt with life’s twists and turns and continue to move forward, together, as a couple.
With a tear in my eye and MasterCard in my pocket, I eagerly anticipate the wedding day. I think about all those other young people also about to embark on their marital journey, their moms and dads and especially about my own kids. I wish them all good luck and fine, joy-filled lives.
And as my son’s wedding day finally approaches, will I think much about spending dollars on this wedding – on this down payment for my son and new daughter-in-law’s future? No.
I believe in the worth and importance of the institution. Even after many years, I still share their belief in the many possibilities of tomorrows to come.
I hope they will look back someday and say the same thing to their children.