My very beautiful niece, Meighan, got married on Saturday in Rye, NY. She and her new husband, Ralph, planned a late fall wedding with an autumnal menu, leaves and sunflowers in the decor, and the venue, an elegant old mansion attached to a Greek Orthodox Church, offered a picture-perfect stone patio where the vows would be pronounced at dusk.
What they got was 8-10 inches of slushy, heavy snow, downed trees everywhere, a few empty tables because relatives and friends had tree branches fallen on their cars, power outages or impassable roads, a leaky tent on slippery wet stone for their vows, accompanied by the sound of cracking branches and cascades of rain into the tent during cocktails, and a temperature that put the kibosh on any outdoor strolls or photos.
I think it was great. Welcome to marriage, you two. This is kind of what it will be like.
Plans will go astray, and once you have children, in particular, most planning is futile. Your control over your lives is limited. The sooner you accept that, the better married life will be. Things will be crazy. A sense of humor is vital.
John Lennon noted that “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” After 23 years of marriage, some of it tough, most of it amazing, I can tell you that’s very true. So go with the flow. Accept the things you cannot change. Laugh about it all — even when it’s gallows humor. (Because sometimes it will be.)
My gift to you is that advice, and also, as you may have discovered if you opened your gifts, another reminder of the day: a watercolor painting of some of Meggie’s favorite flowers atop your wedding invitation. My own mother-in-law gave me a similar gift when your Uncle Gary and I got married, and it was undoubtedly my favorite gift. It was one of the few that stood out from the china and stemware and towels.
And every time I look at the rose-covered cottage painted on the yellowing invitation vellum, I remember exactly how I felt going down that aisle, smelling the scent of lily of the valley, hearing Grandpa chuckle as we saw Uncle Gary’s nervous face and looking at the smiles of all those people filling the church. People who loved us. A lot of them are no longer with us, at least not physically. But somehow, I know they’re watching out for us even today.
Remember that we’ll all be here for you in the years to come. Call us if you need us. And enjoy the crazy ride that is marriage. You never know what’s coming around the bend. The weather may be sunny, it may be unexpectedly snowy. You just have to learn to build snowmen and make hot chocolate when it is . . .