Friday, April 27, 2012

A trip to family -- part 1

My mind is still all ajumble from spending a week in SoCal attending the wedding of  Tony's second cousin Ben, and all the emotions it stirred up.

Part of it was just getting away on our first post-retirement trip, part of it was the fun of the wedding and watching so many family interactions from so many sources. Part of it was being in the LA area -- so big and with so much traffic and houses built practically atop each other, and the myriad of shopping and food choices, and all the amazing eye candy that is the coastline. And then we drove home via Highway 1, up the luscious coast through Big Sur, where there are such amazing views that go on for miles and miles that you almost ache with the beauty.

Reentry has been slow here: I'm still finishing laundry although the suitcases are unpacked. I'm grateful to be back in my own bed and with our kittyboys, who we missed very much but who were well taken care of by the Anderson Veterinary Clinic where they stayed -- we finally figured out that they do not do well when we gone,despite twice-a-day visits from our friends who care for them. They need more attention, more cuddling, more socialization than that, and they act out when they don't get it.

I think there are several posts in the works about family: those of blood and those of bond, and I'm trying to sort through it all.

The wedding and rehearsal dinner were just exquisite in every respect. Elegant, delicious food and presentation in settings that showcased the magnificent coastline: the rehearsal dinner was at the home of the groom's parents, overlooking Long Beach harbor, which allowed us to see the twinkling lights of greater LA come on as the sun set. The wedding itself was on a sunny hilltop on the Palos Verdes peninsula, with ocean breezes accompanied by a string quartet, and rain chains cleverly filled with tiny bouquets dangling from the tree under whose limbs the ceremony was held. The subsequent dinner, also outdoors on a lovely patio, was a bit chilly despite the outdoor heaters, and the groom's father likened it to the north coast of Scotland -- LA weather can be mercurial in the springtime, and fog was in and out most of the day in  the various microclimates found there. We were glad it held off until dinner! A warmer tent filled with inviting couches and chairs and ottomans, and featuring a big dance floor was the focal point for the remainder of the evening. Guests were all dressed up and the mood was joyous -- so wonderful to have family gathered for a happy occasion instead of a funeral, as the groom's mother remarked.

We visited at length with our little clan of Maxeys and watched the interactions of the groom's father's much larger family - some 40 cousins and their families were there to celebrate. The bride's family and friends also were fewer, but they had also come some distance -- the couple had decided to marry in California rather than in the bride's home state. One very touching, somewhat sad note was a sweet slide show about the bride's deceased father, played while her mother and she danced to "I Hope You Dance."

The couple was clearly held closely in the collective hearts of all present, and you could feel the energy and love surround them, and all of us present. They've started their married life together in a magical way, one that I hope they can carry with them for years as they remember the vows they took, the good wishes that accompanied the ceremony, and the love they clearly share.

It made me happy to be a part of this family I've married into. We were so glad we were there, and we will make staying in better touch a priority.

More reflections to come....

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