Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Monday, March 17, 2014

10-26-13 RMB Wedding

10-26-13 RMB Wedding

Dear Rita Mae Brown,

It was a beautiful Saturday morning and today the moms of my nephew trio celebrated their eleventh anniversary by getting married. The church was full of well-wishers, friends and neighbors gathered. As the church started to fill, the first two pews were left open on both sides for family.

I asked Maria where her father would be sitting, as I wanted to sit with him. I have grown to respect and admire the man for many reasons, too lengthy to go into here. That is when she said he would not be coming and neither would any other blood relative.

For some, family from Indiana, distant supplied a plausible excuse. For others, prior obligation took precedence, even though this had been planned for months. For her father, health was an issue. He had accepted the invitation earlier, but declined the night before, sending condolences that he could not attend.

Although the family remained absent, this was an improvement above the reaction over a decade prior, when “right” and “wrongs” were the issues at hand and lines were drawn. The lines are more subtle now. There is support, verbally at least, if not in their physical presence, from some limbs of the family tree and far less animosity all around. Yet the complete absence spoke volumes of how far we have yet to go. Under different circumstances… well, I’ll leave it at that and not get on a soap box.

What I admire about these two women, is their ability to move forward with their lives. To take the best there is to offer and return the best of themselves. The universe has rewarded their efforts. Unlike eleven years prior, when gathering immediate family was a challenge, at this wedding ceremony, they are flanked by the family they have created. Three handsome young men, my trio of nephews, walk down the aisle behind them and stand alongside them as they renew their vows.

Proud and brave in their devotion, suits and ties, they are our knights in shining armor, as they protect and expand the spirit of this family. That spirit extends outwards to many that we are all blessed to be attached to, not by blood, but by choice, by the heart. Upon hearing the news about the family members, I went down the center of the church five minutes prior to the ceremony, pulling people I recognized forward and asking everyone else to move up as well.

It was a big shift and whenever anyone said “We’re leaving those pews open for their family”, I told them “You are their family.” It made everyone feel quite welcome and important, and they were. As everyone settled in their new places, I looked around, quite pleased at how the family had come together. Everyone sat closer, closer to the front of the church and closer to each other than they had been. These moms have a way of doing that, of bringing people together, and I was happy to be part of the process.

The family of the friend that would be doing signing for the hearing impaired, sat near her as she took her place at the front of the church. Her sons, who have attended all the boy’s birthday parties, sat in the front row with her partner. On the other side I sat with another best friend that once held the newly born youngest and has watched the boys grow over the years. Her husband and mother, more members of our “family”, joined us. Next was the neighbor and closest male “family member” to the boys, and his wife. He mows their lawn with his own, has taught the boys to mow and offered a fine example of the kind of man and father we all hope the boys might grow into someday. There were too many to mention them all, but you get the gist. And ALL in attendance were family.

Their honorary and honored, adopted “Auntie Lisa”,


PS. For an even more personal perspective of Maria’s day:

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