Who doesn’t love a good wedding? They involve family, laughter, tears, pretty dresses, flowers, and most importantly… cake! But now that my heels are back in my closet (much to the delight of my toes), my hair is straight again (even though that happened five minutes after it was curled), and I have traded a tight dress for sweat pants and hoodie; I can sit in silence and reflect on the amazing events have taken place in the last few hours…

Much like any other young girl, I love weddings. But I don’t love them for the reason most people assume. I don’t usually sit in the audience and think about what my wedding day will be like, I don’t look at the bride and wish that it was me walking down the aisle, and I don’t get teary eyed when the bride and groom put another set of rings on each others fingers. Honestly, I barely pay attention to the bride and groom at all. I look at everybody else.

As I sat with one of my sisters and my parents today while we were waiting for the ceremony to begin, I looked around and hit me exactly what makes a wedding so special: the people! I watched bridesmaids and groomsmen walk in two by two, parents and grandparents be escorted in by those they love, and everyone in attendance sitting in their finery and anxiously awaiting the wedding march. In that moment, no matter what differences or past grievances may be present, we all shared a mutual love and affection for the bride and groom. I think that’s pretty amazing. Weddings bring people together and remind us what is truly important in life. I wish we could be in the wedding mentality more often, where we forget all the drama that has happened in the past, where we stop worrying about who sits where, and where we simply come together over a shared love and joy. At the gathering today there were a vast myriad of beliefs, religions, and opinions represented. A lot of times people let those things divide them. But today, we came together as one representative of love for the couple being celebrated. How amazing would it be if we were able to return to this wedding mentality more often?

As vows were exchanged, my mind drifted to thoughts of my late uncle (the bride’s father) and my late grandmother (the brides grandmother as well) and I realized how much they would love to have seen their little girl on her special day. Then I glanced around me and saw my uncles, aunts, and cousins and it made me think about how precious family truly is.

Sure, we all come together in the big moments. We categorize our life by the big moments, it’s what families do. We come together on holidays, birthdays, weddings, funerals, etc., but do we realize that none of these big moments would be possible without the thousands of little moments that happen in between? Little moments such as when your cousin sends you a text that just says she’s proud of you, or when your aunt sends you a post on Pinterest that reminded her of you, or when a cousin that lives thousands of miles away sends you gift in the mail; these are the moments that tie people together. The little moments are how we form bonds, and the big moments are how we celebrate those bonds.  As I looked around at my family today, I was reminded to be thankful for the little moments. I’m not saying our family likes each other 100% of the time. Honestly, we don’t even like each other 75% of the time. But we always love each other. No matter what is going on between us, we always find our way back to each other. And I think that’s what being a family is all about. I am very proud to be a part of one of the most complicated, dysfunctional, and insane families out there.

What am I trying to say? Don’t take the little moments for granted. This goes for friends as well as family, never waste an opportunity to tell somebody what they mean to you. Life is short and tomorrow is never promised; don’t waste the time that you’re given with people. Don’t assume that people know what they mean to you… tell them. Make the most of the little moments, then the big moments will be that much sweeter. And when fights happen and hard times come, go back to the wedding mentality: there will always be something or someone to come together over.

In truth, a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring, and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit.
~Marge Kennedy
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