May and June are traditionally the months when families gather for graduations and weddings, and never has this been truer for our family than this year! We have four graduations and a wedding within just a few weeks. As the plans begin to come together I’m reminded once again of the similarities between these two celebrations.
When a large family is involved, both graduations and weddings can be a logistical challenge. Who can come and who can’t? Where will everyone stay? What transportation is needed and who can provide it? And then the always unanswerable, but ever-present question: will the weather cooperate? What’s the backup plan for outdoor ceremonies or celebrations?
There are 21 people in our immediate blended family. Three granddaughters are graduating from high school this year—and one granddaughter is graduating from college and getting married! As all the flight and hotel reservations are being made, the gifts selected, and the parties planned, I keep seeing the faces of these four dear honorees—not as they are now, as proud graduate or beaming bride—but as they were as toddlers and little girls.
I was privileged to go with my granddaughter Amanda to try on her wedding dress for the first time. Seated in the “salon” area of the bridal shop while the assistant helped her into her dress in the fitting room, I wondered if I would cry when I first saw her. I knew I was supposed to cry. I’d seen that in the movies and commercials again and again. But what if I didn’t? She’d be disappointed, wouldn’t she?
Then she stepped into the room looking absolutely radiant–with the same excited smile on her face that I remembered from when she was four and twirling around in her latest “play dress up” outfit in our living room. The tears naturally flowed.
So what do all these honorees have in common? A sense of accomplishment. A bit of apprehension as they move into an unknown future. And hopefully parents and grandparents searching for a tissue during “Pomp & Circumstance” or “Here Comes the Bride”–and trying to remember how to switch their smart phones from still photos to video.
If we can give our graduates, brides, and grooms anything this season, may it be the reassurance that plans may change, dreams may take a different shape, blessings may come in disguise, but love is forever. The love of parents, grandparents, siblings and starry-eyed new spouses. It’s the love that makes the celebrations worth having. It’s the love that makes the memories.