Goin' to the chapel and...
I was really pleased and touched last month to receive an invitation to a wedding.
The bride is the daughter of a former co-worker of mine, but she is really much more than that. I first met her as an adolescent who had accompanied her family here as refugees. Later on, I interviewed and hired her for her first summer jobs as a counselor in our summer camp. (It wasn't nepotism - in a town this size we can't afford it. She is a remarkably warm, smart, and conscientious young woman with an incredible work ethic, traits learned from and shared by her entire family.) Husband got to know, a little - and, I think, very much like - her and her family too.
Later on, I got to write her letters of reference for other jobs, and for her application to her university program. (She is, unsurprisingly, in one of the caring professions.) I was unbelievably proud two years ago when she invited me as one of her guests to her graduation ceremony, as I know she had only a few invitations to hand out to guests.
She worked her way through University with part-time jobs, selling samosas and babysitting and working fast-food counters and working all the hours God sends when she wasn't in class. And taking care of her family chores, in the fashion of her traditional South American family. And somehow, in between all this, she found time to fall in love with a sweet, good-natured local boy who has been warmly embraced by her family and she his. I know him less than her, know him best for accompanying her to all the festivals and events the multicultural association organized and which they volunteered at. He, meanwhile, worked his way to an engineering degree. And now, degrees in pocket, permanent jobs secured, career paths established, they're getting married.
Tonight I went online to their wedding registry to get them a wedding gift. Their registry was so charmingly modest and practical - this couple has not set up housekeeping prior to "making it legal". (Knowing her mother and father I am not surprised :) ) A shower curtain. Placemats. Sheets and pillowcases and towels and water glasses. It was such a pleasure to choose and buy our own contribution to their brand-new household.
I am a sucker for weddings, but it is rare to attend one which gives you such overwhelming optimism and hope for the generations coming behind us.