The ceremony took place on June 21 in Trinity Chapel, Dublin. In the morning I woke to the sound of cars sloshing through the rain. As we waited to leave the hotel I overheard a man in the foyer telling his friend that if someone gets splashed with rain on the longest day of the year, their life will be long and their beauty preserved. My man incorporated this gem of wisdom into his Father of the Bride’s speech.
During the service a friend read from the lovely Song of Songs: ‘the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come’. As we emerged from the chapel the rain stopped and the gorgeous bride and groom were able to step over the puddles to have photographs taken at the bell tower in College Square.
They left in their much-loved red Micra and as we drove towards Carton House the skies cleared and the afternoon was dry and bright. The photographer took the newlyweds off into the woodland in a golf buggy. It broke down and they were stranded until the hotel staff were alerted and came to rescue them. The rest of us were happily imbibing pink champagne, unaware that the bride and groom had gone AWOL.
The meal was delicious, the lamb ‘better than we have in the Karoo’ and the speeches were replete with climbing puns. The wonderful Brian Houston sang Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ as Maria and Willem led the dancing. A magic moment and I would quite happily have died and gone to heaven it was so beautiful. More dancing and cake and then it was nearly over. The South Africans regaled us with their country’s anthem with tears in eyes and hands on hearts and then the bouquet was thrown and caught by my son’s girlfriend! Not another wedding just yet, please!
The honeymooners have had a week on a Greek island and are now en route to Spain where they will be joined by the best man, bridesmaids and little nephew for climbing and fun and all without us. What to do now with my empty nest, empty heart and empty soul? An elderly neighbour told the man and me that we’d have to learn to talk to each other again. Can we find a new place to live – on the edge of our children’s lives, rather than in the middle? Who am I now, if not the mother of the bride?
I realised this week that as I lay down one title there are others: mother-in-law and grandmother. Parenting and grandparenting will never stop but for now I need to find a space where I can rediscover me and grow into my new season. Perhaps the words of Solomon apply:
‘Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.’