Thursday, April 17, 2014

on my weekend in pictures.

finally! this weekend, this weekend. it was a true weekend filled with love and lots of family - my cousin got married out on long island so my parents and sister came up and we just partied all weekend long. it was a true long island wedding - ice sculptures, food as far as the eye could see, a million dessert tables, strobe lights, fog machines, an emcee - the works. i love going to weddings in different parts of this great country and seeing new traditions, styles, and culture. long island, while i've gotten to know you super well from the one million visits i have bestowed upon you, this was a side i had not seen yet. thank you for not disappointing me. sidenote: the weather this weekend? pure gold. even snuck in a walk across the brooklyn bridge, which felt and looked like heaven.
***
while i'm not here to tell the story of my cousin and his bride, i will tell you a little. my cousin's youngest sister (also my cousin, naturally) has down syndrome. she was born long before doctors tested for it, and the day she was born was a big one for my family. it changed all of us, particularly her family, forever. family stories about who said what and how everyone reacted are ones we hold close and that are very special to us, particularly the actions of my grandpa the day she was born. big changes and little changes have persisted throughout the years, and overall she has changed all of us for the better, given all of us a much healthier, compassionate, joyful look on life, and for a few she has altered their paths very deeply. my cousin's bride is a triplet - she was born the only girl of the three, with two brothers who would later be diagnosed as severely autistic, while she was the picture of health. her brothers' lives and diagnoses went on to change and alter her life in similar ways, and it was one summer, working as counselors at a camp for children with mental disabilities, that my cousin and his now-wife met. which is to say: there are some challenges life gives us that are not easily overcome. challenges that we will face every single day of our life. and sometimes it will be very, very hard to find the silver lining, or the joy, or the meaning in them. sometimes, it can take years to put it all together and make sense of it. but know that hardships can sometimes lead to our greatest joys, can sometimes help shape us into the people we were meant to become, and can sometimes even lead us to the love of our life.
***
during the wedding a slow song came on and my grandma's niece got up to dance with her husband. i believe they are both in their 70's, and the dance floor stayed relatively deserted as they danced along, the whole time her softly singing the lyrics to him. i turned to brian and i noticed her eyes were just as damp as mine. when they came off the dance floor i told her how sweet they were, how encouraging it is to see that as young couple, and she said to me:
"we've been married for 45 years. every time i see him come through the front door my heart leaps, the same way it did 45 years ago. i don't know why, i don't know how it still does, but it does. every day is precious. i know we are lucky, but every day is precious. we don't take this for granted, we appreciate every day."
and he said,
"i come in the back door now."
love is a many splendored thing, no?

6 comments:

  1. I love the story you shared of your cousin with down syndrome. I have often wondered how that would change my family, to have someone with a mental disability in the family. I'm sure it would change us in ways that I don't even know. What a sweet story of the way that your cousin met his bride! Life surely is beautiful.

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    1. thank you! it truly is something that changes your life - and i don't mean to sugarcoat it, taking care of someone with a mental disability, particularly as they get older, can be hard and painful (particularly protecting them from the world). but in general it's eye opening into how...wonderful it is, too? and after being in her life for so long it makes you a little more prepared for how things can go, not wrong, but not the way you imagined, and it can still be a wonderful life. lastly, as an addendum, some children are born with mental disabilities where they can't develop, can't speak, can't communicate, etc. that, is a true, heavy loss. knowing claire and seeing her develop has been like any other child, just different. and getting to know your child and have a relationship with them is really the most important and greatest gift, i think.

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  2. Oh! These stories are bringing tears to my eyes. We are all so lucky, and they are so lucky to have found such strong loves.

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    1. yes - very lucky. one of my favorite couples :)

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  3. Your cousin and his wife have such a sweet story! I'm glad you enjoyed the wedding! I'm crossing my fingers I get an invitation to an LI wedding one of these days. They sound incredible :)

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    1. thank you! i hope you do, too - it was beyond and just the best.

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