Tuesday, May 01, 2018

love is stronger than your conflicts

When Kimmy told me she and Matthew were getting married in Disneyland, I had an immediate reaction.

There are really only two choices. A saccharinish squealy "Oh, how exciting! Life's happiest event in the world's happiest place!" Or a flagrant roll of the eyes into Little Orphan Annie territory. You will not be surprised that I was looking for my dog Sandy.

I am not certain why Disneyland evokes Manichean reactions. It predates our current social snarkiness. Some of the writers for The Simpsons are former Disney employees and wrote several running gags about the evils of the Disney empire back in the Nineties.

If I had simply waited for the full story, my reaction may have been a little less jaded.

When I hear "wedding in Disneyland," I think of brides dressed as Snow White, the groom dressed as the beast, with the seven dwarfs acting as groomsmen and bride's maids, all standing in front of Cinderella's castle being married by an animatronic Abe Lincoln.

And I guess such affairs can happen. Disney can be very accommodating. For the right amount of cash.

But that was not Kimmy's wedding. Hers was scheduled at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel.

I have stayed there. It is quite a nice venue. And, if you take out the Disney part, it was going to be a wedding in one of America's grand hotels.

That is exactly what it was. A very intimate ceremony held on the terrace of the hotel with a handful of family and friends as guests, and an ebullient wedding party. The vows were conducted by Reverend Bob (a nod to southern California culture), who made a memorized spiel sound as if his advice had been hand-crafted for these two young people who are totally devoted to each other.

For those of you who do not immediately recognize Kimmy's name, she is the daughter of my friends from law school, Ken and Patti Latsch. Patti is my friend who died of cancer almost three years ago (the circle tightens). I always felt a bit like Patti's brother -- making me Kimmy's uncle by default. (Patti's presence was symbolized by a lantern candle that was present throughout the festivities.)

Because I have known Kimmy for so long, there was no possibility that I was going to miss one of the most important days of her life. And it was the correct choice.

At most weddings, it seems that only one party is truly getting married. Not so, at this ceremony. Both Kimmy and Matthew avoided the mistake of reciting vows. They stated vows, but they made the words their own. It was a sincere commitment of love.

Reverend Bob's homily contained a line that struck me. "Love is stronger than your conflicts." That sentiment is not original. But, it was appropriate for these two kids. They will have conflicts. But their love is going to help them get through everything -- if they let it.

Just a moment ago, I wrote: "If you take out the Disney part, it was going to be a wedding in one of America's grand hotels." That shows my own bias. It turns out that "taking out the Disney" part would have made the day a lot less special.

After photographs, we retired to a large courtyard for lunch. I have learned not to expect too much from wedding food. The bride's family often pays a fortune for their guests to dine on banquet fare.

Not Disney. We had a lunch that could have come out of one of the best restaurant kitchens in America. All served by a staff who provided for any of our whims.

What Disney could not provide is the magic that Kimmy and Matthew have brought to our lives. Their friends beamed throughout the whole day -- sharing their joy with one another.

For me, one of the best moments was seeing Ken dance with his daughter at the lunch. Moments before he had given her away in marriage, but their father-daughter connection remained -- symbolized by that special dance.

So, Kimmy. Matthew. And Ken and Patti. Let me thank you for letting me part of your lives. I have truly enjoyed the ride.

And, the next time I roll my eyes, just smack me. 

No comments: