Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Toast to the Bride ... Day 3

Wedding cake, created
by Nadia's sister
There was a minute window of opportunity to speak at the wedding reception I attended this summer. 

I stayed in my seat.

This is what I wish I had said:

The first time I heard about her was through my friend George. He had telephoned to make a dinner reservation for some of the family; but then, a couple of hours before their appointed arrival, he stopped by the TH unexpectedly for a word with me.

"Is this the table for us? Good. I was hoping for one a little bit out of the way. My son Robert is bringing a friend out ..."

I was, of course, intrigued. I figured that this development warranted cloth napkins and so I set the table in advance.

Some weeks later, George appeared; this was not one of his frequent popping-by-for-an-iced-latte-and-chat visits, I could tell.

"Karyn? Robert is bringing his friend out again. You remember Nadia? I think she's someone special ..."

And soon enough I found out for myself that she is indeed special. Robert and Nadia stopped by for a quiet visit and I felt myself drawn to this lovely girl as George and Diane seemed to be.

As Robert clearly was.

Then there were times Robert would come out by himself to visit his parents. Often he would just pop in to the TH for a couple of minutes simply to say hi and give me one of his amazingly reassuring bear hugs; but a couple of times he ended up in a purple chair on a day when the TH was closed, exclaiming over a left-over dessert and offhandedly commenting on something Nadia had said, something they had done together.

In the sad days around George's passing from this life into the next one, Nadia became an invaluable source of comfort and assistance to Diane as well as to Robert and the whole family. 

Nadia is the kind of person who is completely present to you when she's with you. She has the eyes of a poet, observing everything, drawing into her being that which is beautiful and nurturing and wholesome; and the grace and creativity of a dancer, which is what in fact she is and which allows her to reflect that beauty back with kindness and compassion. She genuinely cares about people and looks for ways she can ease their burdens. She is patient and funny. Time spent with her never seems like enough.

"When?" I had asked Robert at dinner the night of the funeral.

"Soon, I think. I'm sure."

And soon came this March in Maui, with their mothers as witnesses.

This evening, at your reception, you are radiant. Robert is bewitched. Diane is happy.

George was right: You are someone special.

So here's a toast to the bride in the words of someone we both admire, Mary Oliver:

“When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. 

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument. 

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.” 

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