Saturday, August 09, 2008

Hawaiian Love Song

...for whither thou goest, I will go;
and where thou lodgest, I will lodge;
thy people shall be my people,
and thy God my God.

My son is getting married next Saturday, August 16. Because his bride was born and raised there, the festivities will take place in a magical beachside garden in beautiful Hawaii.

Much of Nicole's family, including her parents, still reside in Hawaii. Except for me, aka Mom, all of my son's family--including my now Bostonian daughter--live in the northeastern states, primarily New York. Most of my relatives have never been to Hawaii. But all of Matt's aunts and uncles, and many of his cousins, are making the substantial journey to the 50th state to celebrate this momentous occasion with us.

I see it kind of like Shangri-La meets Times Square. There could hardly be a starker contrast of cultures than our party mix of laid-back Hawaiian islanders and wound-up New Yorkers. Yet I have a feeling both families will have a similar approach to celebrating a wedding. Eat, drink, laugh, dance, have fun--what needs translating?

This is a huge milestone in our moving forward after Pete. So much has happened in our little San Diego family since Pete died. Kristine moved to the East coast last year for her job, Matt and I are both in the midst of career transitions, and now Matt is marrying his Nicole. Sometimes I feel as though I'm speeding away from Pete, watching him grow smaller in life's rear view mirror. The feeling is not as painful as it once was. I have learned that each of us needs to keep looking ahead if we are to be successful in traveling our own road.

People say, "Oh, he'll be there...he knows...he's watching" and similar remarks intended to comfort. I happen to believe they are right--he will be there. That doesn't change the fact that we will not be able to share a glance of pride or squeeze each other's hands as our son marries his island girl.

It's all right. I have learned how to do this. Pete's physical absence has woven itself into the new reality of myself and my children. He is our guardian spirit now, never forgotten, always present in our hearts, and we all take comfort in this new form our family relationship has taken.

As for eating, drinking, laughing, dancing, and having fun at Matt's wedding--well, let's look on the bright side. I'll just have to party for two.