You’d think there would be more to write about when we’re on holidays, not less, but we’ve been having a thoroughly lovely week and thoroughly lovely weeks do not generally good blog fodder make. As I have now been missing in action for the last ten days due to a remarkable lack of internet access points in Barwon Heads and the entire state of Tasmania, however, I will soldier on in the face of the adversity of an over-abundance of happiness and good fortune to provide some sort of update.
So, the wedding last weekend. It was lovely, as weddings generally are, each in their own special way. Amber was stunningly beautiful. Tristan fought back tears as she walked down the aisle. Mike made a very handsome groomsmen and was in good international company – three of the four groomsmen had flown in from overseas. We came from Laos, Tristan’s brother, Ash, came from Yemen, and another friend, Aaron, flew in from Canada for the weekend. (Total insanity, that last one, the very thought of enduring that trip just for the weekend makes me shudder.)
I was asked to read a reading from the Velveteen Rabbit (by Margery Williams) that Mike and I chose for our wedding so that was a fun deja-vu. I’ve loved the idea of this reading at a wedding since I first heard it at a wedding I attended in Washington while I was still in high school, and it apparently struck a chord with Tristan and Amber when they were researching as well.
“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but Really loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get all loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
I like the idea that growing in love takes time, but that the end result of the process is an authentic sort of realness more valuable than unmarred physical beauty. On the other hand I don’t agree with Skin Horse that when you are Real you don’t mind being hurt. Perhaps you mind it less, or perhaps you can look past the immediate to see value in the hurt, but I think we generally still mind. On the whole, however, this reading captures some of what I hope for Mike and me in our marriage – that our love will transform us by rubbing off some of the sharp edges of our selfishness and teach us, bit by bit, to better see and value true beauty.
Oh, and I hope we laugh a lot along the way, and don’t leave each other lying neglected by the fender for too long. Talented photographer that he is, Tristan took these photos during our own wedding rehearsal, almost two years ago now. I can’t remember what we were laughing about, but by the looks at it I made fun of Mike for something and then fully expected to be rewarded with a kiss. Long may the laughter, the love, and the kisses continue for us and for the couple of the week, Tristan and Amber.
While we’re on the topic of weddings, what is something you’ve heard read or said at a wedding that’s stuck with you? Why did you like (or dislike) it?