Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Love was in the air!

The reason that Kristiana and I made the two-week trek up north was to attend the wedding of my dear niece, Raquel. Sure, we wrapped June 20th with a week of visits before and another week after, but we wouldn't have made the trip at all if she weren't being joined in holy matrimony to her best friend and the love of her life. 

I've known her since before she was born. Unfortunately, on the day she was born, I was in England. But as soon as my feet hit American soil again, I rushed over to my brother and sister-in-law's house to meet her, to see her sweet little face, and to hold her in my auntie arms. She has been a beauty and a bundle of energy and a perveyor of sweet smiles since the earliest days. Thanks, Otis and Joy, for giving me such a fantastic niece (and two awesome nephews as well).

My daughter and I arrived at her house an hour earlier than I told her to expect us. I felt a little guilty about getting there so early, but I wanted to see some of the bridal preparations. Look at that happy and beautiful face. 

Her mother, Joy, is on the left, and her sister-in-law, Monisha, is on the right. 
Looking gorgeous in their purple dresses. 

I think she was happy. What do you think?
Some people have said we look alike.
I wish I were as beautiful and happy and joyfull as Raquel is.

She and her beloved, Jay, were married at Studio Square in Queens, New York.
While we partied upstairs, there were hundreds of people downstairs
watching World Cup Soccer on a huge screen.
 Apparently, just as Raquel and Jay finished saying their vows,
a goal was scored and a great cheer rose up.
I didn't hear it, but someone else on my row did.
Perfect timing.
There was a lot to celebrate.
Big goals scored, big dreams come to life, big promises made.

Jay is a first generation immigrant from Poland. He is, in fact, the only member of his birth family who lives here in the States. Some members of his family watched the ceremony via Skype and as soon as the ceremony ended, Raquel and Jay greeted them via computer. Ain't technology grand sometimes?

The proud auntie and cousin got our turn in front of the camera. 

Love was in the air - and the wine and the food and out on the dance floor as well. Early in the reception, the emcee asked all the couples to join Raquel and Jay in a dance to celebrate not only the newlyweds, but also their own love. Gay and straight. Young and Old. Male and Female. Black and White. Asian and Latino. They were out there, dancing, smiling, hugging, kissing, whispering in each other's ears, and basking in the joy of that beautiful evening.

Just before cutting the cake - or was it after? -
the two lovebirds were asked to stand back to back.
(Isn't it cute how she's holding his jacket?
That girl is IN LOVE!)
The emcee said, "I hope this is the first and last time that you two 
turn your backs on each other."
Well said.

Then he went on to say something dumb about how the size of the piece of cake Jay cut
would reflect on the amount of authority he would have in his house.

There was a table at the reception with photos and mementos of family and friends who have passed away. There was my daddy's handsome, sweet, much missed face. I'm sure that if he was looking down from heaven, he was smiling, right alongside Raquel's maternal grandmother, Ida.

Thanks, Raquel and Jay, for a great party.
Thanks for your joy and laughter and hope and obvious lust for each other.
Thanks for reminding us that love and marriage, commitment and romance still matter.
Thank you for inviting so many people with so many stories and so many connections to you and so much excitement to celebrate your nuptials.
There was indeed love in the air.

We wish you both nothing but the best.
When the tough times come, and surely they will come, trust each other and rely on each other.
Trust in your family and friends, and rely on us too.
Most important of all, trust in God and rely on God.
None of those things, none of those choices, none of those people will take away the challenges.
But all of those things, all of those choices, all of those people, and all your faith will give you the support and strength and hope and the companionship you will need in order to endure the difficult days ahead.
May your love grow and your lives be full of everything you've ever dreamed.

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