Sitting at the long, empty table, our sleepy eyes scanned the endless menu for something to fill our eager, noisy stomachs. We sip repeatedly at our coffee, hoping it will work its magic sooner than later. The day is just beginning for us.
Last night was a dream — a picturesque wedding of two people we love dearly, set in a wooded sanctuary of towering trees and glistening lights. Our laughs and chuckles bubble up as we recount how he danced like a maniac, how she said those heartfelt words, how the father laughed and cried as he held his daughter, dressed in white, and they danced with so much love, meaning, and honor. So many came to celebrate, our endless sea of precious people. So many laughed and smiled, bellies and hearts full of contentment that only drinks, donuts, and delightful times can bring. These are the days we will miss someday. This is the magic of our family, beloved more than we know.
Today, we ventured up to Novato for some comfort breakfast recovery. I dig into my delicious Rib Eye Dip, paired wonderfully with parmesan truffle fries. We are repeatedly visited by a friendly waitress, who fills all orders perfectly and with a smile. Today, as we recover our strength, this food tastes like heaven. We thankfully inhale each bite, ever thankful for the chance to regather our thoughts, our energy, and our excitement for tonight — another wedding awaits us.
The space between two weddings is a strange one. We first tried the exercise last year over Memorial Day Weekend, when more loved ones tied the knot. My wife and I are blessed with many friends from many different walks of life: a rich life experience, but one that will make you playfully role your eyes as you iron two dress shirts instead of one.
Wrinkles aside, the space is certainly more precious than burdensome. When others come down from the high of the night before, we smile, expectant for another party, another chance to dress up, be together, and celebrate those we love. On our way to Tomales, CA, my wife and I count all the weddings we have attended together since we have been a couple (16, not including our own of course). Without cell reception, we sing along to one of the same four songs she always has saved on her phone. Nothing can replace these moments together, the memories shaped by a perfect cocktail of love, boredom, and an empty road.
Sitting with my wife and some old, old friends, we enjoy a table and a view in the side yard of Tomales Town Hall, recounting wedding number two as the reception rages on inside. The ceremony was idyllic: chairs set up under the shade of a sturdy, outreaching tree, covering the guests as the bride and groom exchanged promises of love, unceasing support, and deep friendship. Family and friends came from far and wide to support through laughter and tears of joy, memory, and gratitude. Seeing friends and their parents brought the warmth of nostalgia — I wonder if parents think of these days, over a decade down the road, as they continually open their homes for high school study sessions, which stretch into video game sessions, which stretch into conversations, which stretch into dawn and a quick ride home to get in bed before parents awaken. The years have stretched as well, and those sunrises are still resting fondly on the mantle of my heart. How did we ever grow to be so finely dressed, so proud of one another?
We watch the sun set over California’s soft, golden rolling hills, which cradle a breathtaking gradient of pinks, purples, and blues. Off to another party: two more beloved friends are leaving this week, and we need to see them, once more, before they journey elsewhere.
All of these people, all of them so wonderful to us. The privilege of enjoying them in this beautiful place we call home overwhelms me at times, especially times like these, when the backdrop, the landscape, the affection, and the memory contain too much feeling to put into words. When eyes brim with tears as our hearts dance with two newly wedded couples, who look into one another’s eyes with the unshakable gaze of hope, relief, and uncontainable elation. When we sing in the car as the sun sets, tinting the world around us in rose. When we can’t believe that we are actually saying goodbye, for real this time. Overwhelmed, in the best of ways, by the people, places, and things of this tainted, hard, and beautiful life.