It’s another Zoom meeting on a Sunday afternoon when my son Sam and his bride-to-be Alex announce that they are canceling plans for their wedding in October. While not a surprise exactly—they have been deliberating this decision for months now—it is a disappointment. In the grand scheme, it’s almost petty, but on a personal level, sad. They are going to get married, probably sooner than any possibility of a family-and-friends fête arrives, but no specifics are offered.
When we receive the email letting attendees know even though we had been forewarned, it’s like opening a barely scabbed wound.
I had been excited about the prospect of these two wonderful people joining forces, but especially, and selfishly so, because for the first time, all five of my siblings had been invited. (There have been many marriages among my nieces and nephews but none to date had included all six of us.)
I let my imagination bear me away on wild wings, beach walking to images of the six of us loudly laughing and carrying on in some chill New Orleans venue, jazz in the background, crawfish on the table, and shared joy, a reunion. It is a rarity when our tribe gets together; the bonds that unite us are enduring yet forgiving. Love underpins it all, but we are an independent, far-flung bunch, and this event would pull people from Hawaii and Wyoming, Oregon and Mexico. The last time we had all been together was at my aunt’s funeral nine years ago. An updated photo featuring bright and sunny smiles in festive finery would have been a much-desired addition to our family album.
This morning we are leaving on a road trip to meet Sam and Alex at Alex’s parents’ home in Santa Rosa. It is a big adventure—with more than a dash of anxiety—because novel virus, novel world. En route we plan a brief stay in the redwood forest before completing the 10-hour journey. The kids will meet us there on Friday after flying from NOLA. (The details of their preparation to ensure that they are being as safe as possible don’t bear repeating, but be sure, they are numerous.)
This was to be their engagement party weekend, large and merry. Now it will be small— but merry? No doubt. When I spoke with my sister yesterday, the satellite buzzed with our Hawaii-to-Oregon chatter. We had recently canceled our family-sized New Orleans Airbnb and were discussing plans to do it again when fates allow. Then she said, “You know, Trish, your trip? It might be the perfect situation, the parents in one place…,” and I stopped her.
“We’re trying not to think about it, you know ‘expectations are planned disappointment.'” But the thought, their words, “Oh, we want to get married more than ever,” has crossed our minds. I have written before about Sam surprising us— and Alex— with his proposal while visiting here in Oregon, and about how my husband and I eloped after knowing each other for a month, so…
Road Trip! Whatever happens, oh, we are so happy!