We went to a wedding this weekend--Lucy got political with the priest during the ceremony, my boys only splashed the Holy water on each other a couple times, we danced with glow sticks at the reception and we had dinner together as a family for the first time in a few weeks, it was a good wedding. I would expect nothing less though, because it was a Kimball wedding.
Wade was a ring bearer in the wedding. He wasn't thrilled, in fact before the wedding he was nervous and unsure. I wanted to tell him he had nothing to worry about and that weddings are fun and this was a Kimball wedding so he REALLY had nothing to worry about.
Two weeks after I moved to Michigan a million years ago to be with my then-boyfriend/future husband/Tim, he took me to a wedding, his cousin's wedding, a Kimball wedding. The ceremony was long and Catholic and formal, but full of love and smiles and tears. As we were leaving the church, all the talk was about the dance floor at the reception.
"Are you ready to see old Swivel Hips in action?," my future husband/Tim's brother asked referring to their father. "Oh yeah, wait til you see his moves on the dance floor, they are legendary," another brother laughed.
The reception was full of a million cousins, a lot of booze and a hopping dance floor. Old Swivel Hips (my future father-in-law) was out on the floor, along with his wife (my future mother-in-law), and a million little kids and other guests. When the DJ played the Sister Sledge classic "We Are Family" all the aunts and uncles and cousins whooped with joy and took over the dance floor. It was their song.
Since then, I've been to a lot more weddings with this family. I always look forward to a Kimball wedding. It's like a Midwestern, middle-class Kennedy wedding. Matriarchs, patriarchs, first, second and third cousins. A million Catholics taking communion at the church and then drinking insane amounts of alcohol at the reception. Little kids stealing candy and playing pranks on each other just like I'm sure those cute little Kennedy's did/do. It's all about tradition, ceremony, so much laughter and celebration and love and most importantly, it's all about family.
"Why should these two get married?," asked the priest during the ceremony this weekend. I'd never heard a priest interact with the audience like a talk show host and I kind of liked it. He encouraged people to answer aloud, I kind of liked that too. Someone said "because they're in love." Another someone said "to honor God." And then I saw Lucy raise her hand, my 10-year-old daughter, um, what in the world was she going to say? I wasn't sure if I liked this whole scene anymore.
"Because it's a free country and they can do it if they want to," Lucy stated boldly. People laughed but I could tell some people were nervous that she was going to add "And my mother tells me that everyone should have the right to get married in this country, straight people, gay people, everyone." As the only non-Catholic in the family and being an outspoken liberal who truly does believe that should be everyone's right, I have sort of a reputation.
But Lucy didn't say that. The Priest asked her if she was a Republican or a Democrat and quickly moved onto the next person with an answer.
|JT helping Wade get ready for his ring bearer duties. |
JT knows his stuff, he was a ring bearer a couple years ago for the bride's older sister, a Kimball second-cousin.
I wasn't sure if I was relieved or disappointed that Lucy hadn't gotten even more political and radical. Then I started to think about why I thought they should get married and why I think they should have a wedding, a ceremony.
I looked around the room filled with family and friends and thought about the fun that was going to go down at the reception. After being around this family for almost two decades, I know that life isn't always a party, it's not always a dance floor. It can be messy and hard and complicated. People disagree about politics, life choices and all sorts of little and big things. Feelings are hurt and toes are stepped on. But no matter what, these people come to celebrate at weddings and grieve at funerals. They support each other, honor each other, celebrate each other. They agree to maybe never see eye-to-eye or understand completely, but they also agree to love each other forever. And dance and have fun and laugh.
|Wade and the cutest flower girl ever, yet another Kimball second cousin.|
That's why they should get married and have a wedding ceremony. To keep the tradition of love and dancing alive. To give us all a reason to dress up and celebrate and be happy and supportive and hopeful and be together.
|An amazing, meaningful favor in honor of the groom's battle with Leukemia.|
|Here are my boys acting like either little gangsters or little Kennedy's walking around the reception playing jokes and filling their pockets with candy.|