A story that’s been retold several times in my extended family over the last few weeks is about my two oldest nephews, Benjamin and Jordan. They are approximately 18 months apart in age and when they were little, they liked to stand inches from each other and yell their names back and forth. “Benjamin!” “Jordan!” And so on.
The reason this story, and others, have been repeatedly shared is because both of them are now married. Benjamin and his bride, Antzi (pronounced Angie), were married in Athens, Greece on June 8th. Jordan and his bride, Kayleen, were married two weeks later on June 22nd.
I wasn’t able to fly to Athens to attend Benjamin’s nuptials; although I’ve been assured that when I can finally get back there we will have a party to celebrate. I was able to be present for Jordan’s ceremony however. I wouldn’t trade that trip to St. Cloud, Minnesota for anything. Not only was it incredible to witness Jordan and Kayleen publicly commit themselves to one another, their wedding gave me the opportunity to spend time with members of my extended family after several years apart. Being in their company reminded me of where I come from, the stories, the bonds, the fabric of a family. Hopefully that venture into the past will shed a little more light on where I’m going in the future.
But this blog is about Benjamin and Jordan, not me. There is a line in the Steve Martin version of the movie “Father of the Bride,” that comes during the wedding ceremony of his daughter Annie. He has escorted her up the aisle and is anxious about the one line, the one part he has to say in the ceremony. When the question is asked, “Who gives this woman?” he has to respond, “Her mother and I.” Then as he sits down, the narration we hear over the action is Martin’s character reflecting on the words, “this woman.”
In his mind, his daughter is still the little girl who slid down the bannister and practiced basketball in the driveway. But now she is this woman. As I’ve looked at the pictures of Benjamin’s wedding to Antzi and watched Jordan make his promises to Kayleen, I couldn’t help but remember the funny and delightful little boys they were. Now, it seems in the blink of an eye, they are men; men of integrity and depth, intelligence and wit.
This is indicative not only in the incredible, vibrant, intelligent, determined, and brave women they have chosen to spend their lives with, but in how they are both living their lives in their own unique way, on their own terms. It is apparent in the way both of them chose to be married. Benjamin, who did not want to be married in a fancy ceremony, said his vows in his Green Lantern t-shirt with a fedora perched jauntily on his head. Although Jordan and Kayleen dressed more traditionally, their wedding was uniquely them – from the warming of the rings tradition at the beginning to the fact that excerpts from Jordan’s favorite text, Spinoza’s Ethics in Latin, was present at every table at the reception. It was part of the framed “Reserved” signs, and was cut into little hearts and confetti that decorated each place setting. It even provided an edible topping on the cupcakes and cake that were served for dessert.
These men. They were funny, sweet little boys and now they have grown into amazing, wonderful men. It is a distinct privilege to be their aunt. Now I hope that I can also be their friend. These men.
|Jordan and Kayleen|
|Benjamin and Antzi|