“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”

— Guillaume Apollinaire

Last night we made a happy trip to a city not so far away.  The occasion was the marriage of Matt and Shelley.  Marriage?  How can this be?  They are only children!  And then I pause to realize that by the time I was their age, my second child had already arrived.  I suppose they really are grownups; but every time one of my children’s friends takes the plunge, I experience a moment of clarity about youth and love and marriage and life.

They are so grown up!  How did this happen?

For years, Shelley and our daughter Emily have been best friends.  Emily, the dancer whose knee surgeries had her benched and Shelley, the cheerleader whose knees could handle anything — it might seem that they had little in common during their high school days, but what they have always shared is a fierce sense of love, loyalty, and commitment to the people they choose to love.  What a nice bond to have with a friend!  It is no wonder that the last year, as cheerleader has become bride-to-be and dancer has become maid of honor, has been one of planning and preparing and pursuing happiness with a deep fierceness that their love for each other requires.  They planned the big event and executed all the minute details so that the moment when Shelley spoke her vows would be nothing short of perfect.  And nothing less would have been acceptable, because it represents the love, the loyalty and the commitment that forges every bond in the life of this young bride.

Who could possibly be worthy of my daughter-by-proxy?

When I first met Matt, I have to say that I was skeptical.  I suppose that is always the way a mother or mother-figure feels about the male interlopers who circle the girls they love and protect.  When Shelley first started to date her groom-to-be, he was a teenage boy.  He was a bit rough around the edges and trying to assert himself as a man.  Already, he was the man of the house, having lost his dad some years earlier in an accident.  Maybe, I thought, this is why he works so hard at being male.  Sometimes his attempts were a bit clumsy, and sometimes we wondered why Shelley stuck with him.  But she saw something that we didn’t — and I suppose that is the definition of love.  The fine, well-spoken, kind, loving young man who spoke his vows yesterday was hiding under the surface all the time.  And I think it is love that called him out of his hiding place and showed us what Shelley had seen all along.  I just know his Dad would be proud.

They have worked at pursuing happiness.  They have found their way through years of loving each other and adjusting and learning to agree, and they bring such strength to the beginning of their marriage that when they spoke the word, “forever,” I really believed them.

Matt and Shelley, thank you for including us in your celebration.  The work is done.  Happiness has been pursued and captured.  Now all you need to do is be happy.  How cool is that?