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We Belong to God

I have come to the age where my friends' children are getting married, and my own children are approaching the age to begin courtships of their own. As I look forward to these milestones, I find myself looking back on my own wedding and the trials and tribulations therein.

My husband of 17 and a half years and I met at a retreat in 2004. Two weeks later we were engaged to be married. This sent up a few red flags for my Mother. I was not open with her about the changes in my prayer life, and this information was completely new to her. He and I waited for two months (until she became comfortable with the idea) before we began marriage instruction. Six months later we had finished marriage instruction and were preparing for a trip to Germany for World Youth Day. His band was performing during the week leading up to the arrival of the Holy Father. This sent up more red flags, but she trusted that God would take care of us. I came home safe and sound, had my bridal shower, and the wedding was a month or so away.

The wedding preparations were taxing for my Mother. I was her youngest, and she had had to work a lot when I was little. She had her heart set on making it up to me. She wanted me to have the most beautiful dress in the store. The more expensive dresses were too elaborate for her liking or seemed too cumbersome to dance in. She wanted a simple A-line dress with layers of chiffon and a train that could be bustled. She assured me that I would not be happy with any other gown.

She wanted the reception to be an elegant affair. I had arranged for the newly renovated parish hall. At the last minute I was told the hall would not be finished in time for my wedding, but I could have the parish gym at a discount.

My mother decided the food would have to make up for the surroundings. She put on a proper Polish feast of fried chicken, Polish sausage and several sides to choose from. Each person in attendance was going to have their fill!

Another setback arose involving the lack of a liquor license. A city ordinance was passed that said every parish that served alcohol on its campus for events must purchase a liquor license. How could a wedding reception be successful without wine?

She wanted the reception hall filled with balloons, tissue paper bridal decor, and flowers. The high ceilings and open spaces did not accommodate such lofty goals, so she agreed to keep things simple.

When everyone arrived, she let the food speak for itself. It was her last gift to her baby girl, who was about to become someone's wife.

My one regret in the process is that my Mother spent so much time deciding what was best for me, that she did not take my requests under consideration. When my friends talk about their daughters and the plans their daughters have made, I am so glad their daughters are given the opportunity to decide for themselves.

But from the very beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female. That is why a man leaves his father and mother and the two become one flesh.' And so they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.

Mark 10: 6-9

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