There are many things for which I give thanks for my time working at Barnes & Noble. One of those things is the amazing, lasting friendships that have come from my off-and-on Bookseller years. Though few of us still work there, many of us old school Booksellers have managed to keep in touch through major life changes.
Another thing I'm thankful to BN for is that it's the place where a few of the best couples I know met and fell in love. I think two of those couples are on their way to the altar within a couple of years, two have already been married for years, and one tied the knot just today, in a beautiful, rain-free ceremony (which is significant because it was raining and even hailing at times just hours before the nuptials were set to take place), off of Skyline, overlooking the bay.
Colleen and Will met when she was the children's department Lead and he worked in the music department. Colleen, super outgoing and ever-friendly and gregarious, used to throw these great parties at her house near the store (which I was always shocked never attracted a noise warning from the neighbors) and pretty much everyone was invited. Will was always a quiet attendee, fully there but not one to hog the spotlight. Somehow, they noticed each other at some point and have been honies for about 6 years now.
I have been out of touch with Colleen until I ran into her at our mutual friend Brian's birthday party in January, but it's been great to catch up with her, and I was incredibly honored to have been invited to share in hers and Will's celebration.
Today's New Activity: Post-Separation Wedding Attendance
One may imagine I would have mixed feelings about going to a wedding in the midst of my own divorce, but I have not found that to be the case. There were actually two weddings this weekend (one was my cousin's in Auburn which circumstances prevented me from attending), and from the moment I heard of each I was excited about the idea of going.
Here's the thing: I don't have mixed feelings about love. I have many strong and at times confusing feelings about what went on in my own marriage, but love itself seems pretty straight forward to me: it is the act of looking another person in the eyes, seeing that person for everything he or she really and truly is, and embracing that truth, that person, wholeheartedly.
I look at Colleen and Will, hear their story, and I know theirs is a beautiful, mutually respectful love, which emanates from them when they look at each other, even after 6 years together. That's the kind of couple you love to see get married...the kind you have the utmost confidence in. I love that Colleen hasn't changed at all since she and Will became a couple. I mean, I'm sure there are areas in which she'd say she's improved as a result of having known and loved Will, and I'm sure he'd say the same of himself. But the fundamentals of each of their personalities remain wholly intact. And you can see that each of them loves the other completely, exactly as is. I cannot think of a better prospect in life than to be loved for exactly who you are.
I was thinking about this wedding all week as the forecast promised ominous-looking thunderstorms for today. Though I've been to a wedding on a rainy day that turned out to be uniquely romantic, I know that nobody really hopes for rain on their wedding day. I also should have recognized, however, that Colleen is the kind of joyful optimist who could will away rainclouds on sheer positive thoughts. Of COURSE the rainclouds would get it out of their system and clear the way for a gorgeous afternoon!
I loved this ceremony because the bride and groom didn't take everything too seriously, and it had a lightness that in no way detracted from the fullness of its beauty. I was in happy tears long before the bridal party even made their way down the aisle. A couple of young men (members of Will's family, I'm guessing) sang and played a version of Eric Clapton's "You Look Wonderful Tonight" that was, I felt, better than the original; me and Maribel, sitting next to me, were fumbling around for tissue before the end of the first verse.
Then Will made his way down the aisle with Toby, the couple's dog, his companion and ring bearer. Too cute.
Next came the bridal party followed by Colleen, who was as carefree and calm as could be. I think lots of brides could take a lesson from her on how to truly enjoy your wedding day!
The ceremony was lovely and brief, which was nice because although it wasn't raining, it was at times chilly with the breeze. I think everyone's favorite moment, apart from the official marriage announcement of course, was when Will took out his phone to read the wedding vows he'd written. Nice, modern take :)
Will, at times, displayed the solemnity of a truly thoughtful man. You could see that this moment was a very meaningful one for him. I love that, in her vows, Colleen described Will's quiet strength. I feel like men who don't say much are often mistaken for so many things other than what they really are at heart, and that people don't recognize how truly confident and inspiring of confidence such men are. Cheers to Colleen for recognizing that great quality. I'd be hard-pressed to think of a better-matched pair.
If anybody's looking for a wedding venue, I'd have to jump in and recommend this one (The Mountain Terrance in Woodside). The setting was just amazing and the food was awesome! These are like the two most important things when it comes to wedding venues, no? I had to leave before the free-for-all dancing and the cupcakes, but I was so grateful to have spent the afternoon and early evening in the presence of old friends, and to witness the union of two great people.
As for post-divorce weddings, bring them on. I love weddings. Love them. That hasn't changed a bit. I would attend a wedding every day if I had the chance. It's, I think, an under-appreciated honor to be in the presence of people experiencing (as it is for many) the happiest day of their lives. To the Cadiz's....may you live many many years bringing this kind of smile to each other's faces!