I married into a large family. My husband is one of 8 children, a typical Irish Catholic family, a phenomenon from another era. I’m one of 4, all of us born within 5 years, another variation of the Irish Catholic practice of the ‘50’s. Between the two of us we have 10 siblings.
Fast forward to the present. My children who are in their early thirties have 25 first cousins. My three kids are very close to all of their first cousins and even some second cousins thanks to my father-in-law who focused on what he cared about most—family. His insistence that we get together numerous times a year resulted in my husband and I being close to all these kids as well.
We are now at the stage of weddings and new babies. It’s a time in our lives I always figured would be intense since these 28 young people are all approximately the same age. It’s even more intense than I expected. We are averaging three weddings a year, and now come the new babies. All of this means showers, a lot of them.
In my younger and more self-absorbed days, despite my love for weddings (they are, after all, big extravagant parties and I love parties), I hated showers. Such a time waster I thought, and so boring. Now I’m not so sure. I’m starting to think that showers, along with so many of the other rituals, including weddings, serve an important purpose. It’s a time to come together as a family and welcome the new people, the incoming family. An opportunity, I now realize, to also see the new person in a different light and get to know her family, learn where she’s from, how she grew up.
It also smooths the way for the weddings. By the time you get to the big day you’ve met these other women, and their families,. Come the years ahead, these people should be part of each others’ families and be a support for each other.
At the last shower I attended I sat at a table with my two sisters-in-law, one of my daughters and the bride’s three aunts. By the end of lunch (after a couple of glasses of wine) we were warming up with “Sweet Caroline.” You have to know this is going to be some wedding.
I know that’s not always the case. There are families that are so diametrically opposed, say the Hatfields and McCoys or the Capulets and the Montagues, that no matter what is said or done, there will never be a meeting of the minds, much less a joint endeavor and mutual wish that the couple be happy. Romeo & Juliet makes a great story—the classic built-in problem that will make the reader stick with your book until the end.
But in life? Better that there be two families that like each other and get along right from the start. That’s the kind of scenario that will support a marriage and shore up a couple when there is sickness and trouble.
Labels: Deborah Nolan, weddings, showers, Romeo & Juliet, Westside Story.
Deborah Nolan is the author of Suddenly Lily and Conflict of Interest, both published by Montlake, and Second Act for Carrie Armstrong, published by Desert Breeze Publishing. She is also a lawyer, representing children in Columbia County, New York. She divides her time between Columbia County and New York City. Visit her at www.deborahmnolan.blogspot.com
Labels: Irish Catholic, wedding, shower, “Sweet Caroline,” Hatfields & McCoys