I've strayed away from actual recaps on these posts, because: yawn. But there's so much loveliness to share on this particular weekend that you'll have to bear with me. Pleaseandthankyou.
So, for starters: the speech! He did it! Knocked it out of the park, my kid did. He told me just yesterday that when we all stood up for the pledge his heart under his palm was going, "Boom, boom, boom." And still, he didn't betray a moment of nervousness and sounded calm and confident. There are over three hundred kids in that auditorium, plus faculty and staff. It fills up to the point where kids are sitting on the floor, and throughout the day afterwards Cal had 9th graders come up to him to say that they couldn't have done what he did when they were in 8th grade. Afterwards, he got to skip Latin (woot) and show the Lt. Governor and our friend Evans (Norfolk's Commissioner of the Revenue) around his school. He was riding high all day. His friends were impressed, his teachers thought he did a great job, and now it's on the 9th grade speech. September 4th: he's ready.
It was a great weekend, really. I baked, we beached, and it truly feels like summer is here... not just nearly here, but HERE! Oh, pesky school. Cal starts exams this week.
On Saturday, two of Neel's (now former) medical students got married. He was so touched to have been invited to the wedding, really just moved to have been included. The ceremony was held in a beautiful church in the historic Ghent section of our town. The groom was one of ten kids, and his 7 brothers (and one cousin) lined up with him. It was really a sight to behold! All these handsome young men, so accomplished and supportive of each other. The bride was radiant, of course, and the reception (held at the Norfolk Women's Club) was full of fun and life and many personal, intimate touches. My favorite part, by far, was the ceremony. It was a very traditional, very formal (Anglican) ceremony, with much of the service performed by a dear family friend of the groom.
I love weddings. I'm a firm believer in marriage, and my own marriage is very important to me. The homily given by the groom's friend, a fatherly figure who reminded me of my college adviser, was incredibly moving. He talked about traditional vows and how people have shied away from them of late, wanting (wisely) to feel empowered by the words they say. Not wanting to commit to words that they don't mean. The couple we watched wed on Saturday used the traditional vows of the Anglican ceremony, and I was struck as they said them, of all those who have (with hope in their hearts) gone before. A wedding is a moment of unity, and joining of two souls because we are stronger together. And yet, as the groom's friend reminded us in his homily, it's a moment of surrender too. Surrendering to hope and faith, not only in the institution, but in each other. The reverend had promised the groom "not much poetry," but when he quoted T.S. Elliot, I knew Neel was sold! I was too.
“The awful daring of a moment's surrender which an age of prudence can never retract.
by this, and only this, we have existed.”
Such a powerful commentary on marriage. It is daring to surrender. To be willing to take that step and all your next steps hand in hand. We wish them all the best, these friends of Neel (all day long, he kept saying, "You can call me Neel now," to all of the recently former students who kept calling him "doctor!") as they dare to venture forth together.