Today my oldest daughter is getting married.
To those of you who have seen your child married, the first sentence will be so fraught with meaning, you will need read no further.
It seems incredible to say this, but it seems to me a child's wedding is an even more significant turning point than your own. For Catherine, she's in love, Drew loves her, and the wedding is today. All of this is a very big deal, no doubt, but there's also an element of "well, this is the next step in my life," a kind of naturalness and ease. (When Catherine reads this, she will not doubt shriek - I can almost hear it as I type these words - "Ease, what the hell do you mean ease?!") But she can't know what I know, how I see this wedding as only a parent can, as both insider and outsider. I have known Catherine's growing up in a way that she herself could never know, and I know what an unendurably aching sweet thing time is, that great invisible, soundless sweep that gives us all things and takes all things away. Last night was the rehearsal dinner and I looked over the families and friends under the tent - we'd rented this big honking tent for the front yard, all lighted inside with little white lights, and after the sun set, there was this place in the darkness, all lit from the inside, filled with happy beautiful people, many of whom had come from far away, to see this day. Today those same people, and more, will be on hand to see me pass my daughter to the young man who is her love.
It is a happy day.