Before starting, I realized I blew away the cast of characters so, if you are new, the “work daughter” reference may be over your head. Basically, about 10 years ago, we were working with a local high school to provide job experience (unpaid) to talented students. That unpaid, couple hours a week thing turned into a paid part time job where she’d work during school breaks and the occasional weekend. Over time, we formed a bit of a bond as I became the person she turned to for advice/help. Even though she’s been gone from her for about five years, we’ve kept in touch and she’s sought out my advice a few other times.
OK, so when we left off, we were coming back from NYC. I did promise another post just on my brief NYC experience so that will come up next. On the drive back to the hotel, she said we were more than welcome to join in the wedding preparation but my wife declined for us. The wedding wasn’t until 4PM so we found a nearby touristy thing to do that morning.
Our Google maps suggested it was going to be about a 30 minute trip to the church from our hotel based on traffic. But the Uber driver had a much better route so it was really only a 15 minute drive which meant we showed up just a little bit early. My wife went back in to see the WD for a bit while I just hung out and then we grabbed a seat relatively near the front.
In keeping with the theme of chaos, they did not have ushers at the wedding so seating was kind of a free for all. Between his family and friends, most of the crowd was there because they knew him so they didn’t try to split bride and groom sides. Neither her father or mother were in attendance. I didn’t pry but it wasn’t unexpected given the lack of support they’ve provided.
The other theme of the weekend was that everything ran late and this wedding was no exception. Part of it was the guests. I haven’t been to many weddings lately but it seems to me that if a wedding says 4PM, you are seated at 4PM. Not showing up at the door at 4PM (or slightly after). Then again, it is a crowded area and traffic is unpredictable.
Turns out that WD was having a bit of a freak out. Not sure why but the ex babysitter went back to see what was going on and came back later to say we were good to go. Think things started about 20 minutes behind schedule.
Remember the rehearsal where HTB was too quiet and she was all about showing him up. Come to the real thing and when it got to be time for them to read the vows they wrote, he nailed it. Voice was steady and plenty loud enough. She turned in a hot mess crying after the first sentence and was so choked up that I’m not sure she actually finished. Always tougher to do something for real but it was kind of cute.
As they turned to face us and were introduced as a couple for the first time, the smiles on both of them just lit up the place. They just both radiated happiness and that was true as they came down the steps and through the bubbles that us guests were blowing.
Then, it was on to the reception. The room actually looked really nice and the flowers were great. We ran in to the various aunts during the course of the reception and they all were hugging my wife and talking about how nice the flowers were. She was a big hit with the groom’s family.
As I mentioned in one of the previous posts, his parents were not born here so the music choices at the reception reflected their culture. OK, it was mostly salsa and merengue with a few other songs tossed in. During dinner, the DJ played some stuff that would have been good rumbas or waltzes but it was kept at a low volume and only intended to be background music. We did dance a few times including one merengue.
It was obvious that many people on the floor had been dancing for years and it was fun to watch. There was just something nice about watching good social dancing done just for the pure enjoyment of it. These people weren’t worried about frame or head position or attempting to score points with judges. Of course they had the timing and footwork down.
The nice thing was watching the WD cut loose. No, she really can’t dance but that didn’t stop her from trying a few times. But mostly it was just seeing her laughing and smiling and having a good time. Same thing with her new husband. There was a lot of stress and anxiety building up to the event and we felt some of that but you could tell all of that was gone. Probably what the reception is designed to be. Everyone just celebrating the new couple because who doesn’t like seeing the start of a love story. Nobody really knows how a marriage is going to turn out but the beginning of one is a special time.
And it was good to see the life that she has for herself now. She’s got what seems to be a great new job. She’s made some good friends. The guy who took us into NYC and was her neighbor when she first moved to NJ was clearly good for her. And, I get nothing but positive vibes about the new husband. They’ll probably be the couple that forgets to pay a critical bill every now and then but they really seem like a good match.
And everyone was super nice and really made us feel welcome. We didn’t really mix and mingle much at the reception but that’s because we aren’t the mix and mingle type. My wife did get roped into helping tie up the wedding dress. I guess the technical term is to bustle the dress.
I’m trying to get to a point but I’m not really sure how. I don’t want to oversell whatever part I’ve played in her life. I mean we can’t do a “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment and see how things would have turned out if I had picked someone else. What came through in so many ways was that it was very important for her that I be there. So I guess I did something right along the way.
The funny thing is that I never set out to be any type of mentor. I still have trouble viewing myself as any type of authority figure and that I don’t have all the answers so why would anyone want to ask me anything. But here’s this person who saw me in a different light. Its weird but wonderful.
If you had told me at that first interview that we’d still be in contact 10 years later and that I’d be flying off to New Jersey for a weekend to see her wedding, I wouldn’t have believed it. But that’s how the story unfolded. If you asked me why I hired her instead of the other two, I couldn’t give you any logical reasons. It was just a feeling. Or maybe it was more than that.
OK, I think this is started to devolve into a jumbled mass of random thoughts so it is time to draw this post to an end. It was well worth the trip and it was a great weekend and it was great to see her so happy at the end.