I am currently in the air in transit to San Francisco. My niece Anna is getting married and the family is gathering. It is a joyous occasion yet my mind races ahead with worries. This wedding is a major event, a milestone, and not having children I feel particularly close to my brother’s daughters. I have so many feelings that I, now the elder of our family, cannot take it all in and focus instead on details. I want all to be perfect and am fearful of what will transpire. The bride and her sister are in charge. I am there to help and NOT, like my mother now dead for 27 years, try to exert my will so it be done “right”. This is not easy. I have opinions and there is a lot of emotion, not just internally, but I also feel it in other family members and guests. I am doing my best to
stay calm and steady, note what arises and go with the flow but this is challenging and I am watching the scenarios unfold in my mind. The marriage is to take place in a resort by a river in the Sierras. There are four or five cabins on the grounds and the rest of the accommodations are campsites. My husband and I will be in a cabin and sharing it with my brother, father of the bride, and his girlfriend. Other family members will be staying in B&B’s or inns nearby. Friends of the bride and groom, many of whom are climbers, will be camping and residing in their tents on the grounds. I am older now and have become accustomed to comfortable beds, privacy and quiet. It is to be a potluck and I have been told I will be cutting up potatoes and other veggies the morning of the wedding. “Not a good idea,” I tell my brother. I imagine chaos and people bustling around a kitchen in our little cabin. Of course, this may or may not be true but it feels real and I do not like peeling potatoes on a wedding day.
Bob, my brother, says that he had a lovely talk with Bekka, his younger daughter, now married who is coordinating the food for the wedding. She asked her father for one thing, “follow my instructions.” As he relates this to me I translate his words and hear, “Elana, keep quiet and do what Bekka wants.” This is wisdom, it also means letting go–not easy for me to do. I tell myself, step back and appreciate that Anna and Bekka are now grown up, capable and in charge…I breathe again, and appreciate being able to be here for this rite of passage.