A week ago today, at the end of that night, I went to find my brother and his new wife to say goodbye. They pulled me over to the photo booth and gave me a kiss. I had put on my black sweater and black tights and flats from earlier in the day. Sturdy Gals are rarely Cinderella and do not make getaways in sparkling heels. The flower was a prop.
The picture, which I do love, reminds me of the toast I gave. I thought, if you don’t mind, that I’d share it. I am paraphrasing, as I did not write it down before I spoke.
All the toasters had a microphone. When my turn came, we were standing on the stage. I told the guests that I had helped the couple plan their wedding. I told them that during the process my brother had called me a “Bodhisattva.” I told them I would let my family’s laughter die down before proceeding, as I am no such thing, but that in saying so, my brother had inadvertently given me a “Bodhisattva Get Out Of Jail Free Card.” The card meant that the couple had to listen to one piece of advice from me, whatever I wanted to say. And so,
My advice is this. I believe that these days we have two dominant models for love. In the first, we yearn for a shiny object we do not have, thinking it will make us also shiny. In the second, we partner for the long term, and we compromise. We concede and make do. In the first model, we are always yearning, always lacking something. In the second, we are often resentful, over the years.
There is another model I think we can look to, the archetype for how the human creature loves, the love of a parent for their newborn baby. We love to take care of our babies. We don’t think of our love as a burden. In fact, we feel privileged to be given the gift of caring for that new person. When our baby does well, we take that as our own success.
I believe it’s so easy to love a baby because their new life from the universe is so closely with them. Hovering, almost. So come to your loved one newly born, if we can call it that. See your loved one as newborn.
This is different from babies in that we have to be prepared for our children to leave us. They may not, but we have to be prepared. We don’t have to leave our partners. So don’t. Stay. Stay and take care of each other.
It’s a gift to have the chance to care for another person.
The ballroom was quite noisy, what with the high ceilings, tall windows, and many festive guests. I felt rather like a revivalist preacher, speaking loudly and without pause, exhorting. But in fact I was just telling my brother and his new wife something I believe despite an absence of proof. I have found that life is quite full of mysteries, and at any given time it’s good to be able to speak from the heart about whatever, no matter how limited, you may know.
Photobooth courtesy Ian Londin Photography