Dylan called me. "Are you near the computer?" he asked. I wasn't, actually, but what with the magic of cordless phones, it was easy enough to get there. He directed me to YouTube and told me to type in 'John Legend, All of Me'. It was an unfamiliar song, but unabashedly romantic, "All of me loves all of you, all your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections"
"That's going to be the song for our first dance," he told me, and I told him it was a beautiful song. He gloated a little. "I found that song. Remember that! I picked it out, and played it for Brittani and she loved it too." I loved his pride. He is a very involved bridegroom.
As parents of the groom, our part is small. They picked out a trellis that they wanted for the outdoor ceremony, and we offered to pay for that. It will be something that they can take home and put in the vast expanse of their yet unlandscaped back yard, a reminder of that perfect day. I have two pots that I've planted with ferns and white calla lilies for each side of that trellis. Other than the rehearsal dinner, we're done.
The major planning is being done by the two of them. It will be elegant and understated, the groomsmen dressed in light silver gray and the bridal attendants in faintest blush pink. I haven't heard a lot of details, but I know that a lot of planning is going into it, and I know that Brittani is very excited. So is Dylan.
Snippets of his life come back to me:
At 9 lbs 13 oz, he was the biggest newborn in the nursery.
That little pudge turned into a skinny active toddler who loved his raisins and swimming in the condominium pool.
I remember an excited little boy telling me "I can't wait for you to see the microwave we bought you for Christmas!"
He watched a show about bungee jumping, and then fetched a length of rope from the basement. I discovered him in his second floor bedroom carefully setting his screen to the side of the window. The rope was tied around his waist, the other end to his bunkbed.
"Mr. Ray, did you ever think that if you had a little boy to help you at your store he could sweep the walk?" And Mr. Ray was so taken that he hired one 6-year-old boy for an hour every day.
Boy Scouts and Little League gave way to other interests as he grew older. He got temporarily lost while hunting in a sudden but heavy snow squall. I was panic-stricken and not sure whether to call the authorities and risk looking like a fool or to wait a few more minutes. He ended up on Cole Hill instead of Scandia Road. He was a tired boy by the time he got home.
Later: "I don't know why my truck stopped, Mom." The truck was freshly washed. The gobbet of mud in his ear gave him away. He'd been out 'mudding' with his friends.
He discovered wrestling, and he was very good at it. I remember him starving himself to make weight. Hungry boys are mean, so those were not happy days.
So many memories, and now, looking back, I find myself getting a little teary eyed. Hindsight is 20-20, and I always come up with a list of things that I could have done better, should have done better.
Despite it all, that boy grew up to be a man who fell deeply, madly in love. I know that he bought a vase for their first little table of their first little apartment and pledged to keep flowers in it and did so. He went to her father to ask for her hand in marriage shortly before they left for Europe. Her father was so excited that Dylan was afraid that Brittani would guess. She didn't. When he knelt to propose to her at the top of the Eiffel Tower at sunset, she was surprised.
He turned into the kind of man who is not ashamed to take the woman he loves into his arms and dance with her before the whole world as the music plays "Give your all to me, and I'll give my all to you, you're my end and my beginning, even when I lose I'm winning".
From that imperfect childhood came a good man who has found a good woman, a woman who loves his perfect imperfections every bit as much as he loves hers. It brings me a quiet moment of joy to think on this, and I breathe a prayer of gratitude to the One who IS perfect.