The three things that I knew about the bride before the wedding:
She teaches special needs kids.
She went vegan for J.
She told a friend that We R Who We R by Ke$ha was her summer anthem, because “everyone needs an anthem for the summer.”
J. said in his vows that she had redefined his understanding of inclusion. A few of her former students participated in the ceremony. Two of them walked her down the aisle with her family. Another stood up to hand J. and C. their rings. I don’t know the politically correct ways to describe this teenager, but to me he seemed simply and radically young for his body. He whispered into the microphone. A mild verbal tic sounded like “should the card read.” He cracked some barely audible joke when J. slipped the ring onto C.’s finger.
I have been reading parenting books, recently, and one of the books I like talks about a parent as an “enlightened witness.” A little hippy dippy, but it captures how hard it is to see and accept each other as we are.
When her former student cracked some sassy, whispered joke during one of the most important moments in her life, C. just raised her eyebrows and laughed. Her student is much taller than she is. She put her hand on his arm — the hand with its new ring –and smiled up into his face.
We sat in lettered and numbered seats at the ceremony so that J. and his brother and C. and her sister could pass out handwritten notes to everyone sitting in the audience. My note was a brief summary of our friendship. We saw each other every week when I lived in San Francisco. It was a rocky time in my life, I remember leaning on him pretty hard. He described it this way: “Fast friends. Too many good times to count. And for that I will always be grateful.”
When we talk about weddings, we often talk about the gaffes, the oppressive pricing structure of the wedding industrial complex, the injustice to our gay friends.
But this is why we drag our asses around the country. To say thank you and to be included and to bear enlightened witness.
And to get our Ke$ha on. What’s my summer anthem?