The Vow Renewal

When I was younger, my family always made fun of me for being nosey. If something was lost, they'd ask me where it was and I always knew. Being the youngest, I didn't want to be left out so I made sure to poke my nose everywhere it wasn't supposed to be. Not only was I nosey but I was also extremely protective of my mother. She never needed it but apparently, I thought it was my job. I'll never forget the moment when my nosiness collided with my need to protect and comfort her.
Whenever my mom laughed really hard, she would kind of wail. She always said that it was the only way her stomach muscles would loosen up. Her wailing laugh was a common sound in our house which always made my sisters and me laugh. Late one night when I was just 9 years old, I heard the familiar sound; except this time, it wasn't coming from laughter but from sorrow. Without knocking, I crept in, saw my mom kneeling on the floor with her head buried in the bed. She was on the phone. I assumed one of her friends was telling her a hilarious story and obviously I needed to know what it was. I stood there thirsty for a punch line when she looked up at me with a face full of tears and bloodshot eyes. I sat down on the bed and rubbed her back for what felt like hours.
 She was on the phone with her fiancé, Richard. Through her sobbing and weeping, I was able to piece together that his parents had taken away their consent to be married. As members of the Bahai Faith each member has to obtain consent from their parents to marry. They had flown to Northern California to ask his parents for consent, which they had happily given -- only to have his mother call days later to rescind it because she was worried about what people would think of her having a black daughter-in-law.
My mom and Rich knew each other in passing, years before when my sisters, his son and daughter were members of a Bahai youth group. They didn't keep in touch until they bumped into each other years later at a Bahai celebration. He took her on a date and they both knew that night they had found the One. Eight months later, he proposed. Rich had been renting a room from his best friend since his house was an hour from his job. With his son being the only one living there and my mom's job being down the street, he asked my mom, my sisters, myself and my grandma to all move into his house. After they got consent taken away, he decided that he would continue renting a room from his friend forever if he had to. They called off the wedding, not the relationship.

Three days later, unable to eat or sleep, Rich's mother called and gave them consent. She said that she was worried that God would not be pleased with her. Secretly, I think she really liked my mom.
All of this was happening during Christmas break. My oldest sister, Season, and I were at home and my older sister, Shannon was at her best friend's house. My mom called and said, "Clean the house. We're having a wedding." They wanted to marry before his parents could rescind consent again. Neither of them could get the day off so my mom took a long lunch and dropped my sister and her friend off at the house to help with wedding preparations. Luckily, my grandma had already purchased my mom's wedding dress and it was tucked away in her closet. My mom stopped off at the grocery store on her way home and purchased two sheet cakes for the wedding. It was a Friday night when my parents got married in front of their five children, my grandma and a handful of friends.
December 28th was their 25th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, we decided to have a photoshoot for them. We had a cake, flowers, invitations and a beautifully decorated table. I've been a wedding planner for nine years so I'm used to seeing bride's reactions when they look in the mirror at the complete transformation. I've grown accustomed to seeing how their eyes light up when they put on their gowns and the breathlessness with which they take in seeing themselves in new ways. But this time was different. My mom was afraid to look in the mirror because she never had her makeup done professionally. When she did, she started crying, which made the makeup artist and me cry as well. I was instantly brought back to my mother crying on the phone with Rich. It's funny how childhood memories change shape and take on a new meaning when we're older. This time she wasn't crying because she was sad. They made it. My mom always said that she missed out on having her dream wedding until they renewed their vows the day before Thanksgiving, in front of their kids, grandkids and a handful of friends, just like 25 years before.

{This photo is from their wedding 25 years ago}


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.