……………from where I was standing
It’s September 6, 2002. Last week at this time, my wife Nancy and I were taking care of last minute details in preparation for our trip.
Our son Christopher, a Corporal in the Marine Corp, is to be married tomorrow evening in California. As a family we had wrestled with this 1,381 mile trip for several weeks and when the vote was tallied my daughter Brittany and my wife celebrated their victory in fashion, shopping for just the right dress, shoes and accessories to wear to the wedding.
We flew to Long Beach airport and drove down to Carlsbad, California where Nancy had booked the weekend at The Carlsbad Inn. A beachside resort, the Carlsbad Inn offered beach access for our early morning strolls along the Pacific shoreline and a short drive to Camp Pendleton, where the wedding was to be held.
Chris and his fiancée Sinead drove over from Oceanside to greet us after we had settled in. A knock on the door…hugs and kisses all around…we all remarked at how Chris’ physique had changed since we had seen him last. He’s spent a lot of time in the gym and has that bodybuilder look about him. We all went out for a late night stroll in downtown Carlsbad and had a quick bit to eat.
Saturday morning we rose early. A quick stop at Starbucks for a Grande to go, then down to the beach we headed for our barefoot stroll in sand and surf. Just Dad, Mom and Daughter strolling along the shoreline as surfer’s took advantage of the incoming tide and fisherman casts their lines into the surf.
Chris and Sinead’s wedding was in a little chapel located on Camp Pendleton Marine Corp Base. Located just North of Carlsbad, Camp Pendleton, the busiest military base in the nation, covers over 250,000 acres, 200 square miles and 17 1/2 miles of shoreline. .It is home to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, 1st Marine Division, 1st Force Service Support group and many others, employing 60,000 military and civilian personnel.
The wedding was a very nice, simple ceremony. Chris and his groomsmen were all in dress blue uniforms and the bride and her bridesmaids were all beautiful. After the ceremony, as they left the church, swordsmen, weapons raised, created an archway that the bride and groom passed through on their way to greet the waiting reception of friends and relatives. As they approached the end of the archway, the two leading swordsmen lowered their swords to halt the newlywed’s progress and the bide was then whopped on the backside with a saber.
The reception was elegantly modest, held at the base NonCommissionedOfficer’s Club.
Great food, music, new friends and new family.
While the sun set over the Pacific Ocean, Chris and Sinead danced together for the first time as husband and wife.
The most perfect moment requires a lead in story……….When Nancy and I were married in 1983, we had a beautiful reception at a Country Club in North Dallas.Chris, my son from a previous marriage, was 5 years old at the time.
As the band played, Nancy, in her beautiful wedding dress, picked Chris up off the dance floor, and Mother and Son shared a most precious dance.
That moment was recreated this weekend on the dance floor. It was such a beautiful moment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!As Nancy approached Chris on the dance floor, I felt the moment unfolding. My eyes swelled with tears as I excused myself from a wonderful conversation with the father of Chris’ new bride. In his beautifully, melodious Irish accent, Michael, my new friend replied, “Go on Mitch, it’s okay.”
I fought back the tears as I tried to capture the moment on film. I could fight no more.
Chris, seeing me in the wings, motioned to join them in their dance. Brittany soon followed, then Sinead.
And we danced, arm in arm, crying tears of joy.
It was a perfect evening…………………..from where I was standing.
Submitted to “Chicken Soup for the Soul”