Welcome back to SOLO AT SIXTY!
OH the Tams! This is the song we chose for our Mother/Son dance at my son’s wedding last month. So appropriate, as this momma was so happy! Weekend could not have been better – perfect venue (Kiawah Island), perfect weather (sunny and upper 70’s), and the perfect couple. All that was missing were some close family members and treasured friends. But I can guarantee that the family and friends who were there enjoyed an amazing wedding weekend like no other!
Covid prevented my “tribe” from attending the wedding, but only in person. They were all there in spirit (and watching via zoom!). And truly, as my son’s mother-in-law said, my prayer partners were successful – they had prayed for decent weather and good health for all those in attendance. Both prayers were answered – absolutely perfect weather and not a single case of COVID! Two of my dear girlfriends sent me off to the wedding with many special treasures: Willow Tree statue of Mother and Son, Mother of the Groom handkerchief and a carry-all bag, special tissues to “dry my happy tears”, wine (do they know me or what!), an ornament representing the three of us, and a very special heart bracelet which was the only jewelry I wore on my wrist for the wedding. I felt the love y’all!
“My friends and family are my support system… Without them I have no idea where I would be.” – Kelly Clarkson
Fair warning – I am going to recount the weekend… be prepared! Plus an overload of pictures!
For safety’s sake, I quarantined at the beach before heading to the wedding. Plus Kiawah is only 2+ hours from my beach house so just a quick trip for the wedding. My older daughter and son-in-law also came down for a couple of pre-wedding days. We then met my younger daughter and my son in Kiawah on Thursday for lunch. The weather was so beautiful we were able to sit outside and enjoy the amazing views. We wanted a special remembrance from the weekend, so after lunch we headed to a cute candle-making shop to make some candles! We had a reservation, and were the only ones in the shop, so it truly was a family affair. There were 100+ scents to choose from and we had to pick 2, as well as our containers. None of us chose the same scents and all were appropriate for our personalities. Of course I chose Sea Foam and Charleston Harbor to get a fresh, beachy scent. While our candles were “setting” we met my sister and brother-in-law at a cute wine bar. Sat outside with a glass (or 2) of wine and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon.
After my kids and I settled into our house Thursday afternoon, we picked up my sister and brother-in-law (who were staying nearby) and headed to my new daughter-in-law’s parents’ house for dinner. We were first treated to Sunset Cocktails on the beach and truly, it was the most gorgeous sunset I have ever seen. Ever. My son has talked about these sunsets and we were so lucky to have such a beautiful evening to be able to witness one. We enjoyed the sunset, mingled our families, and watched all of my daughter-in-law’s nieces and nephews (all part of the bridal party!) enjoy playing on the beach. Wonderful dinner, wonderful evening, wonderful families. And once we got back to our house, my son and I practiced our Mother/Son dance which we had planned and practiced during our family summer vacation. I wanted a really upbeat song and since we taught our kids how to shag (dance!) when they were little, it was only appropriate our dance should be shagging to a beach music song. And what better one than “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy”!
“The most cherished moments happen when friends and family get together.”
We woke Friday to another beautiful day and went for a long walk around Kiawah in the morning before the Bridesmaids’ Luncheon at Cassique. Our views at Cassique were amazing, as was our lunch. And so much fun visiting with the women of my daughter-in-law’s family. The men were on the golf course during this time. My sweet brother-in-law, who had not played golf in many, many years, cleaned up his clubs, bought a couple new ones, took a few lessons, and played several rounds with friends so he would not embarrass himself (or us!) playing with the men. He succeeded and since he is now retired, has kept up his golf game!
My sister, daughters, and I left the luncheon, picked up the flowers for the rehearsal dinner and headed to Osprey Point to decorate. Another beautiful venue in Kiawah. We placed all of our flowers and votive candles on the tables, the “One Day Away” napkins, plus the slide show of the couple from birth to present that would run through the rehearsal dinner and the Meet And Greet afterwards. We had just enough time to run home, change clothes, and make it to the Catholic Church for the rehearsal.
Once we all practiced walking down the aisle (extent of my role!), bowing at the altar, speaking parts, prayers, blessings, etc., we found our way back to Osprey Point for a cocktail hour and the rehearsal dinner. I proudly gave my Mother of the Groom speech, officially welcoming my new daughter-in-law to our family. I included 3 pieces of advice: always remember why they fell in love, always cherish one another, and perform at least one act of kindness for each other every day. We then toasted the happy couple and my daughters had their turn to share some funny stories about their little brother and to say how happy they are to gain a sister. They shared that they were not thrilled with their brother’s choice when they first heard his date was due to a bet he lost because Villanova had beaten our beloved Tar Heels in the final seconds of the NCAA Basketball Championship… you see, the newest member of our family is a Villanova grad. However, the following year, the world righted itself when our beloved Tar Heels won the Championship! All kidding aside, once we all met Jenny, we immediately knew she was the one for our Michael.
“Men are what their Mothers made them.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
After our dinner, the event planners transformed the area for the Meet and Greet – a gathering for all of the wedding guests on the island. So fun to see my son’s friends! A great time was had by all, so much so that we had to tell everyone it was time to go at 11 pm!
When the kids and I got back to our house, we stayed up VERY late talking and laughing! Oh, and practicing one last time for the Mother/Son dance! And we woke up Saturday to the loveliest day for a wedding! My son and I dropped his car off at the Sanctuary Resort where they would spend their wedding night. My son-in-law then dropped my daughters and me at my daughter-in-law’s house where we would get ready, and he and my son headed to The River Course, which has the most unbelievable men’s locker room, where the men were gathering to celebrate pre-wedding. I had so much fun being with all the girls and the flower girls having my hair and makeup done by professionals. And being able to see my beautiful daughter-in-law in her stunning wedding dress meant so much to me. It was such a special morning, and just a preview to a special and beautiful day.
“Where there is love there is life.” Mahatma Gandhi
We arrived at the church and my very handsome son walked me down the aisle to my front row seat where my sister and brother-in-law were waiting for me. I told him I had an extra tissue (thanks to my girlfriends) if he needed one, but he said he thought he would be ok. Me too! I was so happy that tears would not be a problem. The bridal procession came down the aisle, such beautiful girls (2 of them mine!) and handsome men. The couple decided to have all family – 4 sisters, 3 brothers-in-law,1 brother, plus each of them had their best friend. A perfect bridal party that they will forever be close to. Oh and the precious nieces and nephew who were not only adorable but so well behaved. They made their parents proud. Speaking of proud, I could not have been happier or more proud of the man my son had become. And when he saw his beautiful bride come down the aisle, he had tears in his eyes, and such love that my heart was full. So many guests commented on the love and happiness that these two so obviously share. The Deacon who married them said that their goal in life as a couple is to get each other to heaven. What a beautiful goal. Once he pronounced them Mr. and Mrs. Madigan, and they shared that big wedding kiss, they celebrated all the way down the aisle. My son-in-law escorted my daughter out and then returned to escort me. What a beautiful and meaningful wedding ceremony.
“Marriage is the golden ring in a chain whose beginning is a glance and whose ending is eternity.”
But now it was PARTY TIME! Well, Party #1. Since it was a Catholic wedding, it was held at 2 pm, but the reception would not begin until 5, so there was a Garden Party at yet another beautiful Kiawah venue – Kiawah River. (See the pattern here? Honestly, all the venues on Kiawah are gorgeous!) The sun was shining and a gentle breeze was blowing. The trees were huge and loaded with spanish moss and wooden swings. Tables were spaced around, waiters served hors d’oeuvres, wine flowed, cornhole was played, people were swinging (including me!), and a wonderful band entertained us. And the weather was absolutely perfect, as were the views. Perfect time to visit and enjoy each other. And then it was time to head to Party #2…
“Once in a while in the middle of an ordinary life love gives us a fairy tale…”
Party #2 was at, yes, another beautiful Kiawah venue – The River Course. Cocktails were served on a beautiful porch overlooking the golf course. The band and dance floor were set up outside under lights strung overhead. Before dinner the bride’s father gave a wonderful and heartfelt speech which led to the Bride and Groom’s first dance, then the Bride and her Father’s dance, and lastly, the Groom and his Proud Momma’s dance to “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy”. And dance we did!
“Your son will hold your hand only for a little while, but he will hold your heart for a lifetime.”
Dinner was served inside at tables with the most beautiful settings and floral arrangements. As I said, due to COVID, the dance floor and band were shuffled outside under lights which was much more fun. Dancing in the moonlight! And dance we did to the Atlanta Showstoppers who were amazing. My younger daughter and I went out on the dance floor for the first song and did not leave for 3 solid hours. Song after song after song – all great dancing songs. No slow songs. Just upbeat, fun songs that kept people on the dance floor all night. Needless to say, my feet were killing me Sunday morning!
“Our family is a circle of strength and love. With every birth and every union, the circle will grow, every joy shared adds more love, every crisis faced together, makes the circle stronger.”
And yes, Sunday we woke up to another beautiful morning. A going away brunch was held at the Ocean Course, which was on the beach and gorgeous. Luckily, I was now in tennis shoes, not heels, which made my tired old dogs happy! We enjoyed a wonderful brunch and got to visit with the newlyweds before saying goodbye. It was the most amazing weekend and I was on a happy high (still am!). My younger daughter and I said goodbye to Kiawah and headed to my beach house to quarantine and catch up on some much needed sleep. Oh and have seafood and enjoy the beach.
“Heaven does seem a little closer when you’re sitting by the ocean.”
Then it was back to the real world and month end at work. But my heart was (still is) full. A mother can not ask for more for her son than for him to find the girl of his dreams and marry her. And for that girl to be beautiful inside as well as outside, and fit in with our family so easily. As the Deacon who married them said in his homily, their purpose in life is to get each other to heaven. They will succeed.
“Two amazing women can love the same incredible man in completely different ways. One is his wife, the other is his mother.”
On a separate note, I want to commend my daughter-in-law’s family and the wedding planner who thought of everything, down to a change of shirt for my son at the reception! We had such a fun, wonderful, weekend joining our two families. Thank you to the good Lord for blessing us with perfect weather and good health for all. It has now been almost a month, and we are all still smiling and talking about how wonderful and beautiful this wedding was.
“Sometimes I just look up, smile and say, ‘I know that was you, God! Thanks!’”
On my way to the beach before the wedding, I stopped in to see my sweet momma in person for the first time since February. We were limited to 2 visitors, so my older sister went too (younger sister was working). It felt so good to be close to her, yet so sad not to be able to hug her. Not sure who was happier to see who! We were masked and kept our distance, but I did share pictures of her on my phone I had uploaded from my picture sorting (remember last blog?). When we took a picture together before leaving, her sweet caretaker told her she had to put her mask up over her nose, not down around her chin. To which she responded, “what mask?” ”Well Momma, the one that has been keeping your chin warm!” Made us sad that Mom would not be going to my son’s wedding, but for many reasons, that possibility was out of the question. Besides, in her mind he is still in elementary school! I’ll share pictures with her on my next visit to see her. I also left her with some more good news…. But that will have to wait until next blog!
I know these times are very trying and many will not be able to share the holidays with family this year. As I have learned, “there is always, always, always something to be thankful for”. I hope you are able to find something to be thankful for as we celebrate Thanksgiving next week. Make the most of each and every day, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.
“Well, it’s the same old story all over the world…
Girl meets boy, and boy meets girl…
So be young, be foolish, but be happy…
Live your life for today, for today…
Life is too short to worry about unimportant things…
Reach for the sky, touch your star, and then you find your dream, find your dream…
So be young, be foolish, but be happy…” – THE TAMS!
PS – Guess what y’all! This Friday, November 20th, is my birthday! Yep, I’ll be 63. Not sure how I am 63, but I am celebrating it all week! Also, some other special people were born on November 20th… Ethel Butcher (special lady I have known all my life!), Dierks Bentley (country music singer who was on Jimmy Fallon last night!), and our President Elect, Joe Biden! Happy Birthday all!