Earlier this month, my youngest son got married to the lovely Carrie in Carol Stream. I have three sons, and they are all now married. As father of the groom, I have, by definition, a certain perspective on the wedding ceremony, which I share with you today.
Father of the groom is easily the best role at a wedding. You stand in the sweet spot of importance but with little stress. You do a toast at the rehearsal dinner. That’s it. But you get to wear a tux that actually fits. This gives you a gravitas completely out of proportion to your real importance. You look like a member of the wedding party, but you really have nothing to do. Sweet. Wearing the tux made me feel like Tom Jones or Frank Sinatra, but I was able to resist slapping women on their rears. After all, I have lived in Oak Park since 1976.
Although I had a wonderful time at Chris and Sarah’s wedding in Cleveland, and Nick and Brooke’s in Indianapolis, Phil and Carrie’s was probably the one at which I had the best time. Maybe it was because my granddaughters, Lily and Ava, were the cutest flower girls ever. Or maybe it was because, with Phil’s marriage, all three boys now seem to be on the road to a more permanent happiness. They have completed their educations, found remunerative employment, and now have someone to love and to be loved by for as long as they shall live.
Or maybe it had something to do with my old frenemy — alcohol. At the first two weddings, I imbibed only the champagne toast. This time I had a beer, two small glasses of wine and three or four Bullitts and cokes. I probably should have stopped at the wine.
However, there was an upside. It turns out I’m an awesome dancer! Marsha usually has to beg me to dance. This time she was ready to beg me to stop. I hope there is video because I’m going to submit it to Dancing With The Stars, or that show’s rumored spinoff Old Drunk Guys Making Fools Of themselves. I became what I had mocked, but strangely I had no regrets even the next morning.
As the night closed in, I took a break from the festivities and stepped out on the porch of the Royal Fox Country Club. Warmed by drink and exertion I barely noticed the chill. Looking out on the quiet, peaceful golf course, it was a time for reflecting and remembering.
I thought about how pleased I was that each brother had chosen the other two to be his co-best men. I thought about three boys who were babies who became toddlers, who started first grade, who played so many sports for so long, who learned to drive, who first dated, who went to college, who graduated, who got jobs, who left jobs, who got promoted and now had found true love and were married to great women. I thought about how Marsha and I had started on this child-rearing journey 38 years ago. Where did all that time go? How could it possibly go by so fast? What did the future hold for my family?
But now I was shivering in the chill of an October night in St. Charles, having helped raise three fine sons to manhood. It was time to return to the celebration.
And the band played on.