Friday, April 29, 2011

Historical Day

No one does it like the British.
Okay, I did not get up at six. But when I did get up at eight, I turned on the television and the balcony was waiting for the kiss and that's what I wanted to see anyway. And the doors opened and they all poured out, all those royal people, the Queen in her canary-yellow outfit, Camilla in pale whatever color that was, the men in tails and prince uniforms, the little girls in flower garlands and poofy skirts and then, that bride. That groom.
"Oh wow," it looked as if Kate said when she saw the throngs and throngs of people standing below, cheering for them and and who wouldn't say that?
Oh wow.
Well, I would have said, "Holy fucking shit!" but this is why I'll never be a princess.

And they waved and the crowd chanted, "Kiss, kiss, kiss!" and finally, they did and the crowd chanted, "Kiss again, kiss again!" WHICH THEY DID and that was such a huge break in protocol
that William might as well have thrown Kate's gown up over her head and gotten to work at creating some royal progeny right there and then and the RAF flew over and it was such a moment and I cried a little.

Oh. Here we are, we humans. Still recreating the powerful ceremonies that ensure and celebrate the continuation of the tribe.

It's lovely.
I'm so happy for the British today. They're so happy with this gorgeous king-to-be and his dark-haired beauty of a bride and the potential for beautiful babies and peace on the land and I don't care how cynical you are about the monarchy and such ceremonial folderol, you can't look at that country today and not feel like for this moment, at least, there is something perfect to celebrate in this crazy, insane world we live in.

And tonight, my baby, my darling Jessie who turns 22 in two days will stand up and get her pin, a small piece of jewelry that represents four years of hard, hard work and dedication and studying and frustrations overcome and tears and good times and hands-on learning and she will be smiling with a light as bright as that bride, Kate, I swear she will.
All of us will be there. Hank and May and Lily and Jason and Owen and her daddy and me and her grandmother and at least one of her uncles, maybe two, and friends and my god, I can't believe this day has come already.
It won't be the pageant they're staging right now in London but it will have as much meaning for us as the royal wedding's does for the British.

And I will be so proud. We all will be.

I remember my own pinning ceremony, vaguely. Twenty-six years ago? I think? I was pregnant with Lily and I remember they gave us special little green (or was it white?) Bibles that the Gideons (have you ever MET a Gideon?) donated and we all giggled because, come on, but it was part of the ceremony.
I think I remember relief. That part, at least, was done. That ceremony over and now I could get on with the rest of my life, a new marriage, a new baby coming, state boards to sit for, me a "real" nurse, one thing checked off the list. Get that degree. Yes. Done.

I think that Jessie's pinning is going to be more joyful. Jessie is just a joyful person. That's all there is to it. And it's impossible for me not to compare her pinning tonight to the one I had. Because here's the truth- what I mostly remember is that my family was there. My mother and her then-husband, my stepfather, and the poison of what he had done to me was like a raging infection in me. I had not yet told my mother about it, I had not gotten counseling, I had not begun to deal with the pain or the shame or the anger or the fear. I had told my new husband and I could feel his presence so strongly whenever my stepfather was in the room, my new husband's, protecting me and shielding me but there was no shielding from what was inside of me. So much hurt that my accomplishment- my own four years of nursing school, done mostly as a single mother of two while I was recovering from a divorce, my good grades, my hard work, my new love and marriage, the very life I had created with that new love growing inside of me- all overridden by that horrible, horrible crap. The knowledge that that man was in the room.

I didn't mean to go there when I started writing this. And I am not writing it because I want sympathy or anything like that at all. I suppose I am mostly pointing out that sexual abuse goes on, long after the physical acts have ceased, to taint and to create darkness where there should be only light.
I should have been so happy that night.

But you know what? I will be so happy tonight.
Because my dreams, my REAL dreams, have come true. I now have a family in which there are no horrible, dark secrets tainting the air, crushing the spirits of my children. We have a family that can come together to celebrate each other and our successes and that we hold hands tightly to catch each other when someone feels they may be falling.

I just talked to Jessie and she asked if she should dance across the stage when goes up to get her pin.
"Yes!" I said. "I think you should whip out your mandolin and play and dance as you go!"
And we laughed.

My dancing girl. This dancing light I bask in today. No one is taking any of the joy out of this accomplishment- neither Jessie's nor my own. Or her family's, either, because we have ALL raised this girl. Hank and May changed her diapers and read her books and Lily taught her the lyrics to dirty songs and loved her to death when she wasn't tormenting her as only big sisters can do and she and her daddy have always had a special relationship and she is as apt to help him in the garage as she is me in the kitchen and well, yes.
Just, yes.

As the British cheer the young and beautiful couple who have pledged their troth today, promising the continuation of that particular tribe, we will cheer our Jessie as she promises the beginning of this next phase of her life. Somehow, it's all a celebration of family, whether the British royal one of our own so very, very common, family right here in North Florida.

Not to me.
Not royal, certainly, but the word unbelievable springs to my mind. Unfathomable. That's another one. Unimagined.

How I wish that pregnant woman sitting up there waiting to be pinned in celebration of her accomplishment could have had an inkling of what lay before her that night so long ago.
How I hope that Jessie's heart is filled with the knowledge of what she has accomplished and how proud we are of her, how far we hope her wings take her, how much we cherish and adore her.
As she cherishes and adores each one of us.

Dance, baby. Dance across the stage. Know what you have done. And then let's all dance together. On this night and on many, many, many more.

To all my children and to my husband I say- you have saved my life, you have given me everything I have. And tonight we shall celebrate together like an entire nation, a tribe, a family.

History is being made! At home, as they say, and abroad.

It is a good day. And we celebrate. And we dance.

In the light.

Holy fucking shit! Amen and hallelujah!

We are dancing in the light here at home.


  1. This is lovely, like sweet Jessie is lovely.

    I didn't write you this morning because I know you are very busy, but I thought of you. I always do.



  2. Also, they played a particularly lovely hymn at the Royal Wedding ceremony, and I told the cats, "Owen would say 'NIE.' And Owen would be right."

  3. very happy for you and yours! What a night to celebrate and be bursting with pride!!!!

    Oh your smiles will fill the room...they will indeed!

  4. Have a wonderful day -- your joy is infectious!

  5. I'l see you there! I am bringing Granny and White.

  6. What a wonderful day for your whole family and congratulations to Jesse! Two of the proudest days of my life were when my daughter and then my son graduated from FSU and walked across that stage. Oh and I did get up to watch the wedding and it was beautiful. I just wish Prince William's mother could have been there and it made me a little sad.

  7. Congratulations to Jessie and all of you!

  8. Your dancing girl and your dancing life!

  9. I hope you all dance tonight. So happy for Jessie, and for all of you, because you have each other.

  10. Best wishes for a joyful ceremony tonight and dance the night Away!

  11. This was so beautiful, I wept a little.

    Love to you and what you've made, in all your courage and grace.


  12. So beautiful, Mama. What a night! What a beautiful, beautiful night! I love you so so so very much.

  13. All I can say still is, "What? how did this happen".

    I am proud, and I am so grateful to this beautiful family and my wonderful friends and Vergil, who is right now sleeping in my bed!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you a million moons and stars over.

  14. I'm crying now...

    I am a little late getting to this post, but it's punch will stay and stay.

    Love youz,

  15. I wish that you had not endured the abuse but look at how you have endured to this day. I liked Gledwood's commentary on the wedding too. It was truly the stuff of a comedian. Those hats though.... Who wears those?

  16. Dearest Mary, you will be happy tonight and you deserve to be. Love you xx


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