The matron of honor, the bride’s sister, capped her talk by saying her little daughter loves her aunt and will love her new uncle, but would love nothing more than a cousin. The crowd roared, the bride and groom beamed, and it was as if one could hear a baby’s giggle in the not-too-distant future.
It was delightful. And, like the other three weddings my wife and I were privileged to attend since Labor Day this year, the event marked the rise of a new generation among our friends.
It is challenging for us, Baby Boomers now pushing 60 (or a tad past that milestone), to watch these kids taking the stage. The matron of honor, in her early 30s, was poised and polished and knew exactly what to say and how to say it. The best man, likewise, took control of the crowd as well as any Hollywood performer.
The nerve of them to grow up!
They all could roar out the tunes with the band but the lyrics, to me, were new. These whippersnappers took over the space just in front of the bandstand and, in the group dancing they prefer, they owned the place.
Where were my songs, I wondered? Why do they all know the words, but I don’t? And why were my graying friends and I now off to the side, as these kids filled the floor? Why were we the outsiders when, just yesterday, it was all our party?
Plenty about it was entertaining, of course. The twentysomething and thirtysomething guys and girls strutted their stuff, peacocking for one another just as we all once did. Hair perfect, dresses and tuxes looking just right, dancing with just the right flair to catch one another’s eye.
Some of the sparks they threw off might just catch fire. Maybe a few other weddings will come out of last night’s partying.
Yes, these weddings were not about us oldsters, it was clear. We may pay the bills and we still get to give a few speeches (the dads’ talks were similarly delightful). At my nephew’s nuptials just a few weeks ago, I even got to officiate. Now that was great fun.
But these events really were about our kids – though we can hardly call them that anymore. And, as the matron of honor made clear, they are about the babies they will bring into the world.
That is as it should be. Weddings, I’ve realized this fall, are not really for or about us, the parents. They are about the next generation, the group that is now beginning to shove us — ever so respectfully – off to the side. It’s their time to shine, they are saying.
It’s taken four weddings for me to feel that’s okay. In fact, that is as it should be. We Boomers need to get out of the way. We’re not off the stage yet, but we’re no longer at the center. The show belongs to a new generation.
Of course, after all those galas, I am beginning to learn the lyrics. I am learning to sing along. And the tunes, I’m finding, are not half-bad. I can even still bust a move pretty well.
Bring on the next one.