Bear Hug

cake from the wedding

The groom walked down the aisle, escorting his mother and father to their seat. We were at the start of the wedding, which was taking place at a tiny little venue in Pasadena. Most of the attendees were just waiting for the actual ceremony to begin, unaware of the gem that was about to be given to them.

The groom arrives at his parents’ seats, turns and embraces his mother with an all encompassing bear hug. His arms went below hers, and showing no concern for the delicacy of her dress, he plants his legs wide apart and lifts her off the ground. She is caught completely off guard, and after the initial moment of losing control of her balance and of the situation, she laughs, realizing what her son was up to. She was not frazzled at all.

The groom puts down his mother and then turns to his father. He plants his feet further apart than before. His arms go beneath his fathers and embraces him just as he did his mother. Now, as all of this is going on, I’m thinking that there is no way he is going to try to lift his father too. He is just making us think that he’s going to do it, but I was wrong. His father must have thought the same thing, because he was caught completely off guard when his son picked him up off the ground. We loved it. The attendees got such a kick out of that moment that we all let out laughter and couldn’t stop smiling.

But the show was not over.

Next, one by one, the 4 groomsmen came walking down the aisle. For each one of them, the groom had a unique and elaborate handshake. High five fake out, around the back slap. Fist bump, backhand, forehand, ect… It was so much fun to watch.

Now, if you are starting to get the picture that this groom was a showman who only cared about laughter, you’re wrong. This guy was here to get married to the love of his life and he had a deep appreciation for those who were close to him. This was a sacred and meaningful moment for him. No better moment exhibits this than his vows.

He was marrying his bride who had a young 5 year old son. During his vows, I could see him physically shaking. Some outside spectators could just say that was because of nerves, but I’d like to think there was something else going on. I’d like to think that what he felt in that moment, the immensity of his love, could not be contained. I’d like to think the pressure and buildup of all those feelings inside of him could not be released fast enough with the words that he was speaking, so they were left rattling around within, causing him to shake.

And then he had her son come up and he spoke vows to him. There was the same passion, the same depth, that he had just spoken to his bride. I clearly remember him telling this boy that he will never feel alone or left out. There was something about that phrase. It stuck with me. There was a weight to it, which was different than his other words.

I asked him about it. It was a few days after the wedding and we got together to finish up some paperwork. He acknowledged that those words did come from somewhere deep inside of him. I sensed there was something about those words because he had experienced those things as a kid. He was often alone and left out. And all the pain that he went through is now fuel to make sure another little kid never has to experience that.