Last night, I got an intriguing text from the oldest daughter that simply said: "Please stay up, we're going to drop by soon."
By "we" I knew she meant herself and her boyfriend. And I knew, instinctively, that they had news important enough that they wanted to share it with us and did not want to wait. My husband goes to bed very early, so it was just my youngest and I waiting on the couch and my middle child doing homework in his room. When my daughter came in, she was obviously disappointed that her father hadn't stayed up, so I dispatched child #3 upstairs to rouse him.
I knew when I got the text what the news was going to be, but in all honesty, I wasn't sure under what circumstances the happy event was going to take place. My husband took his place among us and my daughter, with her somewhat-fidgety but nearly giddy boyfriend holding her, told us they were getting married. And no, they were not going to make us grandparents!
My oldest has been a bit of a free-spirit for awhile now. She goes camping in the mud, loves outdoor folk-festivals and a few years back, traveled throughout Peru alone for three weeks when her travel companion decided to return home shortly after they arrived. She and her fiancee informed us they were going away in March, alone, to get married but would later have a party for close family and friends sometime in the Spring.
Her husband-to-be is very smart and very sweet. She went out with him for nearly a year before bringing him home because she wanted to be sure before she introduced him to the family. So what's my obstacle?
He's not Christian and what I might call lukewarm Jewish, and my daughter has not practiced her Catholic faith with any regularity. They've decided to get married in a civil ceremony. The fact that they're doing it privately, with no friends or family, makes it somewhat easier for me. I won't have to witness or participate in a ritual contrary to my faith. It's not how I wanted it to be for her, but it's their life and their relationship and there is not much I can do about it but pray for them. I spoke my piece, telling them both that I would prefer they got married in church, and that I wanted them to bear in mind that if they were insistent on doing it their way now, they could always do something later to sanctify their marriage. They listened respectfully and said they would think about it.
The wedding will take place in March, when the groom-to-be is on Spring break. I asked what the hurry was, and the next bit of a bombshell was dropped.
"We're joining the Peace Corps, and we want to do it as a married couple".
I nearly swallowed my teeth. The Peace Corps is a two-year commitment to places like Ethiopia. She just graduated from college and he finishes graduate school in May. They want to go on a mission before they're tied down to jobs, but I can't imagine having a child so far away that I'll likely not see until the commitment ends.
When I shared the news with a dear friend who is a devout Catholic, she was hopeful.
"Sounds like a good intention for St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. They're on the list!"
Can I ask you to put them on yours?