“While the remnants of cake
and half-empty champagne glasses
lay on the lawn like sunbathers lingering
in the slanting light, we left the house guests
and drove to Antonelli’s pond.
On a log by the bank I sat in my flowered dress and cried.
A lone fisherman drifted by, casting his ribbon of light.
“Do you feel like you’ve given her away?” you asked.
But no, it was that she made it
to here, that she didn't
drown in a well or die
of pneumonia or take the pills.
She wasn’t crushed
under the mammoth wheels of a semi, , , “
~Excerpt from “After Our Daughter’s Wedding,” by Ellen Bass
Sometimes, a morning walk is simply from the house to the yard and back fifty or so times cleaning up from a wedding. Which is what my husband and I did, early, in the bright sunlight. It wasn’t a day for lingering and chatting and digesting this sprint of spontaneity. It was a day of him having to leave town on business, and me and my son helping the youngest move into her new apartment. So, clean up, set up, move. Within an hour, he and I had the clean up done. Charlie and Suzi watched us all in grave anxiety as we moved boxes and furniture out of the house. Disruption. Change. Fear of being left or left behind. I stood in her room alone for a few minutes. Closed the door. Just for a few brief minutes to feel gratitude. I got to do this wonderful job, mothering these girls, this son. One of the pieces of furniture I help carry up the steps to the new apartment on Mass. Ave is a small wooden table that opens on the top: my mother’s knitting table where she kept all her yarn by her favorite chair in the family room of 44 Brush Hill. When she died, I gave it to my girls and it has ended up here, a treasure, kept by a grand daughter. Not the one who knits, but the one who likes to keep keepsakes. I know my mother would appreciate this honor. By the time my son and I returned home from the climbing and carrying and arranging, I flopped on the couch for an hour and slept before waking to help with an IWWG online workshop a colleague was hosting. Just before, in my bare feet, I walked across the yard to the river, once again, to say thank you. The roses, blooming bright red. And, on the river, the heron gliding in for a landing on the opposite bank. The light is changing. I have no poem for tomorrow night. The bride and groom stop in for a visit, for leftovers. The bride has unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher. They will leave for a honeymoon in a few days. Now he is my son-in-law. I step into this brand new role. I am a mother-in-law. Oh, my. I wonder what this new role will be like.