Family

Autumn 2011 #10

I am the most fortunate of men!
Once more I stood at the altar as my daughter, transfigured in white, elegant, dazzling, walked down the aisle. 

A wedding!  Nothing in life speaks so profoundly.  Nothing embodies so completely the mysteries of promise, hope, destiny and choice.  I love weddings!  I love performing a wedding ceremony, as I have done from time to time; but nothing comes close to the extraordinary privilege of celebrating the marriage of your own child.  Four of our six children are now married, and I have taken part in each of their weddings.  It is, without shred of a doubt, one of my life’s highest points; an indescribable honour.  The first intimacy of parenting is innate.  It’s nappies and homework and hard work.  Then there is the intimacy of the shared journey through years of joys and tears.  And later comes this joyful intimacy of invitation, of being welcomed into our children’s adult worlds. 

Paradise feels empty now; a quiet Sunday evening with just my Favourite Wife and Little One at home.  It’s hard to believe that just hours ago the walls were bulging with our children, their spouses, our grandchildren, and even some bridesmaids jostling for a bed in which to sleep or a mirror in which to preen.  So much noise, so much fun. 

Family. The wondrously imperfect agglomeration of souls. I gaze on the most familiar faces in the world, I listen to intonation and turn of phrase that are so well known that I feel I could write the script; and still I wonder: how did we end up together? Related we are, and yet so stunningly, delightfully different!  For me and mine this is especially true, as we are a family of adoption and blending, or, as we like to say, a family by choice.

The wedding day was not, it must be said, without a hitch.  There were glitches aplenty truth be told!  But it was magnificent, and each challenge, each drama, was embraced with calm good-humour. Laughter won the day. We did it!  My daughter, my son-in-law, my wife, my whole family … we did it!  And I am one proud Dad!

Tonight I feel lonesome, as the sun’s last beam rapidly crests our hills.  But there are more good days for us, as there have always been.  What is a family?  It is certainly more than any one of us, much more even than the sum of us all.  A family is history, embrace, destiny and hope. A family is love, and love is choice, and I feel chosen.

Rejoice!

8 Responses to “Family”


  1. 1 sharon May 9, 2011 at 4:51 am

    Dear Roderick,
    you wrote so elegantly I feel as if i was there…I am joyous that you have such wonderful family, which you have had a great part in creating. I found myself a bit lonely too, because I have not had this kind of family. But feeling lonely may be but an illusion, as love makes us one with every living thing. But we don’t always feel that do we? Perhaps this always and forever is what heaven is like, and all the golden moments of life, just a taste of what is to come.
    Thank you fir sharing this intimate moment!
    sharon

  2. 2 ceo@esdgp.org.au May 9, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Dear Brother Rod

    What wonderful news. Congratulations on another marriage/wedding. Kathryn went to a friends wedding on Saturday and consequently our discussions have hovered around the same topic..

    Unfortunately she does not share my views on marriage and she does not attend church any more but she does appear to be smitten with the latest boyfriend. She questions if she will ever get married but I sense that view may waiver in due course.

    Excellent to see you are still in good writing form.
    God Bless you all
    Kevin

  3. 3 anne iuliano May 10, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Congratulations on your latest family wedding! How wonderful for you. We have our first child getting married in November and I can’t wait.

    May the Lord help you adjust to yet another child leaving ‘the nest’ and creating their own.

    love Anne

  4. 4 Ann May 11, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Roderick, such a lovely post on what must have been a wondrous time together. I “see” you as an ideal father, full of fun and wisdom. I pray you are blessed wonderfully by this union and your new son.

  5. 5 roderickmallen May 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks Sharon, I’ll reply to your kind thoughts by email…

  6. 6 roderickmallen May 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Well, congratulations Anne on your upcoming celebrations. We count ourselves very blessed with our children and their partners. Our nest is very nearly empty now!

  7. 7 roderickmallen May 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Ann, you are always generous!

  8. 8 roderickmallen May 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks Kevin,
    We certainly do feel privaleged to have another great son-in-law! I’ll send you an email…


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