Christmas will come tomorrow. This Advent we have been watching and waiting for a wedding. My younger daughter Sharon is to marry Anthony Damelio at 4 o’clock tomorrow.
Sharon always wanted a “Christmas wedding.” She loved the season, and she adored the church, festooned each year with pungent evergreen garlands and red poinsettias. To her childhood mind it was the perfect setting for a wedding (and besides, you don’t spend a dime on flowers).
It has been more than a year of waiting. The engagement came at Thanksgiving last year. But now family are flying in, and the rehearsal at the chapel will come at 4:30 this afternoon and the dinner will follow. It’s here.
Sitting alone in my study this morning, I am thinking of another man sitting in his study. Mr. Bennet. My younger daughter is a devotee of Jane Austen. She read the books and watched the movies, especially Emma, which she watched over and over and over.
I have in mind a scene at the close of Pride and Prejudice. Finally, the two prideful and prejudicial figures in the story, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, are getting together (as we have been urging them from beginning!).
We see Mr. Darcy coming out of Mr. Bennet’s study. He has made the formal request to have Mr. Bennet’s daughter’s hand in marriage. Now it is Elizabeth’s turn to go in.
The young woman stands before her father in his oak-paneled study, the Victorian patriarch looking dour in his frock coat, long white hair and mutton-chop sideburns. Mr. Bennet says something like, “But you despised him.” And Elizabeth says, “No, Papa, I was all wrong about him.” Mr. Bennet says, “You do love him?” And she replies, “Yes, very much.”
Then Mr. Bennet delivers the line I so remember this morning. “Well I cannot believe anyone could ever deserve you. But apparently I have been overruled. So I heartily give my consent.”
This is every father-of-the-bride. Happy for his daughter, but not sure anyone deserves her. And then the joy of being overruled! There were plenty of suitors who did not deserve Sharon. To be fair, most of them were “boyfriends” who may not have had marriage on their minds (though as a father of course I knew they had other things just as well). Pam and I did our best to steer her away from what we considered poor matches. Sometimes we meddled. In our better moments we watched and prayed, knowing that, as Ed Friedman put it so well, “every over-determined effort produces the opposite result.”
Tomorrow I will be happily overruled. Anthony is the finest young man I could ever hope for Sharon. I heartily give my consent. I held out, Sharon, until you found the one who deserved you. As the ecstatic Elizabeth leaves his office, Mr. Bennet says, “I could not have parted with you, my Lizzie, to anyone less worthy.” My sentiments exactly.
Mark Glidden says
Wonderful! We are so excited for each of you, but especially for Sharon & Anthony! As we gather tonight for the TYG Sponsor Christmas Festivities we will raise a glass to toast their happiness and to also celebrate the fact that we were fortunate enough to have shared a moment of that time with you all.
Thanks, Mark–that means a lot.
John Capellaro says
Congratulations to you and Pam…. And to Sharon and Anthony of course. Thank you for reminding us that in the midst of hectic activity how beneficial it is to stop and think. I’m standing in baggage claim right now at LAX waiting to pick up Lucian as he returns from a ten city tour of Asia, Europe and South America for his employer Paramount Studios. I know this is a defining moment for him – and for “career,” but I hope it’s allowed him to see the unexpected…. I look forward to learning new things from him –
Enjoy all you and your family will see and learn this weekend!
Love to you from our house.
David, What a beautiful post. I always tear up when I hear that line from Mr. Bennet “I could not have parted with you…” and believe me, I have watched and read the story many, many times. Wishing your whole family a wonderful day tomorrow. Congratulations, blessings and much happiness to Sharon and Anthony!
Lovely thoughts about your daughter David. Congratulations to all!
Yes, David, lovely words for a lovely girl! Kay and I will miss you all but we’ll raise a glass, too, in thanksgiving. May the wededing and partying be good.
Susie Middleton says
Oh, this nearly made me cry — so sweet. I’m so happy for Sharon, too, as I am a big fan of hers! Happy early Christmas!
clark s johnson says
David and Pam, Such a blessing for you and Sharon!! I can remeber this feeling 23 years ago now, when I gave my daughter Sandra away ( sort of ) and can report she and Greg have been very happily married and now have three lovely children one of which will enter college next fall! Time marches in quick time some times! Bessings to each of you now and always clark
Thanks, all, for your comments and the little vignettes from your own lives. Much love–
Ginny Lovas says
So happy for all of you! What a gift you have been given! Ginny
Karen Hughan says
This is so beautiful, David. Tony and Sharon are deserving of each other, and they are both so fortunate to have the blessing and support of you and Pam, and of Tony’s family. You are all deserving – of love and gratitude and God’s blessings. Merry Christmas.
Peter and Sharon Dressler says
Congratulations to you David and Pam from my Sharon and I to your Sharon and her new husband. As the father of two girls I appreciated this article very much.
God Bless you all,
Peter and Sharon