Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Little Wedding Music

First, let me say, I am not Catholic. I was brought up in a Unitarian Church, and am a heartily humanistic agnostic woman. I have, of course, been to all kinds of weddings, Jewish, Quaker, Catholic, Protestant, and all have been beautiful. I always kind of sit through the bits that seem to be more about promoting religion than celebrating the couple with (mostly) gracious patience. But I do not say prayers, I do not bow my head, and I don't join in on call and response. Since I don't subscribe to any religion, I'm not going to lie through my actions. I am there for my friends and family. As I am. No more, no less.

Well, actually, this time, it was more. The Impling came along. We sat together in the pews across the aisle from the organist, and she watched his feet and fingers fly over the consoles and stared over the back of the pew at the towering pipes in the balcony. She whispered to me:

“The music is coming fwom the pipes!”

She stared as the bride walked down the aisle, and twisted in my father's arms to watch as she passed by. A few moments passed, a woman soprano who was channeling Enya sang a solo, and the bible readings began. The Impling looked around with rapidly evaporating interest, knelt on the pew beside me, and whispered in my ear “wanna go outside!”

My cute little heathen.

Luckily, I'd prepared for this by sitting in a spot with a quick escape route. And truth be told, I wanted to go outside too. So we made our quiet escape and the Impling ran around the parking lot in the late afternoon sun. We went back in for a bit, then back outside again, in and out, and in the meantime gazed at the stained glass windows, the bell tower, the statues, dipped fingers in the baptismal fonts, used the yellow parking lines as a balance beam. All in all, I'd say we did all right. We made it through the wedding without mishap.

The really great moments came later, at the reception. The Impling, I discovered, does NOT like loud noises. This includes clapping, cheering, and above all, the microphone. So when the priest's voice bellowed over the sound system:

“and now, we will bless the meal!” in the dead silence that followed, an ear splitting:


the Impling's distressed cry echoed through the ballroom.

The prayer began, despite my daughter's single handed attempt at a humanistic version of exorcism, and I buried my shaking laughter in the Impling's neck as she glommed on to me and cried out:

“NO! No more clapping!” The eyes of the surrounding tables on me. I felt a fierce, primal protectiveness. Suffer. A little rejection is good for the ego. Brings you down to earth.

How much do I love my daughter? I thought there was no way I could love her more than I did that moment. Over the next moments, the Impling learned how to hold her hands over her ears if she needed to.

Interestingly enough, once we made it through dinner and my aunt's unstoppable criticism of the food (she sent back her steak saying it was inedible, then poked at her chicken, which was to dry, and polished off her flaming cherries jubilee, which was too sweet), and the music started, suddenly, the noise didn't matter so much.

The Impling rocked out. Her inner Goddess, as it turns out, has no problem with “Mustang Sally”.


Fairly Odd Mother said...

Those photos are incredibly cute. I can even hear the music as I imagine her rocking out on the dance floor.

We are Unitarians now (I was raised Catholic) but we've been to a few Christenings (Baptisms? what is the difference???). My oldest is FASCINATED with the whole ceremony of it all. She was practically IN the baptismal bowl of water, she hung on every word of the priest. I'm sure she'll be born-again and then will chase me around the house telling me I'm going to hell.

Pinks & Blues Girls said...

Thomas Carlyle got it so right when he said, "Music is well said to be the speech of angels; in fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine. It brings us near to the Infinite."
Even Mustang Sally.
No. ESPECIALLY Mustang Sally!

Sharon - Pinks & Blues Girls

cape buffalo said...

Hi there, another Unitarian checking in. It's odd, that few UU's I know will openly declare their religious affiliation but once someone does, you tend to hear a surprising number of people saying "me too!"

Mustang Sally can be a religious experience if the singer really belts it out.

Incidentally, when we go to weddings/ funerals in different churches, we tell her what the person of faits believes in happening, for example, at a Catholic funeral, we've told her that the departed is with the angels in heaven, at a JW funeral, we told her that the baby was sleeping until its parents and God come to wake him up some day.

sandy shoes said...


My inner Unitarian is struggling to be free. I'll get there.

something else said...

A "heartily humanistic agnostic woman" - no wonder I need to hug you every time I see you! I'll endeavor to have a play list that includes Mustang Sally.

Rock the Cradle said...

FOM: Let's face it...a baptismal font is really just a really fancy water table. And what toddler wouldn't have a blast splashing all that water all over creation?

Sharon: bad woman you!

CB: I love your's something I've thought of doing myself when the Impling gets a little older. Glad to meet so many other Unitarians!

SS: If you have questions, have a respectful tolerance for beliefs different from your own, and love coffee hours, you're there!

SE: You're so on. Got your hug right here, grrrl.

Tricia said...

Unitatians in the house. Me too!

ånd oy! THose aunties!