Mothering

Mountains and DNA

By Julia Connolly

Driving up the crumbling mountain road I’m bombarded by metaphors, snuck up on by similes. As we near the site of the wedding I’m silently singing the words to “Sunrise, Sunset,” that sappy tearjerker from the wedding scene in “Fiddler On the Roof.”

I am the mother of the groom. It’s my oldest son who’s getting married. His bride is a porcelain doll in lace, flowers entwined in her hair, sturdy, lace-up boots on her tiny feet. Her ensemble is telling—she’s sweet as pie and as strong and fastened-down as can be.

My son, in a three-piece suit, holds her tightly as they lead us up a muddy path to a clearing in the trees. I’m the oldest in the party, my slippery shoes magically sliding me up the hill with a steady hand from my husband.

The groom’s face, a twin to my own, is serene and sure. The bride’s nervous giggle goes silent as she looks into his eyes. This wedding day is also the third anniversary of the day they met.

They are both 20-somethings. They have a 2-year-old child; another is expected in a few months. With one college degree between them and a difficult job market they work hard to afford necessities.

As with so many millennials they hold little hope for that long-ago American dream of white picket fence home ownership and long-term employment with a solid company.

Still, they are joyous. Exceedingly, blissfully joyous. Their feet are well planted, with the toes of their shoes pointed in the same direction.

They discuss rather than argue. They have great mutual respect. Like others of their generation, the gender roles are blurred. While she favors girly dresses, he does most of the cooking. She earns more money, he’s the quiet problem solver. They share the parenting duties equally. They are partners.

As they speak their vows I’m overcome with emotion. Surrounded by ancient mountains I feel the DNA passed down from centuries of ancestors flowing through our veins.

As this modern couple takes part in the timeless ritual of exchanging rings everything is alive and moving. Roads are crumbling, paths are slippery, but babies are growing, hearts are beating and the love between them is electric and palpable, echoing off the surrounding hills until it is almost too much to bear.

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