By DAVID WHITLOCK
It was an epic moment, at least for me and my family. My son and his bride stood at the altar, his eyes locked on hers, hers on his. I could see love notes bouncing from his smile to hers and hers to his. The arch with lattice shaded them from the sun as they gazed at each other. In the distant background, the Tennessee River lazily rolled southwest, a placid backdrop for the occasion.
It was a grand event for us, especially for Dave, (now he goes by David) and Kayla, his beautiful bride.
As wonderful as that moment was, as much as I will smile as I close my eyes and draw on it for years to come, it’s the other moments in that weekend — the ones in a supportive cast, the ones no photographer was there to capture, the ones no one but two people will remember — that I will hug and cherish just as dearly as I will the “big moment.”
“Dad, I want you to come with me.” David wanted me, dear ol’ Dad, to tag along with him the day before the wedding as we picked up our tuxes, checked out the wedding venue, and examined the house where he and his groomsmen would stay. We talked about nothing in particular; I didn’t need to offer him marriage advice, at that point. After all, I had been giving him direction all his life: the success principles for life spillover quite naturally into marriage.
We drove, it seemed, over half of Knoxville. And we talked.
A week later to the moment I texted David. (Lori reminds me that I’m a “This time a week ago,” guy. “I’m nostalgic,” is my excuse. She just smiles. I keep peeking her way, anticipating the moment when if she rolls her eyes at me. So far, so good.)
My text read, “This time a week ago, you and I were doing errands in Knoxville. I enjoyed that time with you, love Dad.”
A few minutes later, David, on his honeymoon, texted back, “Love you Dad. I enjoyed it as well, a good memory.”
The next morning, I was at it again, no, not harassing my son with texts on his honeymoon, but this time one to my oldest daughter, Mary, whom I don’t see often enough, since she lives in “The City,” as she calls it. I know it as New York City, that place that’s far, far away from me.
I smelled the freshly brewed coffee early, the morning after the wedding. Mary was up, getting ready, so she could catch her morning flight back to “The City.” Making my way downstairs in the home we had rented for several family members, I saw Mary pouring her first cup of java, and so I joined her.
“Umm,” I sounded, nodding my head, indicating my approval of the brew. “Good, strong, stout coffee.”
“I learned from the best: you,” she said.
And we talked about her flight schedule, how perfectly the wedding had gone, the way I make people laugh when I dance (we giggled as we talked about that one.)
And then, I kissed Mary on the cheek, and waved bye as the Uber took her to the airport.
It was a simple moment, that morning time together, a point in time that I will treasure forever.
A week later, I was texting Mary my “This time last week,” message. “This time last week we were having coffee together.”
“Ahh,” she texted back, “having my coffee now, good memory, love you.” Simple moments with the people we adore take root in our hearts, spreading vines of love, binding us all the stronger to one another. Rarely are these moments planned and never rehearsed. They simply happen, and that’s what makes them such special moments. They remind us that as complex as our lives can become, it is these simple moments that bring us back to the reality that life is, in its essence, quite simple, after all.