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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Jun 10, 2011

There are events in life that once they occur, reshape our identity. This happened to my mother-in-law last winter when my father-in-law passed away during the night and “widowed” became part of her identity.

My sister watched her only child climb into a government van and leave home for the Marine Corps over the weekend after just graduating from high school less than two weeks earlier.

She now has the term empty-nester as part of her description as she adapts to the latest of life’s changes.

These events arrive – some are expected and some are surprises. But even when they are not a surprise, because the event was planned or we knew the day was destined to arrive, we are caught up in feelings may come as a surprise to us.

That is what happened to me last Thursday when I watched my son get married. It was the first time for me to be a parent of the one of the wedding partners.

I have attended my three stepchildren’s weddings and enjoyed being there with my wife. In the years since, I watched the spouses of my stepchildren grow into important parts of the family as the distinction between stepchild and spouse blurs and they simply become one’s own children.

It was during the wedding ceremony itself I began to realize this wedding was different from other weddings.

In this wedding, the groom was someone I have known since his first breath. To say his life and my life are intertwined approaches an understatement.

I caught myself wondering if this was what my dad felt like attending my wedding as father of the groom.

The wedding had been scheduled for some time so the element of surprise was not there. But there was no mistaking that all of our lives were going to be significantly different from now on.

I was listening to an adult repeating wedding vows to another person in front of all of us who were invited to attend. But this time was different, because this was the same person whom I remember holding as a newborn.

I remember encouraging him to take his first steps as a toddler. I both watched and encouraged him as he grew to be a person who wanted nothing more than to farm and continue what his great-great-great grandfather started in 1875.

Does this lovely young woman standing next to him realize that the description of farm wife will become part of her identity?

One of the next jobs for my wife and me will be deciding how to fit everyone at family meals. The kitchen table was already reaching its limit as we try to have everyone sit at the same table during a meal.

This becomes a problem as grandchildren grow in number and in size and require more space. It is a good problem to have.

I have said in recent months that after the wedding, this place will never be the same. With the wedding in the past, that prediction becomes reality as we all settle into our places, be it where we live or our place in the family.

The only sadness I felt that day was wishing that my parents could have been there to see their grandson and his new family. I know it would have been something that would have given them great pleasure.

Being father of the groom was a short-lived experience, lasting only the length of the ceremony.

As much as I enjoyed the role, I hope it does not happen again as my son and new daughter-in-law will have many, many years together.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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