The girls are playing wedding again. All three children are processing around the house singing alleluia and kneeling at random spots. Dancing in the kitchen. “I’m dancing. With daddy. With my husband.”
Blessed be the Lord. Bella sings, Blessed be our king. Alleluia. Alleluia.
“Is this because Tree went to a wedding this weekend?” Dom asks me as we eat our oatmeal and watch the pageantry unfold. I don’t think so. They’ve been playing wedding for months. Years even?
Time to eat the cake, says Bella, Sing the wedding song. Sing happy wedding to you happy wedding to you.
And Sophie sings Happy wedding to you.
Time to blow out the candles on the wedding cake, bossy Bella orders, I blew my candles out. Benny come blow your candles out too. Yay! Everyone has a slice of cake.
No I think this goes deeper than that. I’ve been watching them and listening to them retell the stories they hear. Stories from books and the stories we tell them and also all the stories of our family, of our lives as we live them. It is all grist for the story mill, the raw material of play.
I think this is storytelling to help them understand. Weddings are important, they understand. Why else would we have our wedding picture on the wall of our bedroom, hanging there above the changing table? Telling the story of a wedding is really their exploration of their own personal origin myth. They know that it all began with a wedding. With our wedding.
A little girl wants to be a bride because her mother was a bride. She wants to understand her mother because she knows somehow deep within that this will be her task: somehow, some day she must become her mother. She will grow up, be a bride, be a mother. She practices so that she may understand.
And this will be true no matter what her vocation. All women are called to motherhood. Some to physical motherhood, to bear children in their bodies. All to spiritual motherhood, to bear children in our hearts. All of us are called to the hard task of love and sacrifice, to the death to self, the death for love of others. To be Bride: this is what it means to be woman.
And this is how they learn. They listen to the stories and then they act them out. They enter into the story, into the inner heart of the mystery. They shape it and reshape it and make it their own.
Yesterday the Anchoress linked to a story about the death of a cloistered nun. Sister Virginia Mary of Jesus, OP (Virginia Racewicz) who entered Eternal Life in her 77th year of age and the 42nd Year of her Religious Profession. Her last words were �The Bridegroom is coming!�
I only pray that my daughters and I may all of us someday enter into eternity with such words on our lips, with such hope, such joy.