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Location: United Kingdom

Yes...this is ALL about me, and mine. Marvellously self indulgent, feel free to tell me how splendid I am, leave comments, nice ones please, I have little kids and teenagers who can do the rude stuff. I am a grandma, to the glorious Joshua, I'm allowed to look frazzled and weary, I earned it. The older I get, the more I see that hanging on and being patient is worth it! They ( whoever 'they' are) are so right when they say you never know what is around the corner, it isn't always an articulated truck! It is vital to make the time for making memories, friends are the greatest treasure, I love mine. I am rich!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Not bragging, real gratitude.

On saturday I watched Jordan marry Mel, we have been thinking about this wedding for over a year and Mel and Jordan have been planning and working and organising for all that time. I have watched them and been in awe at how hard they have worked, how they have scrimped and saved and planned and paid for all the things they wanted for their day. They have asked for nothing apart from a lift here or there to pick up or pay for something. I have loved the way they knew this was THEIR day and so quietly and consistantly they have done everything they wanted, they way they wanted.

As the day got closer I was thrilled to see that Jordan was as excited as Mel, not once did he roll his eyes or pretend to be interested in any of the details, he was genuinely excited for the day. He would call me and tell me about table decorations, he would come and visit to show me plans, he took me to see the rings as they were held in the jewellers. He was completely thrilled with every step, he would call and let me know what he had paid for and how he only owed 'X amount' for such and such.
Jenn and Julie arrived last week and one of the things they noticed was how Jordan was every bit as excited as Mel and how obvious it is that he adores her. They noticed how Jordan and Mel share the care of Joshua and how beloved he is by all. We were all impressed to see how stern and immovable Jordan was when 2 year old Joshua yelled "no! Go 'way!" at Mel. How he picked him up and said very firmly " you do not, EVER be rude to your mummy, not say 'Sorry' right now!"

They day before the wedding we went to the venues to double check everything was ready and in place, we watched as Jordan's and Mel's eyes shone with excitement, we saw that they were both apprehensive about being the center of attention but neither had even a glimmer or nerves about being married. As young as they are, these two people understand what marriage is about.
I have often written about the love my children have for each other and how I wish I could share my family with friends that are far away. I have oft tried to describe how it feels to be among these people who, having all come from me, quite gloriously love being with each other. There is no greater joy for a mother than to see her children be friends, real friends, with no competition, no rivalry, just pure enjoyment and laughter.
I looked forward to the wedding but I had no idea, could not, even for a moment have imagined just how wonderful this day would be.
We sat and waited for Mel to arrive at the mansion and I watched Jordan who seemd a little nervous but not at all worryingly so, when the registrar announced that Mel was here and the music began I watched Jordan as he waited to see Mel and as she walked into the room and through the standing guests there wasn't a dry eye in the house when we watched him look, jump as though startled and then his whole face crumpled as he cried at the sight of his bride walk towards him, he was visibly emotional as the ceremony took place and it was clear to see just how much he loves Mel.
Jordan and Mel asked me to speak at the wedding, in the ceremony and so I did that, I loved that as I spoke Joshua was calling me and so I told him he could come up with me. He had been sitting with me throught the ceremony and was ( as all 2 year old boys are apt to be) loud, so I opened a packet of mints ( his favourite) and he crammed almost the whole pack in his mouth and then spat them out in my hand...we were a sticky, dribbly mess by the time I stood up to give my speech.
I am going to post here what I said in case ( and I'm sure this is the case) they were too nervous to hear what I said.
When Jordan and Mel asked me to give this speech I was very excited, there are 2 reason for my excitement, the first is that I am a show off, the second is that I have 5 sons and one daughter and a husband who is a man of very few words, I can give you an example of this by telling you that one day, when I said " can I talk to you about something please?" he replied with "Ohhhhhhhhhh ( groan) " quickly followed by "Oh...I did that outloud didn't I?"
So, 6 children who don't listen and a husband who is not one for idle chit chat... ask me if I want a captive audience and I will jump at the opportunity every time.
I was full of ideas of all the things I would say and planning how impressive I would be, those of you that know Jordan ( I am his mum by the way) and are impressed by his quick wit, sense of humour and his culinary skills? He gets that from me.
I was as confident as can be about giving this speech ... and then I took Jordan to pick up his suit, he came out to show me and that's when I knew that this might not be the best idea, I will try to get through this without any embarrassing show of maternal emotion but I can't promise I'll be able to do it.
The moment I saw Jordan in his suit and thought "Oh! My boy is getting MARRIED" and I felt that gulping lump in my throat I knew I was probably doomed to a day of weeping and thinking about how quickly he has grown and how sweet he was as a little boy ( It's what mothers do)
I thought about what I should say today and really, I just keep coming back to one thing.
I want to tell Jordan and Mel that I am proud of them. I love them and I am so happy that Jordan has found someone to love that I can love too. As a mother of many sons it is a worry that your son will meet a woman who won't like you. I am thrilled that either Mel likes me or she is the best actress ever.
I want to tell Jordan and Mel to be kind.
Of all the advice I can give, being kind is perhaps the most important of all. So often we are careful to be polite to strangers, we are keen to impress our friends, we do favours for neighbours and sometimes, we forget that the most important person to be kind to, to impress, to help, is the person we married.
It is said that no success can compensate for failure in the home, that's so true, we all need a place where we feel secure and happy and our home ought to be that place.
It doesn't really matter how rich you become or how wonderful other people think you are if the people you live with aren't happy.
Keep your words kind, even in jest unkind words can do more damage than physical pain.
I want to share a short story with you...
A woman one day said something that hurt her best friend. She regretted it immediately, and would have done anything to have taken the words back. But they were said, impulsively, in a moment of thoughtlessness, and as close as she and her friend were, she didn’t consider the effects of her words before hand.
In her effort to undo what she had done, she went to an older, wiser woman in the village. Explaining her situation, and asked for advice. The older woman listened patiently in an effort to determine just how sincere the younger woman was, how far she was willing to go to correct the situation.
The wise women said, “There are two things needed to do to make amends. The first of the two is extremely difficult. Tonight, take your best feather pillows, and open a small hole in each one. Then, before the sun rises, you must put a single feather on the doorstep of each house in town. When you are through, come back to me. If you’ve done the first thing completely, I’ll tell you the second.”
The young woman hurried home to prepare for her chore. All night long she laboured alone in the cold. She went from doorstep to doorstep, taking care not to overlook a single house. Her fingers were frozen, the wind was so sharp it caused her eyes to water, but she ran on, through the darkened streets, thankful there was something she could do to put things back the way they once were.
Just as the sun rose, she returned to the older woman. She was exhausted, but relieved that her efforts would be rewarded. “My pillows are empty. I placed a feather on the doorstep of each home.”
Now, said the wise woman, “Go back and refill your pillows. Then everything will be as it was before.”
The young woman was stunned. “You know that’s impossible! The wind blew away each feather as fast as I placed them on the doorsteps! You didn’t say I had to get them back! If this is the second requirement, then things will never be the same.”
“That’s true”, said the older woman, “Never forget. Each of your words is like a feather in the wind. Once spoken, no amount of effort, regardless how heartfelt or sincere, can ever return them to your mouth. Choose your words well, and guard them most of all in the presence of those you love.”

So be kind, keep laughing.
Remember that Joshua will learn everything he needs in life from you, he will learn what kind of man to be from you Jordan and he will learn how he can expect to be treated from you Mel, everything he sees and hears he will take in and remember.
I have been so impressed as I have watched you both together, I am proud of how Jordan has learned to run and support a home, by how hard he works, by the way he puts his family first. I am impressed by how patient Mel is, how tolerant she is, how gentle and kind she is to Jordan and Joshua. I know, that as a mother, I probably only see what you want me to see but the fact that you and Joshua are a happy family shows me and everyone else that knows you that you already know how to love each other.
I heard a story once about a couple who had been married for 75 years, they had a party to celebrate and the local newspaper sent a reporter. The reporter spoke to the wife and she asked what the secret was to staying married for such a long time.
The old lady looked her in the eye and replied " well, when we first got married I decided that I would let him have 5 really annoying habits. If I started to get annoyed by him I would look at him, take a deep breath and say to myself 'that's one of his 5, let it go, he can have that one' and it was easy, I could stop being mad at him and life was good"
The reporter was impressed by such a simple act and couldn't help but ask " What were the 5 annoying habits?"
The old lady smiled and replied " oh, there now, that's the secret, I never did decide what the 5 things should be, every time he annoyed me I just told myself that that WAS one of the 5 and I let it go"
Don't make a list.
Decide today that you will always be married, that you will have a party when you have been married 75 years.
If you both have the same goals, the same dreams and the same determination that your marriage will be a happy one, it will be. Don't allow anything from outside your home to come between you, of course there will be difficult times, there will be problems and stresses that at times will seem insurmountable, the secret is, with each other, there is nothing that you can't overcome. Nothing that you can't be or do together. Jordan don’t ever wonder, or ask yourself if Mel is making you happy enough if she is doing everything she can to make you happy...ask yourself every day if you are doing enough to make her happy, Mel do the same, happiness is found not by looking for it but by giving it away. Cast your bread upon the waters and it’ll come back buttered.
Remember that you have family that love you both and will always be here to help.
Thankyou for asking me to speak today, I am so proud of you both. What a beautiful day this is, may you always remember how you feel today, when you have your 75th anniversay party I hope you can tell some young reporter how easy it was to stay married for so long! Much love to you both today and for always, I love you xxx"

After the ceremony Jenn took the pictures and it took a long time, there was plenty of time to watch my children together and enjoy seeing how they all did everything they could to make this a beautiful day for their brother. Sophie was exceptional, she was beautiful and kind and she stepped up as bridesmaid, before the wedding she really did her job well, she helped Mel have a Hen party and organised the girls for that evening and on the wedding day she was attentive and ready to help, she was impeccably behaved and when I commented on how beautifully she was behaving, with none of the usual over loud laughing, no outrageous comments or acts, she simply said " it isn't my day, this is all about Mel and Jordan"
I have never before seen the Sophie we saw on Saturday and I was never so proud of her.
Daniel was equally intent on making sure things went smoothly. Even the little boys sat for pictures ( briefly) H was, as always quietly doing his bit, Joshua was as every 2 year old boy would be, bored easily and eager to explore, everyone was busy doing what they felt they should do and so it fell to me to try and keep him busy, I was asked to go and get someone for photos and as I went to do that I saw H, like the pied piper waking across the large gardens with a line of little boys following him, he kept them running and busy, engaged and out of trouble for the whole time the pictures were being taken. Oh and what pictures there are. Jenn was exceptional, she was authoritative and in control, knowing exactly what she wanted for these two beautiful people to look back on from their day. She was not swayed by people thinking they knew what she should be doing, she was not bulldozed off her planned list of photo opportunities, she took her pictures and then stood back and guests took their own, she had researched and decided where to take what pictures and the glimpses I have had of the photos, before any editing, they are breath taking. She was there for Jordan and Mel and no matter who asked her to change what she had planned for them( and people did indeed ask her if she would 'just ' take this picture or that picture, not realising how professional she is and how she was there to please Jordan and Mel, not other guests) I am so excited to see the pictures when she has finished her work, she is a true professional and has a great eye for what will work.
I was so grateful as I watched the day progress to see and be reminded just how great my family is, how dignified and gentle my mum is, how thoughtful and considerate my siblings, how kind and gentle and obedient my nephews and nieces and their children are. When the day was almost over Jenn made a comment that surprised me, she said " English children are so great, they are refined" I asked her what she meant and she said " well look, there has been no bloodshed! No fighting, no screaming, all these kids just playing and dancing, no fighting, no squabbling and look at that little boy bringing Joshua's camera back to him" I am amazed at how we take for granted these little people, all related to each other who are so used to all being together and so used to having so many adults raising them, we all know that if we are all together, if we see behaviour that isn't acceptable then any one of the adults may correct of admonish and all these children listen and do as they are told.How we just accept that our family loves the other members of our family.
Right throught out the day I watched and took note as Julie quietly stayed on the fringe of all that was happening, resplendant in her wedding hat ( she looks so great in hats!) she sat and watched, joined in without any fuss, took charge of little boys that had wandered away from the main event, let Isaac play with her iPod ( "til the batteries run out, I can play til the battery runs out!") she let Eli circle her and bark as he played at being a dog ( again!) what a friend she is, not demanding attention or time in anyway, just being there and doing what she saw needed doing without a word.
The speeches were fabulous, Mel's dad was sweet and nervous, he said all a father should say, we all saw how proud of his daughter he is, even if he found public speaking difficult he still stood up and he shared how he loves his daughter.
Daniel spoke next and he was funny, outrageous and loving, as he spoke about how he admires and loves his younger brother and how well he thinks Mel and Jordan are suited, he started to cry and in embarrassment he said " Oh F**k it!" Immediately he clasped his hands over his mouth, looked right at my mum and said " SORRY GRAMMA!" we didn't realise that we all, on the top table did exactly the same thing! The picture Jenn took is priceless, a row of people, all clasping their hands over their mouth because the unpardonable sin of swearing in front of Gramma Euinton had been committed! How wonderful that no matter how old these children get, whatever they do or say they hold gramma in such high esteem that she is the first person they think of when they behave inappropriately whenever she is around. Later on in the evening as we children, our children and their children were all sitting around one big table, one ofthe girls said " Isn't it funny to think that if it weren't for gramma, none of us would even be here"

n gave his speech and again, as he started to say how much he loved Mel and how happy he was that she was now
a member of our family, how excited he is that she now belongs with us, he started

to cry and he couldn't carry on for a moment. The love that exists in our family is tangible, I try to explain how it is but I am sure I will never be able to find the right words. I love that Jenn and Julie experienced it and that they too were moved to tears to see it in it's full glory.
I looked around as Jordan gave his speech and I saw his dad wipe his eyes and then his grandad on his father's side was also crying and I love that I have grown sons who are not afraid or ashamed ( although they were embarrassed) to cry because they are so grateful for what they have and because they recognise that they have something more valuable than money.
I stayed for a while in the evening and soaked up the fun, watched as Jordan danced with Mel, I watched as Jordan walked past his cousin and heard Ben shout "Hey, cousin!" "Yeah?" " I love you!" grown men not afraid to express love, priceless.
I've tried to explain how the day went but I think, probably, that you had to be there to understand exactly what I am trying to say. My family is great and it is MINE....doesn't get better than that and now, well now, I have another daughter in my family and she is a really, really nice one too!


Blogger Christina said...


I don't usually post on your blog but I read it all the time.

This post is amazing!! The way you described not only the day but the emotions involved. You are one blessed woman and they are blessed to have you in their lives


9:14 pm  
Blogger TN said...

I loved this post. What a wonderful family you have. Thanks for letting us into your lives. I could feel the love from reading your words. Congratulations to Jordan and Mel and to you for being the caring and loving Mother that you are. I wish all of the world could be as happy!

9:54 pm  

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