“A Wedding Week to Remember,” column for July 16, 2013


It was a lot to pack into one short week. But everything fits in matters of the heart.

We are what is known as a “blended family.” When my husband and I married eight years ago, I was a widow, he was divorced. Our children (my three, his two) were grown. They never had to share a bathroom or fight over who ate the last gallon of ice cream. But somehow, they became friends.

Maybe we had a hand in it, he and I. But mostly, the credit is theirs. They are good kids, they and their others and their babes. We like them. You would, too.

When I first met his boys, they were 10 and 12 years old.

“Are you going to write about us?” asked the 10-year-old.

“Maybe,” I said. “If I do, what should I call you?”

He grinned at his older brother. “Call him Stretch,” he said. “I want to be Stubby.”

Fifteen years later, when Stretch and his longtime sweetheart announced plans to be married on the Fourth of July, my husband and I rented a house big enough to hold our whole clan. Then we drove from our home in Las Vegas, to Sonoma, Calif., to spend a week celebrating with all our children and grandchildren.

I wish you could’ve seen us.

It was a week I never want to forget. I keep trying to contain it, to process and define it in my words and heart and soul. But each time I try to grasp it, it slips through my fingers and dances across the room.

It shouldn’t surprise me. I learned long ago that the best times of life are not easily contained.

So I will tell you about it in pieces, in the moments I recall.

— I recall, for example, my children arriving hungry and tired after driving for hours and seeming so happy to be there.

— I remember Randy, almost 3, and Henry, almost 2, chasing each other in circles like curly-headed Chihuahuas on speed.

— Wiley, 6 months old, falling asleep, melting in my arms like a 20-pound marshmallow.

— My daughter and daughter-in-law being such good moms; my son and stepson being such good dads; my oldest, swinging his nephews high in the air to cries of “More, peeze, Uncle!”

— I remember sitting up late at night laughing at the sound of my children’s laughter.

From the wedding, I recall:

— My husband playing guitar for the processional, a song he’d written called “The Language of Birds,” that was every bit as lovely as the title suggests.

— My sister-in-law (aka The Best Person in the World) sitting in the hot sun so no one else would have to sit there.

— Randy asking, “Nana, when do we get to eat cake?”

— My husband’s ex-wife waving at me to come sit beside her.

— Stubby’s stellar performance officiating the ceremony.

— The light in Stretch’s eyes as he vowed his love and the look his bride beamed in return, while Charlotte, their 2-year-old flower girl, rolled around on the ground at their feet.

— And the smiles on the faces of their family and friends who laughed and cried and wished them “happily ever after.”

Life is remembered by milestones — births and deaths, weddings and anniversaries, graduations and vacations.

But it is lived in the smallest of moments — as radiant and fleeting as sparks from a campfire or stars on a summer’s night or the twinkling in the eyes of a child.

We record milestones with photos and videos, in the pages of the family Bible and postings on Facebook. It’s harder to capture a moment. But that is all we have, really, this one precious moment, here and now.

Here’s wishing Stretch and his bride and their little flower girl a lifetime of precious moments — and lots of good times with their big blended family.


  1. Roz Malone says

    I’ve been a total fan since I first read your columns in the Salinas newspaper–happily after we moved to the Fairfield, CA area our paper carries your column. You always manage to touch me with sharing experiences from your life. I find the real gift for me always comes at the end of the column when your so wonderfully distill the experiences into little nuggets of wisdom. Today’s nugget for me “”But it is lived in the smallest moments…”. My neighbor was telling me yesterday of splendid moment she had recently on an Alaskan cruise–she commented it was too bad she didn’t have a camera out to snap a picture and I suggested it was actually good she didn’t have a camera to pull her away from being totally present in that precious moment. Thanks for sharing your gift with us!

  2. Thank you for sharing your wonderful week through your column. We too have a blended group of adult children. Although not as well blended as yours, you give me vision to shoot for. I hope at some point to have a story as wonderful as yours to share!

  3. Annette mcmanus says

    Lovely Sharon
    Thank you for such a heartwarming recollection.
    I felt as if Iwas there!
    With love, annette

  4. Sharon,

    With you as their adoring cheerleader, your blended family clearly has a lot of heart.



  5. Debra Buck says

    Whenever I read your columns, which I do faithfully, I am always reminded how I believe that you and I are inherently kindred spirits, as Anne of Green Gables and Diana were in those books. You write about things to which I can and do relate. Your world view, admittedly seen subjectively, seems to reflect my world view. I think you must be a wise and wonderful woman, wife, mother and doting grandmother, as I hope I am, as I think my children and my husband see me. I have recently been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer and the view you THINK you have of life seems to be skewed suddenly in strange ways. For example it is like being on the rim of a spinning top and you don’t know where you will end up, or if you will fly off. But the world turns just the same, the sun comes up in the same old way and coffee tastes just as good in the morning when my husband I sit on our patio and listen to the birds and plan for the day. We even have a visiting peacock – someone has chopped all his beautiful feathers off for some horrible reason. He lets me feed him out of my hand. Our little pool shimmers in the sunlight. We babysit our 17-month-old grandson two days a week and he squeals when he sees us. We bought a new vehicle two weeks ago. I made gazpacho for lunch today and had it tonight with shrimp and salty crackers. Life is made up of these moments and only certain people seem to understand the breathtaking beauty of those moments. I like to think you and I are kindred spirits who appreciate the beautiful life. Thank you for your amazing columns.

  6. Susan coley henderson says

    Sharon, I loved this article, sounds like you have a great blended family.

  7. John Waters says

    Thank you for sharing this… memories to last a lifetime!

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