Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage. ~Finnish ProverbThis weekend we gathered to celebrate the marriage of Brandon and Whitney Fletcher, and as I watched the lovely ceremony unfold, I couldn't help but think back to the memories of my nephew as a little boy and wonder how he became a man so quickly. We use the cliche and talk about how quickly time flies, but watching Brandon take his vows to his beautiful bride before family and friends, I kept getting choked up thinking it was just a few years ago when he stood as my ring bearer, wore Batman pajamas, and was obsessed with "big trucks" as he called them.
I was a freshman in high school when Brandon was born, and he has always seemed to be more than a nephew to me. Since he has been on this earth, Brandon has brought this family such joy and continues to do so. For years he was the only grandchild on the Bryant side. Papa John nicknamed all the other grandchildren "Castros" but Brandon earned his own special nickname- "Cowboy" since he was their first great-grandchild. He has taught me many things such as how to change diapers (cloth ones, I might add), give bottles, draw big trucks, Ninja Turtles, and he even helped me illustrate a children's book I wrote in college. We have watched the movies Ghost busters and Drop Dead Fred until we knew them by heart. And speaking of hearts, he once almost caused me to have a heart attack when he was having a night mare about spiders and woke me up screaming bloody murder in the middle of the night. He would bring me his model horses and say "Do horseys!" Which meant I was to hum the tune to Bonanza and bounce the horse up and down. I had all these images in my mind and tears as I witnessed the vows he made to his wife as a grown man.
I write this not to embarrass him, (well maybe a little) but to show him how we had ZERO fun in this family until he came along. Brandon loved animals and I once drove all the way from Bowling Green to Waterview with a kitten crawling all through my car because his precious cat Colby had died and I had picked its replacement at a pet store. We wanted to do all we could to make him happy. Nanny, for example, would make his cinnamon toast have smiley faces on them, and the rest of us ate whatever Brandon's menu choices were, even when he requested the same foods every night for weeks until he grew tired of it and then he would move on to another favorite. Our family had forgotten the joy of Christmas until we had Brandon, Suddenly Christmas Eve and morning was magical and other holidays that had lost their sparkle were now so much more appealing. Where there had been darkness, now there was light, and as he grew we enjoyed many little league basketball games, baseball games, school plays, and birthday parties, and watching him grow into a remarkable young man, a police officer, a husband, a father. I thought it was very fitting that the song "I'll Wait for You" was played at the beginning of the wedding ceremony. I'm sure there was a special meaning for Brandon and Whitney, but how it related to me was remembering how Brandon would wait for his Pa to come in each week from driving the big truck that they both loved so much. Brandon was the star in Daddy's sky and they had a relationship that was beyond grandfather/grandson. I think it is safe to say that they were each others' heroes. As Daddy was in the final hours of his life, the Hsopice nurses were really surprised he was still holding on. What they didn't know was that this time Pa was waiting for Brandon to pull into the driveway. After Brandon arrived, and Daddy gripped his hand, it wasn't very long afterwards that he passed on. He was waiting for him, and I know in my heart he was smiling down on Brandon as he said his vows. And we have SOOO loved the blue/white UK colors!
As time, responsibilities, busy schedules, and life prevent me from seeing him as much as I'd like to I want him to know that I am so proud of the life he and Whitney are building and I pray that God blesses this union and their sweet family one hundred fold. Here are a few words of wisdom for them from the movie Fireproof, as they face the future as husband and wife. It is very practical that they were married on Labor Day weekend, because marriage is work, but there is a payoff and I know they will very much profit from it.
About a Fireproof Marriage
"Fireproof doesn’t mean that a fire will never come… But that when it comes, you’ll be able to withstand it."
About Hard Times
I know Brandon and Whitney will have a great marriage. They compliment one another so well and the love in their eyes was very evident not just on their wedding day, but other days as well, and while we say goodbye to the little boy that we have so many precious memories of, we celebrate the extraordinary young man he has become. We are so proud of you and look forward to making many more memories with his adorable family.
I close with a recipe for Family Pie. The ingredients are:
1 handful of forgiveness
2 heaping cupfuls of love
3 T wisdom
2 T good spirits
Mix together smoothly with complete faith in God. Sprinkle generously with thoughtfulness and consideration.
Scenes from the Fletcher ceremony:
I love this picture because it is a portrait of love- a long line of love.
What a beautiful family. So precious.
3 of my favorite people: Nanny, Brandon, and my wonderful sister Beth
Girls just wanna have fun!
"Never leave your partner behind, especially in a fire."