Well, what an emotional roller-coaster I’ve been on for the past couple of weeks! It started with a call from Kiera in Washington DC to say that James and her had decided to get married. Now, although one doesn’t get a call like that every day, it was in itself no huge surprise. From the time I spent with them on our travels, it was clear to me that they were very much in love and wanted to be together. However, when she casually mentioned that they intended to get married in a few days time, I was totally unprepared. As I was trying to get my head around how Peter (who was gallivanting around South Africa at the time), Alex (who was in the throes of writing exams) and I could get to the States at the drop of a hat, Kiera threw me another curve ball by telling me that they intended to keep things very simple and low-key and that they really didn’t expect family and friends to attend. Although my head told me that it made sense, my heart told me that I should be there. How could I not be at my daughter’s wedding? Lots of calls, and tears, later I was able to respect their decision, especially when they reassured me that, as soon as it was possible, they would be heading back to S.A. (with James’ family) to have their wedding reception at the farm. Yay, I get to be the “mother of the bride” after all and I’ve already started planning the event!
So, on the 3rd of November, Kiera and James took themselves off to the courthouse in DC, just the two of them, to be married by a justice of the peace. We Skyped in the morning and when I saw how absolutely radiantly happy she looked, all my concerns disappeared. But it was still quite surreal knowing that my daughter was getting married, on a different continent, without me there. To be honest, I was an emotional wreck. Fortunately Judy was able to come to the farm that afternoon (Peter was in Cape Town) to hold my hand, metaphorically speaking, until I received Kiera’s message at 8:30 pm (they are 7 hours behind us) simply saying “We’re Married!” I really am very happy for, and proud of, them both. And James’ family has been so supportive; Kiera is very fortunate to have married into such a kind family and I know we can rest assured that she is in good hands.
What I will always remember about the day Kiera got married is just how beautiful and joyful she looked, and picking strawberries with Judy in the allotment at sunset and dunking them in our glasses of prosecco as we toasted Kiera and James. I have to admit that we did get a bit carried away with the champagne after that, toasting more than one toast too many.
I think my “fall apart” response took Kiera (and myself) quite by surprise. I’ve never been overly sentimental about weddings; my own was very low-key and I actually find all the fuss made about weddings quite off-putting. When Peter and I got married, we had been living together for almost a year. One evening, I was in the bath, Peter was sitting in the bathroom chatting to me and we were smoking a joint (as one did in those days – right?). He very casually said something like “Why don’t we get married?” to which I replied “I don’t know, maybe we should”. It was all terribly romantic! Anyway I phoned Edna to tell her the good news, and her response was (bearing in mind I was only 20 years old) “Why do you want to do that, you are so happy as you are?”
We set a date and then contacted all family members not living in Durban and told them that we intended to keep things very simple and low-key and that we really didn’t expect them to attend (I thought that sounded familiar). Some were offended and others were relieved. Anyhow, we found a marriage officer who agreed to marry us at my parents’ house and we asked him to cut out everything that wasn’t absolutely necessary. I have to confess that I didn’t hear a word of what he said because I was thinking at the time “What’s the worst that can happen? If it doesn’t work out, we can always get divorced.” So I actually got married thinking about getting divorced! However, once the “I do’s” were said, all thoughts of divorce disappeared and we proceeded to have a jolly good time.