This weekend, I had the joy of watching the light of my life, my son David, marry the love of his life, Casey — and I couldn't be happier to be replaced as the most important woman in his life.
The wedding was not the wedding Casey had dreamed of since she was a child. Thanks to COVID-19, the upscale country club venue was cancelled — as was the honeymoon to Thailand and then the one to Jamaica that replaced it. The guest list was pared down from 150 to immediate family and the wedding party only. There was no bridal shower and no bachelor party. The favors on the tables were face masks and bottles of hand sanitizer.
Casey's parents, Ray and Debbie Stoodley; her siblings, Ashley, Bethany, Danielle and Shawn, and their husbands and girlfriend, worked overtime to make the day special and memorable. A flower-laden arch stood at the far side of their yard near some woods. A large tent sheltered the beautifully decorated tables for the wedding dinner.
There was nothing lacking about the weekend. And if anything was missed, the love that surrounded the wedding more than made up for it. David's dad was remembered with an empty chair at the ceremony, placed next to mine, with a sign that read, "We know you would have been here today if heaven wasn't so far away," and a white rose boutonniere. His nephews and their wives, Peter and Lisa and Paul and Jenny, traveled from Pittsburgh and Cleveland, respectively, to attend. In fact, Peter officiated at the wedding, and it made the day even more special.
After David had escorted me to my seat, I stood and watched as his attendants walked in and took their place — John Tietgens and Taylor DeSanty, David's friends since childhood; Christian Mulchay, his college roommate, and Casey's brother, Shawn — and it hit me for maybe the first time, they were all grown up and were adults in their own right. They weren't the young girl I had coached in soccer, the little boy I watched in Little League, the kicker on the college football team, or the younger brother of David's girlfriend. They were no longer the kids I still pictured them as.
I watched David as he saw Casey in her wedding gown for the first time and saw the love in his eyes — and the responding love in hers. Welcome to the family, Casey!
Help me celebrate the happy couple with a Champagne cocktail.
Yield: 4 servings
4 sugar cubes
1 bottle Angostura bitters
1 bottle Champagne, very cold
Lemon twists, for garnish, optional
Start off by taking a single sugar cube, and while holding it over the opening of a bottle of Angostura bitters, invert the bottle so that some bitters soaks directly into the sugar. Drop the cube into the bottom of a chilled Champagne flute, and then fill the glass with Champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist, if desired. Repeat process 3 more times to make 4 drinks.