Later in the evening, we all raised a glass to our 31 years of marriage while belting out a rousing rendition of the Nat King Cole's anthem "Love."
L is for the way you look at me
O is for the only one I see
V is very, very extraordinary
E is even more than anyone that you adore
I don't know why, but every single one of us knew all the words of all the verses. My older niece, the de facto master of ceremonies, started it, my daughter and my younger niece picked it up, and pretty soon we all joined in at the top of our lungs, joyously and riotously performing that thing. We sounded like a drunken saloon. Even my husband who looked on dubiously at the spectacle of us at first, was singing along by the end. It was the highlight of the festivities, which wound down around midnight. Most of us have to be at work this morning, though my older niece took the day off and will be back here shortly to squire her younger brother and sister all around the city, shopping for back-to-school supplies and taking in the sights.
My son's girlfriend wrote us the most beautiful sentiment in her card: "I feel so lucky that I get to witness your love for each other; it is so special and true. I love how you share it with your family. It's like a big hug you never want to let go of." I want to remember her words, especially on an evening made somewhat more poignant by my big strong husband's sudden frailty. It brought home our vows made three decades and a year ago, in sickness and in health, come what may. We were both wiped out as we fell into bed at the end of the evening, but our hearts were brimming. My husband said, "Everything was perfect." And it was.