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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Sister-In-Law's Big Fat Indian Wedding: Final Installment

In case you haven't already, read my previous post first.  Go ahead.  I'll wait. 
Okay.  So I left off at the reception.  I knew it would be over the top, and it was.  There was an ice sculpture, a chocolate fountain, a giant slideshow and two cousins served as emcees.  That's right, I said emcees.  There were several speeches, a song sung by the best man and two dance numbers all before dinner was served.   After dinner and dessert, my kids were literally begging me to take them upstairs to bed.   When I got them all tucked in, my mom asleep on the couch, I went back down to the party.  It was about 10:30pm.  The tables were empty and seriously, all 400 people were packed onto the dance floor.   There was a lot of celebrating going on.  The bride and groom being lifted up into the air, circles of dancers cheering someone on in the center while they busted a move.  No one was immune to the pull of the dance beats.

I had finally had enough and went upstairs to remove the 1000 hair pins from my hair and take off the 50 bangles from my arms at about midnight.  When they finally kicked everyone out of the ballroom at 1am, Mr. Mint and a bunch of his cousins went upstairs to the bride and groom's suite to continue the party!   He rolled into our hotel room about 2:30am.  It was one for the record books.

As I was chatting with one of Mr. Mint's cousins the next day, I learned that apparently this wedding was pretty low key by their standards.   My mother-in-law had been cooking for weeks in order to have snacks and things for all the people coming from out of town.  Plus it's customary to send lots of food along with the bride to give to the groom's family.  Mr. Mint's aunts had made several trips to help with all the preparations.  This was truly a family effort.  

Whenever I am around Mr. Mint's family I am struck by how close they are to each other and how much their lives are intertwined despite being separated by an ocean or a five hour plane ride.   Mr. Mint lived with one of his aunts for a while as a teenager.  If someone is in the hospital or has a baby they can count on visits from dozens of relatives bringing gifts and food. All the cousins are more like brothers and sisters than anything else.   They talk on the phone almost daily.   There is always someone scooping up one of my kids and whisking them off to play.   So many times I heard, "Lolly was hungry so I made her a plate of food."  Or, "You sit and eat, I'll take Gloppy to the bathroom."   I lost count of all the cash and candy was slipped into their little hands.  Lolly even came home with a $100 bill.  I'm often overwhelmed just by the shear number of them.   But more than that, how they rally to each others side no matter what needs to be done.  Whether it's a marriage to be celebrated, a death to be mourned, or a kid to take to the potty, they are just there for each other in full force.

I am not saying this is unique to Mr. Mint's family.  Rather it's just not how I grew up.  My mother moved clear across the country right after she graduation from college and rarely looked back.  I have six cousins that we saw maybe every other year or so.  After my father passed away, we didn't really see much of his family either.  There was always love and laughter, but not the extended network of family that is so in your face with Mr. Mint's clan.

It's all a bit like my favorite of the four outfits I wore that weekend.   I need help making it look right on me and sometimes it's itchy and uncomfortable.  But mostly I want to wrap myself myself up in it and spin around in front of the mirror.   I want to show it to my kids and let them touch it.  I want them to appreciate it's beauty and intricate designs.  I want them to appreciate where it comes from and how very lucky they are to be a part of something so vibrant and full of love.

For more wedding pictures (but not nearly enough to do it justice) click HERE.

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