(I penned the following poem on the occasion of my son and daughter-in law’s recent wedding celebration. To read more about the ceremony, visit : “Blessing of Interracial Union” )
A son is sweetness and strength and mystery;
here is my son – a gentle soul, kind-hearted
and generous – wasn’t he just a boy, only four
asking his father for work so he could buy me
a pair of earrings: Suns, he said, like you, Mom.
How did that boy, once so caring that he’d save
his treats to share with older sisters, sisters
who would turn around and snub him – he
never seemed to care, accepted it with a shrug
tried again – how is it he is now a man, married?
Always the loyal friend, is he, with an ear for
the downtrodden, offering a hand; I’ve watched
him struggle for independence, study hard,
labour tirelessly, he is a man of vision, a man
with a heart big enough to hold all his dreams.
I want it all, he once told me, eyes focused
on a future only he could see – I read joy
in his countenance, felt pride swelling, knew
this day would come, knew the moment he
first spoke the name Warsan he’d found love.
Warsan, truly good news, precious as the sunrise
her spirit bright, her smile contagious, she is
brilliance, and thoughtfulness, and I could not
have chosen better: a child I can love as my own
a woman our family embraces with open arms
What wisdom can I offer these two, joined
together in love, driven by a commitment
to one another, to family, to shared vision?
Be your best selves, I want to say, approach
anger with tenderness, and pain with warmth
Hold fast to one another in a world that will
challenge you, and know that I will be there
behind you, a rock to your storm, and that
others who have gathered here will do the same
And know, above all, that we celebrate you
Marriage is a vessel, a beginning, an opportunity
It is a bowl in which to place your dreams and hopes
it is a coming together of values, histories, a blending
Let it always be your soft place to land – today
is a new beginning; may this blessing continue.