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You could have knocked me over with a feather…except that, since we’d just finished Thanksgiving dinner and I weighed more than I had that morning, I might have had a bit more in the way of balast. As we were going round the table, telling what was the best thing about the day (or what we were grateful for), we came to L’il Sis. Her face was lit up with a Cheshire Cat grin. She and The Boyfriend looked at each other, both hesitated and then L’il Sis piped up: “We’re getting married!”

Great cheering and clicking of glasses in toasts followed.Everyone was thrilled for the couple…and the Neighbor Girl, 71/2 years of age, announced that she would be the flower girl. “That would be lovely,” we all agreed. I suspect she had visions of a pretty dress, perhaps even sparkly shoes (even though she’s child prodigy and may have her PhD by age 16, she does enjoy dressing up in ‘girly things’.)

“The problem is,” explained L’il Sis, “that we are having a sort of low-key wedding…at the Donkey Sanctuary! We don’t really need a flower girl to carry flowers.”

I could tell the Neighbor Girl was somewhat crushed. “Well, maybe donkeys like flowers…”, I added.

Lil Sis gave me ‘the look’. I tried again: “Or you could carry a bunch of carrots for the donkeys!” I was trying to be helpful, ever the diplomat.

“The thing is, ” L’il Sis explained, “I’m not going to wear a traditional wedding gown, I’m not walking down the aisle and we’re not having the usual service. And we will write our own vows. And I don’t have my engagement ring yet since we’re designing our own rings.”

The Neighbor Girl seemed mollified when assured she would indeed get to be at the wedding, whatever form it took.

I should have expected this, really. My kids have always been ‘different’ with a strong hippie bent. I blame this, in large part,on the way I raised them. Chickens coming home to roost and all…my years in Berkeley certainly made their mark — on all of us.

During our gleeful celebration at the dinner table, we phoned Crazy D to tell him the news. He had planned on coming to our dinner until he came down with a terrible cold and was almost comatose on his couch at home. When L’il Sis reached him and told him the news, he was thrilled for L’il Sis and The Fiance. He could hear us chattering and clinking glasses and felt badly that he was missing the fun. But, truth be told, we didn’t want his germs. And he perked up with the happy news that they would be doing a ‘drive-by’ on their way back to the city with turkey leftovers. “Thank God,” he said, sounding relieved.”I’ve been sick for days, my girlfriend is away in Europe on work, and I haven’t the energy to stand, let alone feed myself!”

Crazy D was particularly impressed when told that the ceremony was to be at the Donkey Sanctuary with a Zen monk (female) doing the ceremony. To Crazy D, this harkened back to his short but dedicated time on ‘The Path To Enlightenment’. Things got even better from his perspective when he learned that the Zen monk has a husky dog that would be coming with her from Montreal. He piped up immediately (from what sounded like his death bed) to offer her the hospitality of his home for her stay. It was a win-win as far as he was concerned: a Zen monk AND a dog!!

Wanting to know further wedding details, I queried them. “I’ve heard other people have had lovely weddings at the Donkey Sanctuary,” I offered. “I think they can set up chairs, the whole thing. It’s a beautiful setting.”

“No chairs, no aisle. I refuse to walk down a bleeping aisle!” said L’il Sis. “The donkeys can stay. I’m sure Groucho (her Dominican rescue dog with the broken ear and oddly angled leg) will love them. If the management gets huffy about us having no chairs and aisle, we may actually end up having a ‘gorilla ceremony’ in a field or in a donkey pasture. Who knows? Who cares?”

“Oh, I almost forgot about Groucho!” I exclaimed. “Will he be the Ring Bearer?”

“Again, Mom, not a formal service. But I will put a cute bow tie on him.”

“Of course you will…”

The plan is to have a small dinner for attendees in town at the cafe turned restaurant/bar in which the kids all spent their leisure teenaged years. Back then, it was called “Acid Sweetness’. I didn’t want to know why… I’m afraid I already did!

I never expected that any of my children would go through the formality of marriage after seeing my disastrous one to their father. I did hope they’d find life partners and live with them. Fine by me. I also don’t care if I have grandchildren and they don’t want any, so we’re all on the same page there.

I was beginning to worry that L’il Sis would not find a partner and she, of all my kids, seemed the one to want that the most. I couldn’t be happier that she has found (and it was pretty much ‘love at first sight’) a lovely, sensitive, supportive , talented man with whom to follow their dreams together. She waited a long time but he was worth the wait.

The only slight complaint I have is that they told Gill the wonderful news first via Skype the day before our dinner. Now Gill is gloating ever so slightly that she was first to know. Usually I find things out first and blab to everyone else. But I’m happy to give her this one…it’s such happy news, there’s lots to share!