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Photo: C. Kammerer
In January my younger brother got married. I was the best man. Our older brother conducted the ceremony.

None of us are in the first blush of youth. Nearly thirty years earlier, my younger brother had served as best man at my wedding. Then twenty-one, I was the first of the three of us to marry and start a family. Since that day both of my other brothers had also married – although my younger brother’s first marriage fell apart early on. That did not stop him from being an excellent father to his daughter from that marriage.

In fact all three of us had children – eight between the three brothers. Seven of them were present for the ceremony. Only my oldest, who had just taken his first professional job after graduating from college, could not make it. It was the first time that all of the family had been together since my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary six years earlier.

Something remarkable happened in the intervening years. The children I remembered – my nieces, nephews, and sons – were gone, replaced by young adults. Even the youngest were on the edge of becoming grown-ups.

The first hint that things had changed happened the night before we left for the wedding. When I got home, I discovered that my middle son – who is now in college – had shaved off his scruffy beard and gotten a haircut. The child when I departed in the morning had been transformed into a handsome young man.

Closer to being Adults than Children

When the family got together, I discovered a similar change had occurred to my two nieces – both now were young women. One had finished college and looking for a “real” job. The second was in her junior year at college. My oldest two nephews were asking me about careers instead talking about of Go-bots and Pok-e-mon. My youngest nephews and youngest son were still in high school, but they, too, were closer to being adults than children.

Looking at that generation, that of our children, I knew this wedding was the last big show by my generation. My wedding and my younger brother’s wedding bookend my generation’s leading role in our family’s story. The next big family wedding would see our children replace us in that role.

That realization was bittersweet. Like the flowers, my brothers and I have blossomed. The seeds we produced are now ready to set forth: to germinate, to blossom into flower, and to create new seed. My brothers and I may soon fade – like last year’s blooms, but there is a magic in watching the next generation step into our role.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven:  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted" (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2).

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By Mark N. Lardas. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.


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