Promises To Keep


The day is cold and rainy—who can control the weather?—but no matter, we have gathered joyfully to celebrate the wedding of one of our own. Holding our breath, wiping our eyes, we watch this beautiful bride glide down the aisle on her father’s arm. She is the daughter of one of ‘our’ quilters, a beautiful child who grew up into a lovely young woman. We have watched her dance in the Nutcracker, we have followed her career through university and med school, and now here we are to celebrate her day. Customs vary, prayers are offered in different ways, but the universal wish of everyone here is that the couple at the altar live long and happy lives together.

A feeling of well being and nostalgia follows us as we drift from wedding to the reception area where everything has been planned with elegance and grace. Weddings take us to a place in life where everything is a celebration. And if there is a break in a father’s voice as he speaks of his daughter, or if  there is perhaps a tear in the bride’s mother’s eyes, we understand that they are thinking back to a time when they held a small girl child in their arms.

I felt as they are feeling now twenty one years ago, when both our sons were married. Going farther back in time, there was the day when Mike and I stood in my mother’s  rose garden at our own wedding reception. It has been nearly fifty years now, but I can still remember  how the roses filled the June air with fragrance and how the guests sipped champagne in tall, fluted gardens at tables set around the lawn. All was elegant—except for the muddy old  golf shoes that my dad tied to the back of the car in which we made our getaway!

Weddings do tend to bring memories to the surface. While music and dancing and the good companionship of our table swirls around me today, I remember the diverse ceremonies I have attended. There was the Japanese wedding—a very formal event during which the bride changed her kimono several times (to indicate her family’s standing) after which she and her new husband sat in total silence while speech followed speech. In total contrast, I remember the many gleeful horas I have danced with girl friends of our 40+ year old book club whenever a ‘book club child’ tied the knot.

But most of all, I remember the moment which always happens at a wedding: the exchange of vows.

Too much  has been written or said about marriage lately, and I won’t add any comment to that discussion. None of it really matters, anyway. What matters is that moment, the shining and glorious moment when time stands still and the universe holds its breath, the moment when two people look at each other and pledge their love.

Sometimes people write their own vows. Though I love the cadence of the old, traditional promise, I think that this is what one partner really says to the other: I trust myself to you for as long as we live. Youth and old age will find us together. Today we may have steak and tomorrow peanut butter… but who cares? We will hold hands across the table (and if there isn’t a table, there’s always the floor). We’ll hope for clear sailing, but if trouble comes, we can handle it together.  If one of us gets sick, the other will make chicken soup—or sit in the hospital waiting room for as long as it takes. For a day, a week, or eighty years, we will be a team. And at night, before we go to sleep, we will always say, “I love you.”

And it really doesn’t matter whether there are flowers and candles or whether the ceremony is conducted quietly by a Justice of the Peace, that magic moment is always there if the words are said with love. And there is so much love at this wedding today that the room fairly shimmers with magic.

Rain and chill today

Bride and groom are unconcerned…

They walk in sunlight.



About Maureen C. Wartski

I’m Maureen Wartski, writer, artist, wife, mother, grandmother; you can see that I have many of the bases covered. I was born in Ashiya, Japan, a (then) small town which lay cradled between sea and mountains. In the evenings, we would walk along the road that ran past Osaka Bay, and a great moon would rise out of the water to turn the world to silver. I’m told that my first words were, “Big moon!” All my life I have felt the tug to write something, draw something, put together something with fabric, string and color, and the urge to create has grown through the years. I suppose, then, that it’s a natural thing that this blog be full of the things that so many of you enjoy doing…drawing, making something with fabric, and writing. Yuri's Brush with Magic, my newest book for middle schoolers follows the adventures of a brother and sister, the magic of words, and the incredible magic of the natural world. I'd love to hear from you! You can send me a note at: My blog is here: Or friend me on Facebook!

5 responses »

  1. Maureen, having just attending the wedding of our neighbor’s son in Virginia, your lovely blog has special meaning and I am forwarding it to the parents of the groom to send on to the new couple.
    What memories come up are enchanting at this time of the emerging new year. Right on target, as usual! Can’t wait to see you both. Love Fran

  2. With so many marriages ending in divorce these days , I only hope theirs will withstand the pressures and have long and happy marriages as you(have) and I (had).
    You have such a way with words bless you. Dorothy

  3. Maureen,
    Delightful! Thanks especially for the paraphrase of wedding vows–your writer’s voice sang out loud and clear. I especially liked the reference to steak or peanut butter. You had me smiling and welling up with tears all in the same paragraph. Of course, the post guided me down my personal memory lane and reminded me how fortunate I am in my marriage. Thanks again!

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