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Ingrid Wolfaardt

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Two weddings, a birthday and a baby.

I stand on the high steps, overlooking the far Karoo on an autumn day, still and shimmering from heat that hangs over koppies and bossies. Everyone is smiling, their faces open, like vygies in the afternoon sun as they take the stairs, scattered with rose petals, for this great occasion and I consciously focus on being in the moment, I need to use each of my senses to imprint this in my mind and heart because I’ve lived long enough to know, such times are brief and at best, come in cycles. The wedding vows speak of this. There will be a better and for worse, there will be a richer and for poorer, there will be sickness and there will be health. This is life, we will dance with joy and we will weep from great sadness. We will build, but things too will break, it is inevitable and yet as we sit in the wonderfully wrought church of Prince Albert, with its exquisitely painted organ and carved wooden pews, we collectively hope, that the two young ones before us will always have more of the one than the other. That joy and laughter will exceed and outlast tears and pain.

As a family, we are in a time of celebration. There is much to be grateful for, most of it has little to do with our doing. Our daughters are beautiful women. They seem to attract the most amazing men and to our great delight, marry them. We are surrounded by loving friends and family, some who have literally travelled the breadth and length of the earth to be here and there is a cousin singing “Forever Young,” for them and for all of us, words sung more than three decades ago, sung at our wedding by this angel-voiced, child’s mother and you cannot but take stock of your relationships, of your life as the minister speaks encouragement and blessing, as the 7 month miracle, our one and only grandson, hangs onto the rings for dear life, not willing to let them go to the merriment of all, highlighting the caution, that such a covenant is not to be taken lightly and us, long-married ones, nod, without prompting. “Trou is nie perdekoop nie, “but it still is the best and most precious way of living this life, if one can find the character and the commitment to walk it together from start to finish.

And my mother in law and mother of almost eighty are with us too, both looking fabulous and after the bride and baby, probably the stars of the day. My mother has a royal styled fascinator on her head and silver dancing shoes on her feet, which she plans to wear at her birthday party within the week, then there is the groom’s grandparents, married 62 years, sprightly and holding hands, the grandfather who later will say Grace,and I see he is a man of humility and wisdom and I wonder how it must be for them to be here, witnessing their grandson’s marriage? Is it with apprehension or with a peace in their hearts because to my mind its the biggest decision I have ever made. It has totally shaped my life and theirs to be, I suspect.

And the festivities are to continue. A family luncheon and then a big tea party bash for my mother’s nearest and dearest, which is close on 80 folk and so we go from celebration to celebration, four generations all under one roof, but only for a time, that I know too, only for a time.

And there is the realisation that none of this can be repeated, replayed, replicated, fabricated, you name it, you cannot have it again but as a memory, a word and colour movie in your head, a smell and taste of rosemary and dust.

I have this saying in our family, which I have made my own, after a time of adversity in our family, that adversity usually comes uninvited, and so it is for us to make the happy times, to make them count too and not to be caught in the detail of whether the flowers will droop or the mains were served cold, in the end, these things count for little, but to embrace the huge healing and restorative and uplifting blessing that lies in the enjoyment and experiencing the experience, for it is this that we will remember, that we will hold onto, that will make us smile, in another contrary time that lies ahead.

Of this I am sure.


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    May 26th, 2014 @23:07 #

    Ingrid, this is absolutely beautiful. I have been seeing the photos on Facebook, fragments of this wonderful story, but this stitches the whole tapestry together. Thank you.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Ingrid</a>
    May 27th, 2014 @17:50 #

    Helen, such kind words coming from you...really appreciate. Dankie.


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