Memories Made and Kept

I’ve been a lot of things in my life: daughter, sister, girlfriend, wife, mother, student, and teacher, just to name a few. Add poet, writer, and crazy cat lady. Now I can add mother-in-law! I hope I won’t be like that one in the old Herman’s Hermits song (“the worst person I know”).

My son and his fiancée got hitched over the weekend, thus giving me a beautiful new daughter. The ceremony was in Laguna Beach, California, with most of the wedding-goers digging their toes in the beach sand.

As you can imagine, I #amnotwriting, but have been #traveling and #celebrating.

I try to be stoic or to keep it light when I can, so I was unprepared for the tears and the joy I felt at my son’s transformation into a married man and at gaining such a lovely and thoughtful daughter.

My new daughter and my son had asked me to write a poem for the “memorial table” she had planned for the celebration. They framed photographs of the grandparents who have passed away, including my father and both my in-laws. I asked for information about her grandparents so I could incorporate them into the poem.

Before Us


Those who have come and gone

before us

leave their imprint

in the details. Oil paint

and canvas, camera

always at hand

to memorize those they care for,

the stacks of photo albums,

offerings left behind.

Daily steak dinners for

beloved pets. Advice

offered with grace. Wartime

service, a sense

of humor and a sense

of duty born of justice.

Born of freedom.

Born of love.

All this, and so much more,

from those who have come

And gone before us.

I was thrilled when my new daughter gave me a necklace and a card with a poem for me that she had written.

How my father would have loved to be at the wedding!


Filed under #writerlife, Sightseeing & Travel

56 responses to “Memories Made and Kept

  1. Congratulations, Luanne. I wish the newly married pair much happiness.
    (Unlike you, I was prepared to cry, but managed to hold it off the tears–pretty much.) 🙂
    The memorial table is a lovely idea, and your poem fit it perfectly.
    I, too, wish my dad could have been at my daughters’ weddings.

    • I like that “pretty much” hahaha. During the ceremony, I teared up when she started to walk down the stairs to the beach with her dad. Then a few times at the reception. The only point I got a little emotional about my dad not being there was when my son told my mother that my father had told him before he died to marry Rachel. She came and told me and I hugged her.

      • Awww–it gets me teary-eyed, and I don’t even know any of them.
        My older daughter was seriously concerned that she would start crying at her own wedding. I made sure there were plenty of tissues around. My younger daughter made everyone cry at her sister’s shower when she gave a toast–so a legit concern. We’re criers. Hahaha.

  2. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! Congratulations, my friend!
    Sounds like you have managed to get a fabulous daughter-in-law, too, and that will make more beautiful memories for you and all of your family.
    I loved the poem – and I loved that they asked you to write one…can’t you just picture the “memories table” for the next generation?

    • She’s a treasure. And she and my son are so adorable together as they are both funny! Be careful about that table. I would rather be at the reception than on the table ;)! You should have heard me complaining about getting into that wedding gear though–dress, undergear (the biggest concern), hair and makeup by two talented young ladies. I didn’t think I would make it the whole night without a change, but I did and am so proud of myself!

  3. Oh, congratulations, Luanne! Your poem is poignant–I’ll bet there were damp eyes amid the joy, and wonderful memories amid the hope for the future… That’s a memento that I am sure will be shared over generations.

    • Thank you, Pam! There were a lot of damp eyes the whole night. I was dreading the mother-son dance because of being the “center of attention,” but we whispered a great conversation the whole time and I heard from a lot of people that they were weeping ;).

  4. Congratulations, Luanne! I loved all of the photos you shared on Facebook…but the poem…it’s the best!

  5. Congratulations and best wishes to your son and his bride. What a hapoy time! Your poem was splendid — no surprise there 🙂

  6. It sounds like a great start to a happy marriage. Your new daughter is kind and sensitive. Those are the best. Wonderful poem!

  7. Congrats, Luanne! So excited for you and your family. Loved the pictures on FB. xo

    • Thank you, Rudri! It was such a fun time, and it felt so good to see them both so happy and really thrilled with their marriage and how the wedding turned out both.

  8. Happy days. Lovely poem. Aren’t you all so lucky!!

  9. Such a lovely poem!! Congrats, Luanne, on your new status as mother-in-law! I hope you enjoy this role as much as I do! (Mine is already asking me when I can come again to visit them in Brooklyn! …I’m in Montreal.) Enjoy your wonderful celebrations And congrats to the lucky young couple!

    • Oh, that is music to your ears, isn’t it?! Yes, I am already loving my new role and enjoying my new daughter. Thank you so much, Ellie!

  10. You will be a fabulous mother-in-law, Luanne! The wedding was so beautiful, and I loved the service. Wonderful dinner, and we had some good visits with your friends. Your son and his bride are off to a good start in life. Thanks again for including us.

    • Aw, thank you, Carla! Wasn’t that adorable when the best man said they both mentioned that one of the things they loved about the other was their love of animals?! I’m sooooo glad you could come! Send me an email and tell me who you met at the wedding and all. xoxo

      • Yes, that was not surprising to me, though, since you instilled that in him. He married someone like you who has compassion. 🙂

        • My mother-in-law was finding stray dogs before I did, and then I picked up where she left off (before I started with cats). LOL It was funny how you and I looked at each other at that moment!

  11. Sounds like a moving time. Congratulations, Luanne.

  12. Congrats! I’m more of a pre-event crier. 🙂 Isn’t it great when our sons pick well?

    • LOL, I have never heard of a pre-event crier! hahaha Yes, it’s so important. And it makes me so happy to see how ideal they are for each other. Same lighthearted spontaneous types with great senses of humor, but with different skillsets. For instance, they are in the Bahamas right now and new daughter had to tell my son to keep his mouth shut in the marketplace and let her negotiate purchases. She said his style is this: Man says, “Sir, only $20 for you.” My son says, “I’ll give you $40.”
      So true. But my son is a wonderful cook and she is not at all. So all is well.

  13. Congratulations on your new daughter <3 What a wonderful time to be #amnotwriting! 🙂
    That was a lovely poem for the memorial. Such honor must increase the sense of family and togetherness. Touching.

    • Thanks, Joey. I am not stressed about not writing because it’s all been so good. But I do think I will have to get to writing sooner or later as I have very little left to send out for submissions!

  14. corinnetrowbridge

    Mazel Tov Luanne! I’m so happy for you and the gardener! Why is it, life’s beautiful moments seem to have a bittersweet taste? I think the Jewish sages knew that as well and always incorporate “The Good With The Bad” traditions like the breaking of the glass at a Jewish wedding. Your poem is beautiful and made me think of my dad as well. <3

    • I am sure that you think of him often now with him so recently gone and the newest grandbaby who looks like him. You are so right about the bittersweet. I think that’s what the wind was for–to remind us that there will be rough seas ahead at least occasionally (I hope only occasionally). I hope they keep all their experiences and training in mind during those times!

  15. Congratulations to you and those gorgeous children (well, not really children – adults now) 🙂 I absolutely love your poem xxxx

    • You’re right that they are gorgeous and they are no longer children. So excited for them in their life together ahead! Thank you so much about the poem, too, Dianne!

  16. Congratulations! It sounds like a great time to enjoy life!

    • Jenn, thank you so much! What a wonderful time! It’s an event that I am glad I was able to be around for and so glad it was able to happen for both of them.

  17. Congratulations, Luanne! I love that you wrote a poem for the celebration and for the memorial table. My favorite lines: “leave their imprint/in the details. Oil paint/and canvas, camera” – in the details. We as writers do that also. It’s so wonderful you have such a close relationship with your son and his new wife. A tribute to your love for him and them! 🙂

    • Theresa, yes, we do that! And my mother-in-law who was an artist. And my dad and she were always taking photos of all of us, trying to capture everything. They are really such an adorable couple. It was so much fun watching them together on this special day!

      • Luanne, I’m especially happy for you. In the past I have enjoyed a really rewarding relationship with a daughter-in-law and it is wonderful when it goes so well. And even though (unfortunately) I lost that when my son died, it makes me even more happy that you are enjoying it with your family. ❤️

  18. Congratulations Luann. Did your new daughter as you put it write this poem or did you? I like the poem. What a wonderful gesture it was to give you a necklace and a poem she wrote for you. I’m unmarried with no kids so I haven’t had the experience like you going through a son or daughter’s wedding. I would like to see some wedding pictures if that is possible. Not on Twiitter or Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat so I don’t know if it is possible. Congrats Again.

    • Crystal, this morning I posted a photo of the wedding canopy that was set up on the beach for the couple. You could take a look at that :).
      This poem is the one I wrote at the request of the kids for the “memorial table.” My new daughter wrote me a lovely poem in a card she gave me with the necklace, but I didn’t post that as I wasn’t sure she would like me doing that! Thank you so much for your congratulations! I am still so tired from all the festivities!

  19. What a lovely poem! So thoughtful to remember those who have come before — and also to have a poem in return from your new daughter. What a wonderful time!

    • Thanks so much, WJ. I wish you could have been there. I think you would have enjoyed it so much (although I suspect you had a lot of fun on your vacation in the opposite direction!).

  20. Congratulations on your son’s and daughter in law’s wedding going off without any rain, a lovely beach with sand to sink your toes into and some happy tears, Luanne!
    I imagine how much joy was there. <3 The poem about those who left before they were able to be part of the wedding was beautiful! I got teary eyed, thinking of how much love and extra joy would have been there with your Dad there. 🙂
    Sorry, I am playing a late weekend catch up. May first was a Monday, so this is my first weekend to visit. I have had a "ramped up" work schedule, with Spring meaning more auto parts going out.
    Hope the honeymoon is the best time with love growing each day. So cool that your father knew your son's wife before he passed away and predicted this happening. . .

    • Thank you so much, Robin. It was so beautiful–and most importantly the couple was so adorably happy. They are so darn cute together. Yes, my dad would have had such a wonderful time. He loved to dance so he would have been in his element. So sorry that your work schedule is more unless it means you get overtime (here’s hoping). The kids are on their way back from the Bahamas right now. They had a fantastic time, making friends with a Bahamian couple who showed them generous hospitality.

      • I am happy for you sharing the special details with me.
        Of course, this darling newlywed couple made friends in a totally new place! 🙂 It was great to have hosts to show them the sights.
        My Dad loved dancing, too. Mom was often a volunteer HS chaperone at her school. Dad always dressed up, she would wear a dress and nylons with high heels, too.
        So glad she never taught at MY High School! (Shrieks and horrors!)
        Yes, I get paid time and a half. I would gladly give it back to just work 40 hours. . . ha ha!

        • I love hearing about your dad and your mom too. Haha, no, that would have been terrible if she’d taught at your school! hahahaha! I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day today, Robin! xoxo

  21. What a beautiful poem. And what a beautiful way for your son and daughter-in-law to include you in their magical special ceremony. I’ve got tears in my eyes. Plus, I love Laguna Beach. 😎

    • Thank you, Pam. It was such a sweet idea! Laguna Beach was a fabulous place for the wedding. I wasn’t sure how it would work out, but everything was perfect. Except for that darn wind, but then it reminded me how perfect everything else was!

  22. That’s a beautiful and touching poem right there. Lovely!

  23. Luanne Im betting you would be an amazing mother-in-law, enjoyed reading the poem, it speaks volumes, our lives forever changed depending on who we meet and fall in love with. Creating our family journey, what a nice idea.

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