My maternal grandparents had come from Stockdale, Pennsylvania. My godparents had arrived from Charleston, South Carolina.
The night before our wedding, my father and uncles roasted a lamb, Greek-style, on a spit in the back yard. My mom, aunts, and grandparents prepared spanakopita, stuffed grape leaves, greek salad with feta cheese and a host of other yummy dishes, and of course Greek cookies like finikia, baklava and diples. There was Greek music and line dancing in our big basement. (The Greeks really know how to get ready for a wedding. There is lots of merriment, dancing, eating, and drinking!)
I remember when I told my first boss, Bob at Heritage Floral, that I wanted to get married on Mother’s Day, May 10, 1981. He almost had a melt down! I forgot it was the biggest floral day of the year! Bob finally calmed down when I told him I wanted white silk roses in my bouquet and my bridesmaids’. Silk flowers were the big thing back then. There were real flowers on the reception tables of course and Bob did a spectacular job. Having silk flowers made it easier for Bob to do the bouquets ahead of time, a great time saver in this case!
My wedding was fabulous. Have you ever been to a Greek Orthodox wedding? It is very beautiful and symbolic. My favorite part is the exchanging of the crowns, or Stefana, which symbolizes the unity of the couple and presence of Christ who blesses and joins the couple. The Stefana are exchanged three times, back and forth, by the godparent and this symbolizes a sealing of the union. I still have my crowns to this day and actually had them framed; they are real beauties.
The reception was downstairs in our church hall. Family friends catered the dinner and I swear, everyone had a half chicken on their plate! Greek dancing began shortly after and during the first dance, my father showered us with dollar bills for good luck. My little cousins (who I thought would keep the money!) swept up all the change and bills and that is what we honestly used for spending money while on our honeymoon at Peak N’Peek resort.
The reason I wanted to get married on Mother’s Day was because it was exactly one year to the day that I met Jim. When I asked my priest, Father John, if it was ok to be married on Mother’s Day, he said yes. At our ceremony, I remember him saying it was a day to honor all women and was a fitting day for a wedding.
By the following year on my first anniversary, I was pregnant with my daughter Michelene. She as born on August 7, 1982. My son John came a few years later on January 9, 1986.
The significance of Mother’s Day as a wedding day has never been lost on me. I love being a mother to two beautiful kids and a grandmother to Gavin. I have been blessed with a great husband who has been willing to do the hard work of staying together. It has not always been easy but we have persisted through the good times and the not so good.
I believe the secret to a long relationship is respect. And a dedication to love and cherish the other person, no matter what. Being a mom is just the bonus to a good marriage.
Happy Mother’s Day to you, my beloved friend! Have a wonderful day!