Amidst the hustle and bustle of preparations, I managed to get a little time alone with John last Thursday. We went to Novena Church together to go for confession and had lunch and dessert at Novena Square. It was the first time in a very long time that we got to spend brother-sister bonding time and it was lovely.
The day before the wedding (Friday), I changed my cell phone’s wallpaper to this photo of 4-year old John holding a bowl of home-grown tomatoes:
And at least three times that morning, when I was on the way to church to meet my mom and the caterer, tears welled up and threatened to spill down my cheeks as I looked at that photo. My heart was just too full to make sense of why I wanted to cry. I hadn’t had time to think very much about John getting married, but deep in my heart and subconsciousness, I must have been feeling a lot of things. After all, the newborn babe that I had greeted outside the delivery room 25 years ago was going to be a bridegroom and a husband!
If John had been the person who triggered my tears on Friday, it was Cathy who had that effect on me on the actual wedding day. Here was a woman who, forever afterwards, will not be just another woman, but a full member of our family… and my sister. And I just knew what an awesome privilege and responsibility I had to love her just as I have loved John all my life. I will love and cherish her as the person my brother loves the most in this world.
Last year at my wedding, I had no chance at all to catch up with my cousins who flew in from the U.S.A., Malaysia and Indonesia. Happily, as I’m not the bride this time around, I was able to spend some time catching up with them.
It still feels surreal to me at times that the runny-nosed toddlers that I used to carry around and baby-sit have grown up into towering and strapping young men and lovely young ladies.
As packed as the weekend was with John’s wedding and with family gatherings, I made it a point to get some alone time with Jackie whom I get to see only once in a few years. We managed to have almost 7 hours together during which we just hung out at my place and talked…and talked…and talked. Ever since my last visit to Irvine California, I’d been grateful to find that with Jackie, we never need any preliminaries and can just plunge right into the deepest and most personal topics.
The Halim cousins have always been a close group, and that bond was as evident as ever during this weekend. With different cousins all over the world, John’s wedding was a rare occasion for us to meet up. Because I’m the oldest by far, I’ve never really been part of the ‘play-group’. But all my cousins have always shown great affection and deference to me as the big sister, and as the big sister, I’m just chuffed to see how high and happy my cousins were to all hang out together again.
“Halim Cousins International” rock!