Wings (A Wedding, Part 1)

They got married, then engaged, and then had a wedding – schedule flexibility was required to accommodate the bride’s family coming from the United States.

When The Girl left for Turkey back in 2011, none of us really knew what to expect – other than that she was embarking on a tremendous, brave and life changing personal adventure. She built a network, found her tribe. She grew professionally. She found love… and a partner… and now a husband.

Studley accompanied me, and my ex-husband EJ was joined by his wife, Fahima and her daughter Alexandra. We traveled and worked as a cohesive team, supporting the couple, and sharing expenses along the way. If you had asked me after the divorce if this would be possible, i’d have put it in the realm of “plausible, but unlikely”. But it worked…

i’d met Metin, my daughter’s fiancé, several times – and have shared many silly moments with him on Skype. We didn’t meet his family until we arrived for the marriage, performed at their home by the Imam. Still a bit jet-lagged, I managed to hoark up a few words in Turkish*“Oğlunuz çok iyi bir adam!” (Your son is a very good man!) and “Çok memnun oldum!” (Nice to meet you!)

His parents were warm and welcoming, and as soon as the Imam arrived, the service began. It was fast, and in Arabic, and just like that, they were married. Happy tears and smiles… and then it was time forthe engagement party.

The engagement – Henna Night (Kına Gecesi) – is traditionally hosted by the bride’s family. Under the circumstances, Metin’s family stepped up and handled all arrangements! A glorious meal, served to the families and a few friends on their terrace as the sun set. My daughter had placed several of her bilingual friends strategically around the table to serve as translators.

Metin’s mother, Haava, sat across from me – and most of our communication took place via smiles and pantomime. She is all of four feet tall and spends a lot of her time hugging and kissing everyone within reach! She assured me that The Girl would be loved and cared for as their own daughter. i thanked her for loving my daughter as her own.

When the engagement ceremony started, i got a bit of a surprise. As dictated by tradition, the groom’s father asked my ex-husband if he consented to give his daughter to their family. Feeling the hairs on my neck stand up, i smiled and shot a glance at my daughter. She smiled and shrugged and whispered “whatever…” and the celebration rolled onward as her father said “Evet!” (Yes!)

The women disappeared to the other side of the terrace, lighting candles and sparklers, and The Girl was given a black lace robe and a red veil. She and Metin were seated in the center of the terrace. Music started, and the girls danced in a circle, singing along… The words passed down through centuries.

These are songs signifying the bride leaving her family for a new family. Ages old, going back to the tradition of arranged marriages, these songs are designed to make the bride cry. İ might have shed a few tears myself that night…

YÜKSEK YÜKSEK TEPELERE – HIGH HIGH MOUNTAIN TOPS

Yüksek yüksek tepelere ev kurmasınlar – They shouldn’t build homes high up on the mountain tops

Aşrı aşrı memlekete kız vermesinler – They shouldn’t give girls to faraway lands

Annesinin bir tanesini hor görmesinler – They shouldn’t neglect the mother’s one and only

Babamın bir atı olsa binse de gelse – If my father had a horse, he could jump on it and come

Annemin yelkeni olsa açsa da gelse – If my mother had a sail, she could open it and come

Kardeşlerim yollarımı bilse de gelse – If my siblings knew the way, they could come

Uçan da kuşlara malum olsun – May the birds carry the message

Ben annemi özledim – I miss my mother

Hem annemi hem babamı – Both my mother and father

Ben köyümü özledim – I miss my village

Henna

*As any traveler trying to get by, i have managed to learn a few words and phrases in Turkish – but mostly related to food and beverage. For this trip? It was absolutely necessary to move beyond ordering beer!

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29 thoughts on “Wings (A Wedding, Part 1)

    • Hi Cheryle — yes, very big news! They were engaged in January, and decided to just get the wedding done this summer. Very exciting, very happy, very tired! Been home a week, and then had a business trip all this week. i need some serious rest!

    • It was a wonderful whirlwind – they are so beautiful together! i knew i loved him before the wedding, but watching him handle the details of a huge party? He’s a rock star!

    • They did a beautiful job of blending old and new, of American and Turkish… It was all theirs. Some surprises for her Turkish family and friends? The fact that two divorced parents could celebrate together without drama…. apparently that is unheard of! 🙂

  1. Nice post. I’ve missed reading your shizzle and you come out from hiding with this beauty. Congrats all around. Glad you made it work with the ex. It certainly could have gone horribly wrong.

    I’m having dinner with blogfather on Wednesday evening. He’ll be here in NYC. I don’t think I’ve sat at a table with him for three or four years. Long time coming.

    • i’ve been slammed since the kitchen renovation started in April. Sister’s wedding in May, European cruise in June, wedding prep in July, and now the grand finale! i was back from Turkey for a week, then had to spend this week in California on business – which is the only reason i was able to get something written. On a damn plane! More to come now that things have settled down a little….

      Very happy you and the Blogfather will have a chance to catch up! Saw him in Barcelona in June, and he’ll be coming by Chez daisyfae during his US tour this month! Cannot wait!

    • Yep. You probably remember her as a giggling 4 year old kid, watching you eat Milk Bones and hoisting her little brother up to the ceiling by one ankle! She’s all growed up now… but still remembers your visits quite fondly!

    • It was emotional enough for me during the party without understanding the words to the song… Metin warned me – said it almost made him cry! Reading the words in English when i finally tracked down the song? Oy!

      At the same time? i am proud of both of my children for making deliberate choices regarding the direction of their lives. Not doing the easy thing, defaulting to what ‘happens’ (which is pretty much what i did…). They are both brave and adventurous, and as a mother i couldn’t be happier that they are doing their own thing!

  2. Well i’ll be damned, congrats to the girl and her new partner and to mom for doing a damn fine job of raising a daring, intelligent, and fearless woman…

    • Been a helluva summer – and it’s not quite over yet! Going to take the month of September to recover…

      I’m incredibly proud of both of my children… lives of deliberate intent. Making choices, taking risks, thinking things through (or making it up on the fly). They are out in the world being who they choose to be. i could not be happier that they are on their respective ways!

      Going to head to the asshat lounge soon to catch up. i’ve missed my blogmates! 🙂

    • Thank you! For now, Google Translate is my friend, so i’m pretty sure you got that right! i’ve had a few FB message conversations with Metin’s brothers wife – and it turns out Google Translate leaves a lot to be desired, but i’ll get better at it! Turkish is a tough language… Thankful for Ataturk’s insistence in moving to a western alphabet or it would have been much harder!

    • Surprising emotional roller coaster – but all is good! i was surprised at how many times i cried – i’m not usually one prone to tears, but i was just so damn happy!

  3. Weddings seem to bring out the traditions in all humans. Go to a different culture and you’re bound to find a few new ones. When my human was doing research for a historical novel set in Ukraine he found some unique ones. Example – one of the rituals at the era was for the groom to take a white hanky to the marriage bed and to display the blood-stained cloth as a sign of his brides purity outside his abode the next day. Doubt that would work today. Probably would have never worked in Hollywood.

    • Yeah… that one is unlikely to survive in the modern world! My initial reaction to the ‘giving our daughter to his family’ bit was to bristle – but realized later that it is simply the same tradition we use when the bride’s father (or parents) walk her down the aisle…

      Some differences, but so many similarities… i learned a lot this summer!

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