This morning my family had a large and leisurely breakfast sitting on the lanai of our apartment. The sea lapped at the wall within spitting distance, the waves broke on the reef about 100 metres away and beyond them the spouts of a large pod of whales shot periodically up into the morning sunshine. We ate eggs and bacon, or at least some of us did, and fruit and porridge and muffins and coffee, just the six of us and Clemency's two sisters. Later in the day our family increases: the boundaries break to enlarge and enfold themselves again around the beautiful young woman who has chosen to spend the rest of her life with my son Nick. This is one more of those life changing events which have happened in our family on about a monthly basis for the last couple of years.
We arrived here last Monday. We picked up a big black vehicle of the type the Americans call a minivan, although there is nothing vanlike or mini about it, and drove out of Honolulu to Hau'ulu, about 40 minutes north on the windward coast. Here we have a three bedroom apartment above an artist's studio, everything fresh and neat and comfortable and spacious. Over the course of the last week I and my son in law Scott have taken turns to drive the big black Dodge completely around the island of Oahu and more times than I can remember into Honolulu. We have been to the memorial at Pearl Harbour and to a good number of palm fringed beaches. We have been to a luau where Nick performed a hula solo in front of about 500 people. Some of us have snorkelled amongst the turtles in the open ocean. We went to one of the restaurants owned by Robert De Niro, Nobu in Waikiki, where I ate what is very possibly the best meal of my life. And yesterday all this activity found a focus when we stood on a lawn beside a beach and rehearsed the ceremony which will occur in just a few hours time.
This wedding has been a long time in the making: Nick and Charmayne have planned every detail meticulously. The clothing and food and music are all prepared. The form of service was long ago thought about and selected and committed to paper; but yesterday when the words were said aloud for the first time was a hearty stopping moment.
After the rehearsal we retired to a lovely restaurant set right on the beach for an institution as American as the minivan: a rehearsal dinner. We had another great meal, before Nick, Charmayne and the two fathers spoke. It was simple and sincere. Nick and Charms gave carefully selected gifts to the two people, both friends of many years standing, who will support them by acting as attendants. Then we retired home to sleep and prepare. Today the sky is cloudless and the wind has faded to nothingness. Catherine is singing scales to prepare for the song she will sing, and soon I will go over, one more time, the intricacies of a Hawaiian wedding license. We move about, ironing, blogging, cleaning, talking. We can mask the tide of emotion by laughter and jokes and activity, at least to some extent, but there is no escaping the seriousness of what we will all commit ourselves to today, or the joy with which we will do it.