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Rites of Passage

The “gang” with the bride in front

This weekend I had the honor and privilege to officiate a wedding.  The best part was that the bride was one of the girls my daughter grew up with.  It is a joy to see them “all grown up” and functioning in the world as strong, competent women.

We were lucky to live in a neighborhood with natural boundaries.  Many of the residents grew up here and came back to live in their parent’s homes.  There were a lot of kids my daughter’s age, and she knew them all.  Because of the natural boundaries my daughters childhood was a lot more like mine than many of her peers.  The kids ran freely through the neighborhood all summer long.  They were back and forth between houses, cutting through yards and “exploring” in the overgrown “woods”.

The officiant and maid of honor 🙂

The girls formed close ties, and maintained them into their adulthood.  The one whose family moved away came back for the wedding.  The one who is a little less socially inclined drove in to town.  The one who got married first (at the Justice of the Peace) found a sitter for the baby so she could party with the gang.  This was an EVENT, not to be missed.

The bride was determined to have a great party.  As the maid of honor, my daughter was very involved, so I’ve been hearing stories since the date was chosen.  The bride invited people to come in costume.  She had her dress specially made to her specifications and assigned each bridesmaid a color/character.  She kept the guest list under 100, just the right people.  She was also pretty serious about the marriage thing.

The other “single Mom” of that pack of girls

I take the responsibilities of being a minister seriously.  Vows are a big deal for me and the words spoken in sacred space carry weight.  I had several conversations with the couple, not just about what they wanted in a wedding, but about their expectations of a marriage.  I made sure they knew what they were going to promise before they had to stand up and make those promises.

I haven’t performed a lot of weddings, but I’ve done more than a few.  The thing is when I get asked it’s usually because the couple’s beliefs don’t quite fit into a standard religious framework.  They want a ceremony, a ritual, a rite of passage.  They don’t want a church, or a synagogue or a stranger.  I’ve had a bride and groom hand me a ritual they wrote and ask me to do it.  I’ve had a Wiccan wedding in my tradition’s circle.  I wrote two for myself.  This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked to do something that is open enough for the couple but that won’t offend the more traditional family.

The groom and his Mom

It was a rite of passage for them, but it was also a rite of passage for me.  These are the girls I watched grow up now building lives of their own.  The officiant at a wedding blesses the union and then sends the couple on their way.  That’s what the Moms (and in the bride’s case her Dad) are doing as well.

Karina Karina

Happy Birthday Karina!

Happy Birthday Karina!

My little girl turned 21 years old this weekend.

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Coming Home

Coming Home

She continues to be such a delight.

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I’m so proud of her and all she’s doing with her life. But it’s also a little sad.

 

 

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She's always wanted a dog

She’s always wanted a dog

Seems like yesterday she was crawling into my lap.

 

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She tried her hand at music.

She tried her hand at music.

And happy to jump in with both feet!

And happy to jump in with both feet!

So I took a little stroll

And found choir and friends

And found choir and friends

down memory lane.

She's always been a take charge kind of girl

She’s always been a take charge kind of girl

She know's what she wants and she'll see that she gets it!  (Buddy's "the Cake Boss" signature.

She knows what she wants and she’ll see that she gets it! (Buddy’s “the Cake Boss” signature.)

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Now she's a Baker and moving her career forward

Now she’s a Baker and moving her career forward

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Happy Birthday Karina!0425142114c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduate

proud Mom

This weekend we attended the commencement ceremony for my daughter Karina.  She graduated from the baking and patisserie program at Le Cordon Bleu.  It was a grand event with speakers who talked about passion and working your butt off, both essential elements of the culinary industry.  She’s very proud of herself, and she should be.  She has dreamed about being a baker since about the 7th grade.

Since she’s my baby it’s also another milestone for me.  She is out from under the wings of academia and all alone in that cold cruel world.  It doesn’t seem like such a big change for her.  Part of the program requires an extensive externship experience.  Karina found a job that hired her and was happy to do the externship paperwork on the side.  She’s working as the lead baker at Brasa in St. Paul. (http://www.brasa.us) It’s a restaurant that prides itself on using local and seasonal ingredients.  They cater to accommodating the gluten free crowd so she’s learned a lot about that.  The deserts turn over seasonally, along with the sides, but she’s not leaving school to go find a job in her field.  She has one.

Hopefully she’s a little nicer to her customers now than she was then.

Actually she has two jobs in her field as she’s also waitressing at Fat Lorenzo’s a pizza and Italian eatery in South Minneapolis (http://www.fatlorenzos.com).  She loves being on her own in the kitchen, but she also enjoys the social aspects of front of the house work.  Karina has visions of someday opening her own bakery and I’m sure this experience will help her.

My little girl has always been a go getter. I remember her as a toddler always eager to help out.  Always wanting to do more.  Of course she had to do more than many kids her age because she had a brother with special needs.  I used to whisper to her as a babe in arms “You will walk, you will walk early, and once you start walking you’ll never be carried again.”  Since I stuck to my guns on that one she became very adept at charming other adult friends into picking her up and hauling along.  Those early social skills and charm continue to aid her in her new adult life.

I didn’t believe her when she first started talking about wanting to be a baker.  Her brother is a morning person.  He’s up at the slightest hint of morning with a smile on his face and eager for what the day brings.  Karina has always been more like her mother the night owl.  Getting her up in the morning for school was a chore and getting her to go to bed at a reasonable hour even worse.  She never had a problem on those special occasions (like New Years) when she was allowed to stay up.  In fact she would start looking for reasons to get an exemption to bedtime.  I suspected the reason she got into choir was as much for the evening concerts, and subsequently delayed bedtime as it was for the music.

Minnetonka Chamber Choir 2009

So when Karina first started talking about being a baker I did the most horrible thing a mother could ever do.  I laughed at her.  YOU?  You know that bakers are up and at work at 4am don’t you?  You really want a job, a life, that requires you to be functional at that ungodly hour of the morning?  You’ve got to be kidding!  She told me quite succinctly that she could sleep when she got off work and meet the morning from the end of a late night.   Then she turned on her heel and slammed the door of her bedroom.  I eat my words as I listen to her rattle off her intentions to be at work early at 4am or that she over slept and didn’t get in until 6am.  I also note that she does agree to go out dancing knowing that at 2am when the club closes she can pack a change of clothes and head over to work for a really early start.

All focus in competition

When she decided to go to Le Cordon Bleu we knew there would be a mad dash to find the money.  Karina entered a cooking competition, culinary rather than baking.  She won a scholarship.  She found jobs in the industry.  She worked with financial aid.  She got another scholarship based on recommendations of merit from her employers and teachers.  She hustled, took out student loans, applied for pell grants and managed to get through pretty much on her own.  The experience of juggling the money for her education will also be a huge benefit to her when she decides to go into business for herself.

As much as she’s done on her own, Karina still gives me credit as an inspiration.  I cook.  I’ve cooked for dinner parties.  I’ve cooked to save the budget from the expense of eating out.  I’ve cooked for weekend conference events.  I’ve even brought Karina along as my assistant in the kitchen.  She’s got a precision that I lack, which is why she’ll be a better baker than I ever was.

Dreaming big while seeing Buddy from Cake Boss

I think, part of the appeal of baking is the competition with her mother isn’t as great.  In baking she’ll have to take on my father, the north woods king of bread.  A loaf of his gets $50 in the DFL fundraising auction they hold every year.  My mother is no slouch as a cook either.  I tease that their retirement home is really a bed and breakfast because they host so much company.

My sister sent a card to congratulate Karina.  Hands down it was the best.  The card is unremarkable, it’s what my sister wrote along with her love.   “Finally there is someone in the family who REALLY knows how to cook!”

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