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November 12, 2003
How do you get that little face in there? I type to my daughter. Before she can answer, I see a yellow face icon and click on it. A bilious-looking round yellow face appears in our IM box.

You got it, she writes, and sends me a blue fish.

Where did you get the fish? I ask, still not getting it.

It comes with my wallpaper, she types back. Her box is filled with seahorses.

Somehow, mine is filled with cats that all look like What's-Her-Name. A loud meow issues from the machine on occasion -- after an initial week of getting up everytime I heard it to look around for a cat trapped in a closet somewhere, I now understand that it's mine. I still don't know what makes it sound, though. There seems to be no pattern to it. So maybe it really is What's-Her-Name.

I see an icon for "chat" and click on it. Suddenly I am in a larger box. It tells me I can invite people, so I invite my two daughters. One shows up. After some more clicks on her part, the other one appears. We chat about my terrible cold and about what I might wear to Corinna's wedding. I'm going to wear something really bright and pretty, I've said ever since the engagement was announced. I always wear clerical attire at weddings, because I'm always the officiant. But I'm not performing this one.

Still, when it came time to order, I couldn't help myself: the dress I chose is navy blue, and very plain.

They study it online. "You might change your mind when the wedding gets closer," Anna says tactfully.

Her sister agrees. "It's a little plain."

"Show some cleavage, mom," one of them types.

"Cleavage?" I'd forgotten I had any.

"Yeah, if you've got'em, flaunt 'em!"

"Well," I type, "mine are a little long."

"Push-up bra," a daughter counsels.

"I'd look silly."

We shall see.

I will sit in the congregation with Q. Our friend Paul will perform the ceremony. I won't be in the least authoritative. I will cry if I want to. Perhaps between now and then I will discover some cleavage; if not, it seems that science can now create some.

Everybody has turning points, and one of the best things about them is that somebody else runs them. You just show up and turn. They are moments when the wider world and your own smaller one intersect, when you move publicly from one place to another, changing status, or watching someone you love change status. With every turning point, the whole world changes a little. The public celebration of love and family ennobles and delights everyone in attendance, reinvigorates their own commitments. It bears immediate fruit in the world, right then and there.

There is a little swirl at the hem of the navy blue dress that I thought, at the time, looked somewhat flirty. Maybe not flirty enough. But then, I'm not the bride. I'm just the mom. Thanks be to God.
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