My son Ryan was shy almost from the day he was born. He was the type of baby who clung to mommy, burying his face when someone looked directly at him, hiding when anyone new came close.
As a toddler, he was the kid hiding behind mommy’s legs, too shy to answer the most basic questions like what his name was and how old he was even though he certainly knew the answer.
I remember one time walking through a store that had mannequins. I suddenly realized Ryan was hiding his face from them even though he was old enough to know they weren’t real. Yes, he was that shy.
Well, many years have passed since those days, and I know Ryan has made a conscious effort to shed his shyness and be more outgoing. He’s a software engineer who has, with practice, become comfortable interacting with coworkers and even conducting presentations to clients. Nonetheless, in my mind, he would always be Shy Ry.
So you can imagine my surprise when I learned Ryan had accepted a request to officiate a friend’s wedding. I hoped the happy couple had reasonable expectations.
I should mention that when Ryan was 6-years-old, one of his older cousins was getting married and asked if Ryan would be the ring bearer. We had to tell that cousin to find someone else, knowing Ryan would never be able to walk down the aisle with everyone looking at him. It just wouldn’t happen.
So fast forward 20+ years and Ryan, at age 27, found himself committed to officiating a wedding for one of his good friends from college. And to top it off, it would be a surprise to everyone except the bride and groom and their parents.
Of course, Ryan had never officiated a wedding. So he did what anyone would do. He went on Google and searched how to become an officiant. He found an official website and got ordained. He then spent a few months writing the perfect ceremony and honing his delivery.
When the big day came, everyone could see Ryan was in the wedding party. After all, he was wearing the suit and posing with the group for photos. But what they didn’t know was that Ryan was to be the master of ceremonies.
The venue was filled with about 150 people, many of them mutual college friends of Ryan and the bride and groom. When it was time to start the ceremony, Ryan calmly walked up to the front of the room. He said the looks of shock and disbelief from friends were priceless.
The ceremony went smoothly, exactly as planned. Ryan said it lasted about 20 minutes and got laughs in all the right places. He’d tucked more than a few funny lines in it, with the couple’s permission, and even ad-libbed a few when the moment was right.
The couple exchanged their vows and their rings. Ryan set up the traditional glass, which the groom then stomped. Amid shouts of “Mazel Tov” Ryan said, “By the power vested in me by the State of Florida and the internet, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Tyler, you may kiss your bride, Temma.” Then it was off to the reception.
If Ryan had any doubts about his performance, he said they were erased when after the obligatory photos, he entered the reception hall and got a standing ovation and loud cheers from all the guests. He could not believe it.
The happy couple and their parents were extremely appreciative. As for Ryan, he was just thrilled he didn’t make any mistakes and ruin their special day. He says it was an experience and an honor he’ll never forget. And this mom now knows for sure, her once shy, little boy has come out of his shell in a way she never could have imagined.