Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Re - Adjusting, Doing, Viewing, and Remembering

This afternoon's snack when what I really wanted was something carb-y, sugary, crunchy, chocolaty and and oh so bad for me. This is crunchy with some sweetness, but not my mind's first choice.

Yesterday afternoon Laura and I had a long conversation about many things, but mostly about the changes we have both been making in the new year. Hence the above photo of my afternoon nibbling.

One of the things Laura was bemoaning is that many of her friends are turning with up engagement rings and wedding plans and she's feeling envious. She wants that proposal and she wants it now, even if she recognizes that the timing would not be the greatest considering she's working full time at the university and working on her MBA at the same time.

The heart wants what the heart wants. Right now my heart wants a pile of gooey fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip and pecan cookies. Laura wants an engagement ring.

She talked me down from the cookie-lust and I pointed out to her that not only would the timing suck for her life plans if she got engaged or married right now, but it was responsible and respectful that her long time boyfriend Ian waited to propose. He's not in any position to support a family, he's still working hard towards his career goals and has some past mistakes he must take care of first.

We ended up having a funny conversation where I reminded her that planning a wedding could be an extraordinarily stressful affair. I asked her if she was really ready for that level of crazy and then told her about my wedding, warts and all, my mother taking over the planning as if it was her own wedding and driving me around the bend over every small decision and that was before things started going hatefully haywire in the arrangements.

I'd told Jim I didn't want a big wedding, in fact it mattered little me. I would have been content to marry him in the parking lot of the local Piggly-Wiggly barefoot and wearing a croaker sack for a dress. He said he wanted a big church wedding, my mother pounced on that idea and away we went.

After two weeks of trying on dresses in a fleet of high end dept stores and bridal shops I ordered a reasonably priced one from J.C.Penney's, one I could afford. All the dresses had started to look the same to me by that point, giant frosted cupcake-looking affairs that cost way too much. Plus I was trying to keep costs down for my wedding party attendants. The catalog had bridesmaids dresses in the color I wanted that coordinated with my wedding dress. I ordered my dress, veil and a flower girl dress for my daughter from my first brief marriage, Beth, My maid of honor ordered her dress at the same time, from the same catalog, store, etc.

Two months later, we keep getting messages that my maid of honor Kay's dress was back ordered, back ordered, back ordered before getting a cancellation notice. Kay required a size 20 or 22 plus sized dress, which was one of the reasons I went with those particular dresses, because they came in an entire line of plus sizes. Four months left before the wedding and we were left scrambling. After consulting a seamstress, combing many other stores we finally found an acceptable substitute at a local bridal shop. But it had to be ordered. The bridal shop assistant started snipping that we were cutting it way too close ordering the dress a mere four months before the wedding. Apparently back almost 29 years ago you needed to order any dresses from the shops a good six months in advance.

A week before the wedding, no maid of honor dress. I'm freaking out, plus my mother is constantly trying to make me make decisions on things like which color netting the birdseed for throwing as we leave should be, things I don't care about and tried to delegate to her.

A day before the wedding. The dress arrives but needs to be slightly altered. They do the alteration while we wait. But the seamstress has snagged the material, creating a long laddered run in the light knit material that starts at the underarm and runs nearly to the waist. When I complain that they've ruined the maid of honors dress a day before my wedding I'm told tough titty, it was a cheap dress and they could not be responsible for that! Just about hyperventilated and passed out! The dress was several hundred dollars, not cheap at all in that time. We decided it was too late to do anything else and my maid of honor went with the dress with the run under the arm, like cheap pantyhose when you've been dancing barefoot in them on gravel.

The morning of the wedding Kay and I went to have our hair and makeup professionally done at the salon we both love. My hairdresser's sister died in the night, so I ended up with someone entirely different, who ignored my requests for the same style my usual guy did. I ended up with a hairstyle I didn't much like with my veil mashed onto my head at a weird angle and sewn to my scalp.

And then we get to the church and instead of wearing the dress that echoed the cut and color of my bridesmaids dresses that we'd picked out together my mother is wearing satin, a fancy red satin low cut formal dress. My mother in law had on a perfect dress that complimented the colors and design, but my mother was dressed like she was working in a Wild West bordello. She was beautiful as always, it was just so completely inappropriate for a big formal church wedding.

There were a number of smaller screw ups happening, that had happened, like the wedding cake had started to melt in the bakery truck, the icing roses slicing down the cake and social awkwardness like my father telling my future mother in law that the large African American lady sitting up front was my mother's sister instead of her coworker.

But I decided on the spot I was not going to allow any of this to wreck my day, that I was marrying the love of my life and none of this mattered. Forgive, forget and move on. Kay and I drank some wine in the Brides room before the wedding and laughed over all of that. I went out and married Jim before we had a wonderful reception with family, friends and a melting wedding cake that tasted fantastic.

My extended family still refers to my wedding as 'The day Barbara wore a whore-y dress to Suzanne's wedding" which still makes me laugh. It's part of family lore now. I don't resent it, it's just her and she was working through her own issues in her choice of dress.

After I told Laura this story, with a lot more comedic flare than I'm recounting it here, I pointed out that you really cannot waste time wishing things were different that you have no control over, you have to breath in, breath out, laugh and move on.

I feel pretty sure at some point Ian will propose to Laura, they've been together for two years now and they both talk about a future together as a married couple with a family. But right now I get the sense that Ian is the type that will not propose until their careers and educations are completed and he's dealt with remaining things involving his years ago driving under the influence conviction.

Ian, like Laura, was raised in a 'Good Christian' (tm) family and they both have had to work through the aftermath of leaving. Laura and the rest of us in our family have had exit counseling and it's made a world of difference in our being able to leave the church, forgive each other, breath in, breath out, laugh and move on. Ian has not had that opportunity and is still working through those things, handling it much better than many coming out. He's making real efforts to heal and move on.

I cannot wait to see what the future holds for these two and I'm making a vow here and today that I'll not take over the wedding plans or wear a red satin dress when they do marry.

Keep short lists for being offended. Know which battles are worth fighting for. Know that others weird behavior is more about their own issues than anything you have done and try not to take it personally or react like it's personal.

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