Category Archives: wedding

Every Moment

often in this life we need to slow down and remind ourselves that the moment we are currently in needs to be consciously attended to, savored, absorbed. easier said than done certainly, but if you make up your mind, you can find yourself in the middle of a moment that will bring you lasting joy every time you replay it in your mind.

i was able to have a second one of those moments a couple of weeks ago with one of our daughters. okay, granted it was kind of an easy moment for the taking – being with her as she chose her wedding dress – still, i think we’ve all seen and heard this experience turning disastrous.

when our oldest daughter shopped for her wedding dress, she asked her future mother-in-law and me to accompany her. she preferred to choose a dress herself and without the pressure of an attendant or an entourage and ended up buying the first dress she tried on. not to say she grabbed something and ran, but to say that she knew herself well enough to know what her choice would be. i worried about her buying the first dress she tried on and encouraged her to try on other dresses, but when she put the first one back on, it was clear that was the dress. it’s so odd to say, but if you keep your mind open as an observer, you really can know exactly when your daughter has chosen the perfect image of herself.

i was afraid at the time that my lasting memory of her choosing a dress would be overshadowed by the worry that was hanging over every bit of my thinking, which was that she was planning a wedding mere months after her diagnosis of cm leukemia. it was so tough to push away the thought that were her future outcome to be not good, this dress might become a symbol of stabbing sadness instead of overwhelming joy. it took every bit of my years of acting training to hide what i was thinking at the time.

fast forward to now. our second daughter is planning her wedding and scheduled a wedding dress shopping day. like her sister, she had a vision of a dress she wanted and a vision of how she wanted her day to go. she asked for a champagne breakfast with a couple of friends, her sister and me (daddy was nice enough to come along as designated driver in exchange for breakfast since he was verboten from seeing the dress).

at the salon, she tried on the very dress she came to that salon to see. it looked spectacular on her! i thought how funny it was that again, one of our daughters picked the first dress she tried on. but since there were still 45 minutes left on the appointment time, the attendant brought her other dresses to try. every one of them looked beautiful on her, but none rivaled the first one. then the attendant suggested something completely out of the box, which was a skirt and bodice combo that is modern but still somewhat traditional, interesting and edgy. her sister was the first to notice how e’s demeanor changed and saw right away that this would be the choice. i was unconvinced about the dress but tried to project neutrality since i firmly believe that my role was as an observer, not an influencer. the attendant encouraged e to go out into the bigger room and look at herself in the huge mirror. i was the last one into the large room and saw her just as she turned around and saw herself in the floor to ceiling mirror and was struck by the sight. trust me, out of nowhere and without a thought of becoming emotional at all, i teared up.

in that moment i didn’t see a dress, or a bride even – what i saw was our grown daughter looking like her happiest self as a young woman dressed to greet the partner she has chosen to share her life with.

i also realized that this was the last time i would ever have that moment in my life and made a mental note to just savor it.
making it all even better was the fact that i was standing next to our oldest daughter who is still happily married, cancer free and about to celebrate the five year anniversary of her bone marrow transplant.
moments that are worth savoring.

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Filed under advice, family, image, Love, marriage, Parent, tradition, wedding, women

it’s the marriage, stupid

twenty seven years ago today c and i were married.  we had a small wedding in a tiny chapel at st. thomas the apostle in what used to be the country (now it’s an upscale suburb of gated communities). the tiny stone chapel with a tall white steeple was built in 1729 and has since been closed up in favor of a giant modern church.  

we were not members of st. thomas parish when we asked father dubrowski’s permission to get married there. (it was a picturesque stone chapel on a country road and a lot of people wanted to get married there). c told him that his great grandparents were married there, his parents were married there and he was baptized there.  father slid open the closet door in his office and revealed stacks of huge leather bound books that contained the records of the parish.  he pulled one off the shelf and began leafing through it.  the yellowed pages were handwritten, mostly in fountain pen, all in latin.  

he started by looking for c’s great grandparents.  he told us how people were usually married on a thursday, since that was often their only day off from work. he found c’s great grandparents wedding date in the records and read it to us, translating from latin.  it was a thursday.  he found c’s parents’ wedding date in another book and showed that to us.  he found c’s baptism record in another book and showed it to us.  cool. 

we were married on a friday. there was a raging summer rain storm outside during our vows, the church was mostly candlelit.  our reception was at a nearby restaurant (long gone now).  we paid for the wedding ourselves (the live band was courtesy of c’s great uncle).  i hired a seamstress to make my dress (i didn’t like or couldn’t afford anything i saw in the stores).  the lace cost more than the fabric of the dress.  (i saved the lace.  i sewed in on the bottom of the veil our daughter wore for her wedding.)  the whole thing cost $100.  i made my headpiece and veil.  we borrowed a car.  the florist surprised us with extra flowers at the church, he felt sorry for our puny budget.  he refused to make the kind of bouquet i wanted, the kind that you see in all the pages of wedding magazines now.  (back in the day a bouquet of non-white flowers was unacceptable) 

confession: i watch those wedding shows on tv.  i’m astonished at the amount of money people spend. i’m astonished at the attitudes of entitlement people have.  i’m astonished at how much time people spend talking and thinking about weddings instead of talking and thinking about marriages. i’m astonished at women who justify spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on wedding dresses because they’ve dreamed about their wedding day since they were a little girl.  i never dreamed about wedding dresses. i never dreamed about my wedding day.  i never even thought getting married until i met c and we decided to get married.  

we made a decision together to get married.  we didn’t go ring shopping.  (we were just too practical to spend money we didn’t have on the luxury of an engagement ring.)  after we announced that we were getting married, c’s family offered me a choice of two rings or one of two diamonds to be made into a ring.  i still wear the engagement ring. it’s from 1930s.   there’ve been a series of new wedding rings to celebrate our years together.  he’s had 3 and i’ve had three, each one with bigger diamonds.  hey, we’ve earned them along the way. 

we didn’t have a big fancy wedding.  we’ve had a big, fancy marriage.  there’s still a lot more to come.  



Filed under family, wedding