For most normal mothers and daughters, this would be a moment of great joy and delight. Much girlish giggling and motherly adoration would be dispensed. Ball gowns and 20' trains and veils with flowery halos holding them in place would be examined lovingly. The moment would be the culmination of years of wistful drooling over the Vows section of The Sunday New York Times.
Unfortunately for us, we are missing the bride gene. We are stumbling in the dark. MOTG saw the look of distress on Little Cuter's face last summer and with her gentle and loving assistance, other venues and locations were considered and rejected. Her mother-in-law-to-be helped my little girl shift perspectives and find suitable alternatives which ultimately led to a smaller yet every bit as wonderful event that we will host in the Fall. Without MOTG's guidance, we might never have moved on. With her in our lives, we smile and relax into her zen space, emailed to me in response to my post worrying about the weather in September
If it rains, we will get wet, but the kids will be happily married and we will have something to laugh about in years to come!Happily married kids.... who could ask for anything more?
Now we just have to be clothed. Shoes have been discussed and decided upon. A hairstyle was crafted over Thanksgiving. I know she doesn't want a ball gown (think Cinderella) and I heard her mention something about wearing a shade of white and feeling sorry that J Crew didn't have a bridal outlet here in Tucson but I'm not going into the shopping spree with any more facts than that.
I think that's fine. It's not my dress, not my wedding, not my day. We're not even going shopping in my city. I wonder why I'm so stressed?
Perhaps I am channeling my own wedding dress shopping experience. I grew up knowing that Daddooooo would be making my gown; after all, he was the owner of Independent Bridal Gowns, Inc. Margie-the-designer would design it and the old Italian man behind the gigantic wooden cutting table would lay out the fabric and use the world's sharpest shears to scallop the material and I would sit on a high stool, with tiny scissors in my hand, cutting along the edges of the lace medallions which would adorn my dress. "The Girls" - 50 year old ladies in support hose - would stitch it on their black and gold sewing machines and then the beader would get to work.
In the end, when it was finished and Al-the presser had ironed it smooth, I'd twirl in the showroom, the three-way mirror reflecting me back to myself over and over and over again.
Unfortunately, the business went bankrupt before I tied the knot. I had to shop in a store. Daddooooo had maintained a relationship with a shopkeeper nearby, and it was to her that I went, picture from Bride's Magazine in hand, with G'ma and Daddooooo hovering in my wake. She had the dress, I loved it as much in reality as I had in photography, I was happy and twirling.
My parents looked stricken.
In retrospect, it's fairly obvious that they were reeling. This was not how they had imagined my wedding planning would unfold. I noted their discomfort and moved on. They were never really happy, never far from anger or disappointment, so this was nothing new. Had I wished for it to be a special occasion I might have been sadder. But I knew what I was getting into when I plopped myself down in the back seat of Daddooooo's Oldsmobile (with the orange duct tape still covering the rear light I'd smashed the year before) as we set out on our shopping adventure. I just wanted to get through the afternoon without anyone being brought to tears. In our family, that was a successful outing.
I know Little Cuter and I won't make one another cry. We've gotten pretty good at letting the other know when she is approaching the edge of acceptable behavior. I'll be so happy to be on the back end of my trip, surrounded by the love that only an engaged couple can shower on a maternal unit, that I won't even bat an eyelash if this is the dress she chooses.
|Credits: Robert Schlesinger/EPA|
If it rains, she'll be perfectly attired for the pool.
And, after all, it's not my wedding.