I was checking MySpace last week, and decided to do a little bit of virtual schmoozing. I left little notes for my sister, my sister-in-law, my friends, etc. I really like to see comments on my page, so I try to leave them for others. I figure that the 'do unto others' philosophy applies to the land of MySpace.
It happened to be the birthday of an old friend of Austin's, whose family he loves and despite all his faults, love him in return. I went to Sarah's page to wish her happy birthday. Among her top Friends was a girl I vaguely recognized as being married to another of Austin's California buddies.
We were invited to Joel and Corinne's wedding, but were unable to go. Over a year has passed since they got married, and I never thought to look at their wedding pictures.
I called Austin over to see Joel's pictures: Joel in a tux, a beautiful wedding cake, Joel and Corinne dancing. Austin smiled ruefully and hoarsely remarked that he was sad that he had missed out on such an important event. Austin lost his dad recently, and has felt the absence of his oldest friends rather pointedly.
Austin has some great friends. They know him as he is now; a husband, father, pastor, and when he has time, a wannabe guitar player. These friends know me well, and are like family to our kids. Still...there is something different about Old Friends.
Old Friends are the kind that no matter how much time has elapsed, they will always be glad to pick you up at the airport and let you borrow their futon. Old Friends can talk about way-back-when and still want to know what is new in your life. Old Friends don't have to call you every day or even every month. But when their voice is on the line, time drops her boundaries and you get lost in the comfort of friendship.
Austin's face looked so very sad. I wanted to put him on the first plane back to Atascadero, buy him a Morro Bay cinnamon roll, and have Mrs. Peak buy him some Sprite. I wanted him to feel comforted by the pictures, not lonely.
I noticed that Corinne had a video on her page that promised to highlight the best of the Joel and Corinne Roberts Wedding. I clicked the triangle button and waited to see those wedding pictures come to life. Surely, I thought, this would help Austin feel a little bit happier inside. He could feel as if he was actually there! We would find out what her smile looked like as she walked down the aisle, and whether he smushed cake into her face. (Which should never, ever be done)
A fabulous song played in the background. I made a mental note to check iTunes later for the download. And then we saw The Dress, The Flowers, The Cake.....all so beautiful. Austin's face was a mix of ache and laughter. I hated to see him look that way.
He didn't really want to talk about it. So instead I focused on the video. I was so jealous I could hardly stand it. I have now viewed that wedding video multiple times, and the green monster yells all the louder each time.
Why? The wedding was everything I could have wished for on my own wedding day. It was outside in the grass, under a huge tree. The reception was at nighttime, in a courtyard, and there were so many little lights in the trees. Even as I write about it, I keep getting distracted by all of the lovely images playing on the video in my head. It was, in a word, perfect.
As the sun set on July 20th of 2004, I was happy. I was married that afternoon, and at the moment of truth, Austin said yes. My dress was great, I didn't trip down the aisle, and my photographer, though probably on drugs, did a great job. I was unhappy about a few things, but in the end I was married, which was, after all, the point of the day.
Fast forward about...oh....six months. All that could be positively said about the pictures at this point was that they were developed and we were in them. My dress, though still pretty, was no longer what I would have picked out. The bridesmaid's dresses were nothing short of bridesmaid abuse, and I was upset that the cake didn't have those great little fondant circles.
I never really had a 'dream wedding' in mind. I wasn't one of those girls who knew at the age of six that she should wear a tiara when the big event took place. All the same, I wanted to be happy with my wedding day. Ideally there is only one of those per lifetime, so knowing that my day didn't really live up to my expectations has made me rather sad.
My friend Codi had an amazing wedding like the Roberts. I didn't know her at the time, but the pictures alone are just incredible. She had one of those weddings where you expect bluebirds to lift up her veil, and color-coordinated swans to waddle around the tulip border. I made up my mind to never show her my own pictures. So far, she hasn't asked. I don't know what I'll do if she ever wants to see them.
Austin says that someday we should have a do-over. We didn't have any money when we got married (hello, we were 20...why didn't anyone stop us?!) and we thought we didn't really care about all those silly details. He still doesn't...but I do!
I think those do-over weddings are kind of silly. I'm all for the recomittment ceremonies in Alcapulco after you almost get divorced and then reconcile. I think those have a purpose. But just to have a massive party with all kinds of expensive food that I can't pronounce and that fabulous wedding dress I saw last week? That really seems like an excessive use of funds.
And even if I one day change my mind and want that dress that costs more than my Dodge Stratus with one missing hubcap, I can't ever have The Dress, The Flowers, The Moment. Because I've already lived The Moment. Austin and I will never have that again.
I was at church last night talking with some friends in the bookstore. I saw a pretty book that caught my eye. I took a closer look, and my eyes filled with blood. My temperature rose 7.3 degrees, and I said a word that should probably not be uttered in a church bookstore.
The little white book had scrolls of beads and tulle and was nestled into a see-through box. The Bride Bible, it proudly read, to prepare you spiritually for the most important day of your life!
Walking past this Biblewart, my mind was filled with anger and other unsavory things. I tried to explain to my friends that this was completely unacceptable, that the Christian public was being horribly mislead! They didn't really seem to understand why it was making me so upset.
I think I now know why that Bride's Bible angered me.
Marriage is important. Not everybody will get married; not everyone should get married. But regardless of your marital status, you can probably agree with me that marriage is indeed a sacred and serious relationship.
Wedding does not equal marriage. If your wedding day is the most important day of your life, you should probably prolong it until you are 96. Or maybe even later.
I don't want my kids to think that they are only being prepared to don a pretty frock and walk a flower-strewn path towards some schmuck in a tux. (Seeing blood again, sorry)
The Most Important Day just does not exist. Important moments do.
Being born...making campfire s'mores...becoming the valedictorian...learning to ride a bike....falling in love...seeing the Eiffel Tower....holding your child....eating Godiva....
These are all important moments that, all compiled, make a life.
No matter how great the bouquet is, no matter how much the diamond sparkles....your wedding is just another one of those incredible moments.
And if your wedding moment passes without bluebirds lifting up your veil, you can rest assured that more great moments will come your way.
I would have danced under starlight and gone barefoot down the aisle. But that's ok. I still got the schmuck in a tux that, on a good day, makes my heart melt. On a bad day...I still love him. And those moments of eating fruit snacks and watching Scrubs while we laugh quietly enough so the kids don't wake up....those are making up my life.
I'm hoping that Austin will have some more of those great moments soon. Old Friends and Morro Bay cinnamon rolls are definitely part of what makes life Important.
Take THAT, Bride Bible!