catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 9, Num 8 :: 2010.04.16 — 2010.04.29


First, the wedding

I’m getting married in six months, if all goes according to plan. Of course, someone has to create that plan, and while the two of us want to marry simply, someone has to take charge and make calls and turn ideas into reality. I started to write “turn a vision into reality,” but the only one who has a vision is the maid of honor, my 16-year-old daughter. It’s wrapped in tulle and lace and has little to do with a midlife bride and groom over 50 who have been down the aisle before.

I don’t want a big white dress, and I’m not sure I even want to be the center of attention in a crowded room of dressed-up friends and loved ones. But if we go to the courthouse, followed at a later date by a “party to celebrate” sort of event, would that be enough draw for those out-of-towners, college chums and friends from our past? I think you have to offer up the main event in order for people to sign on for air travel — who’s going to pull out all the stops unless it’s to witness and bless this optimistic act of faith? 

I do want to bring people together. I love a party. We want to dance like crazy and eat good food and get pictures of all those faces, but I want to be relaxed and smiling — not anxious and sleep-deprived. I get a little overwhelmed by entertaining, tending to fuss around rather than sit and enjoy. As my first wedding approached, my anxiety manifested in a growing and persistent jaw pain that mysteriously disappeared once I walked BACK down the aisle after the “I do’s.” I wore a puffy silk dress with bows on the shoulders and at the small of my back (which has since become part of many weddings in Kinshasa, Congo, as inventory in a micro-enterprise that rents out bridal wear.)

My daughter’s nose is still out of joint that we’ve rejected our original plan which involved dinner, dancing, fancy garb and a walk down the aisle at midnight — to take advantage of the somewhat cute 10-10-10 wedding date, which falls on a Sunday. I’m just not sure that I’m going to be upright or good company at that hour, after a day or two of festivities and fussing about my family’s attire, nutrition and level of rest (not to mention whatever event-related things need worrying about). You’d think by now I’d have learned not to feel so responsible for everyone else’s contentment.  Although we are talking about moving the focus from one to two.

Speaking of my partner, I shuffled to the loo in the dark this morning, kissing him on the way. He’s always on the job as a high school teacher, and said, “I puzzled out that midterm thing…” “Mmm, good,” I said. He wakes up ready to talk. I wake up ready to sleep more. I was describing him recently to a girlfriend I hadn’t seen in a year. “Well, he is a big talker, and you know me. Most of the time it’s okay, but sometimes, you know…,” I said, widening my eyes, shaking my head a little, and employing the universal gesture for “up to here.” I thought about that later, realizing next time I want to better choose what I say about him — to tell about how compassionate he is with my failings, patient with my children, unfailingly hard-working and devoted to laughter. We live in such a culture of complaint.  I do not want to complain. I am so thankful.

So we’ll keep it simple, attempt to be unique, focus on family, food, fun and the looming challenge of aging together with humor, dignity, herbal supplements and anti-inflammatory medication. Growing old together takes on a whole new meeting when you’re over 50. It’s not just a dewy-eyed postscript, especially when you’re taking care of parents and wondering how much your state of affairs in 30-odd years will mirror theirs right now.  

I think about the wedding on the drive to work…invitations! Which require addresses! And actual stamps, not just CC’s on Well, it’s either that or laundry and bills. Such a problem. After seven years as a widow, I was granted a man with few possessions, a grateful attitude, an appreciation for partnership and family, and most of all, me. He isn’t perfect. Neither am I. He will hurt me and I him, and we will grow closer and apart in a new symbiotic framework called marriage. We will be blessed and challenged — first off, by the relentless details of crafting a wedding.

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