My oldest daughter is getting married this summer. Even though I hesitate to say it, I guess she’s old enough. After all, she is 24. She has met someone who, in many ways, seems ideal for her. It’s all good.
And yet, I’m struggling to deal with it. I mean, for some reason, I can’t take it in. I can’t believe my little baby girl is getting married. There is no way that 24 years have gone by since she was first holding her head up in the hospital room, looking around with a look of total curiosity! I can’t believe I am actually planning a wedding. I can’t believe that, when the party is over and all the guests have gone home, my daughter will be married—and living her own adult life with someone else. She’s not coming home again, not now, not in the future.
My daughter’s fiance’s family was here this past weekend, and we had a wonderful time with them. They are great people. Everything is great. But there was a big part of me that kept waiting for this movie to end, so that all of us could walk back into our normal lives.
The whole wedding ritual doesn’t really help either. There are so many ways you can spend money that you do not have. There are so many people making a living off this industry. It can be overwhelming, and you can easily get caught up in the planning and the expense and lose sight of what the event is all about. A dear friend said to me recently, “Are you worrying so much that you’re taking all the fun out of it?” She drew me up short, because that’s exactly what I was doing. I was worrying and worrying and stressing and stressing, instead of trying to enjoy the whole planning process with my daughter. I was ruining it for her.
My daughter is well aware that we can’t have a wedding that’s straight out of one of those shows on TV, and she has been amazing about it. Even though the small, family wedding we’re planning may not be the wedding she envisioned, she is joining in the spirit of things and finding special bargains and creative possibilities. She has come more than halfway. I’m the one that has been hanging back, maybe waiting for this whole thing to go away?
My words of wisdom for others heading down this road:
1) Remember that your daughter is going through a major change in her life and needs your support.
2) Remember that you are gaining a son, not losing a daughter.
3) Remember that, when all is said and done, it really doesn’t matter if you have engraved invitations or white linen tablecloths, as long as you and your daughter arrive at the wedding still loving each other.
4) And decide, early on, what you can spend on this event and then give your daughter a budget and try to sit back and relax a little, every now and then. OK, I will try to take my own advice, starting NOW.