There’s nothing that makes a gal reflect and ponder quite like a wedding. I imagine it’s the same for everyone; if you’re married, a wedding makes you think about your wedding, and your marriage. If you’re not, a wedding makes you think about the wedding you hope you will have some day. Relationships, family, loyalty, pageantry, symbolism: they’re all tied up in this strange tradition that we as humans have adopted as the norm.
It’s no wonder that so many plays and movies have been made about weddings; they are like chemistry experiments. Throw a bunch of stuff in a tube, shake, and see what happens. If you’re lucky, all you get is a pleasant smelling, pastel colored liquid. If you’re not, the tube explodes. Sure, you can regulate the temperature and how hard you shake things, but in reality, it’s about the essence of the stuff you throw in the tube.
Happily, my brother’s wedding was a rather mild concoction, which I hope means that the Walker and Beznoska families, are, at their core, stable compounds. I’m sure there was a drama I didn’t know about, but aside from the late arrival of the groomsmen, the groom stepping on the train, and a mother-of-the groom who could barely walk the day before the big event, it seemed to go smoothly. Even the weather cooperated, gracing us with mid-80’s temperatures and breezes after weeks of icky, sweltering heat. Prior to the big day, we saw Navy battleships and giant container ships in the port, and the gals got the requisite mani-pedi’s and hairdos.
The big news on hair day was my straight hair; so straight in fact that my entire family didn’t recognize me until I literally stuck my face in theirs and spoke. It’s always a catch 22 when I straighten my hair; people say well meaning things like “you should do that more often!” which I take to mean that I’m totally screwed because there’s no way I could ever make my hair look like that, and wait, are they saying my curly hair is ugly? Sigh. The curse of self-doubt.
Which brings us to my one regret from this weekend; I wish I could have gotten out of my head a little more. It was a beautiful weekend, and I had a lovely time, but I couldn’t shake a lingering feeling of inadequacy; I didn’t lose enough weight, I didn’t look pretty enough for the pictures, was everyone pitying me because I’m the mid-thirties spinster sister-in-law watching her little brother get married? These things are mostly in my head, I know. How selfish and shallow they sound, reading them now. After all, we all know that no one cares about our inadequacies as much as we do ourselves.
And the truth is, it was a hell of a good week. Bells from a nearby church just happened to ring out as the ceremony was winding down. I am over the moon happy for my brother, who gave an incredible heartfelt toast about “finding what was missing,” and who absolutely made my year by dancing with my mom to “Barbara Ann.” I am so excited to have a sister-in-law by definition, and hope that we can become sisters-in-law in more than words over the coming years. I loved seeing my brother’s friends surround him with friendship and fun, and seeing my mom and dad enjoy their far-flung family. My dad even danced with us, and he hates dancing. I got to dip my toes in the Atlantic. I did some serious, good thinking about my life and my future. I saw the final Harry Potter with my bro, his bro-in-law and my sis-in-law. The Americans ALMOST won the World Cup. I came home to a clean house and a tail-wagging dog.
Really, there’s not much to complain about. Yes, I wish that I knew the kind of joy and solidity in a relationship that my brother obviously has with his wife. But if that’s all I have to worry about? Sheesh. Time to get on with it, go to work, make plans, and keep hoping. And reflect on how lucky I am to have had a week of family and love and celebration of two people who have found each other.