Friday, June 27, 2008

"And the Two Shall Become One?"

Impending job loss, daughter's wedding, chronic health problems, daughter and grandson moving out soon, a bit of a list of stress sources I think.....but every day things people live with all the time. I just don't do stress well anymore, whereas I used to be the queen of "bring it on, I can handle it!"

Yesterday, my daughter asked if I would look at the wedding dresses she has picked out. I do not do shopping well because of my back. But I did make a good ten hour day of it - bridal shops, grocery shopping, an unplanned hour and one-half search to pick up "H" where he had left his truck for repair, umpteen stops to get her "double shots" of caffeine, a stop to find me a jacket that fit to take to Wyo (its been known to snow out there in July, yes, it has!). Found a great sale - again. Today I'm posting my good clothes from yore on EBAY. Anyway, at the end of the day, I wished the nerve block this time would have done more....oh well, its better than a month ago! My legs are just so wobbly.

She tried on many dresses - some looking like royal coronation gowns, some sleek and sexy, but finally she put one on that made me cry. We are all past the "My baby is getting married" stage of life, but I was surprised to find the tears that popped up when she put on one in particular (especially since I'm not much of a cryer anymore). That turned out to be her favorite too. So the dress, shoes, tiara are ordered and hopefully supposed to be here in time for the wedding. We both felt really good about the dress. My instincts screamed, "Just buy a dress, already, a dress is a dress." But a bit of the moment took me over - yes, this one is THE dress.

I remembered back when I got married the first time and wanted a white dress - my mother picked it out, gave it to me, and that's what I wore. That was indicative of who would be running my marriage, which lasted a whole year, at the end of which I was newly pregnant. I didn't realize until years later, I had married a boy who could not even be responsible for himself, let alone a wife and child. I found myself on the way to being a single mom, when women just WEREN'T single moms. And, mostly, divorced dads back then walked away from their children easily. My poor little boy. My mother had made a show of not approving, but all in all, she was glad to have a glum teenager out of the house.

I don't know how they are going to pull this wedding off in a month when they haven't even yet found a place to have it, ordered a cake, set a caterer, found a reception place, looked at flowers, registered for gifts, nor mailed invitations, sell his house, store all his stuff, etc. Why am I stressing? Well, its my nature. I probably could open a business and get paid for stressing out for people (I mean, I REALLY do a good job of it!) - hey, leave your stress here for a fee - I will stress for you, get sick and do all that dysfunctional crap and save you the time and pain. Boy, wouldn't I get rich? And dead?

Part of me stands aside and looks at the melding of two close knit families - oi - scary. We, this family, are used to the orphans who come to us for solace and strength and leave us drained, broke, and mopping up messes. What do we do with people who have traditions of their own, ways of their own, and stand on them like bulldogs? Oi.

Think of the miracle of families. Like people, no two are exactly the same. Imagine a core of people somehow functioning together as a unit for a lifetime. Then you expand that unit, usually with a relative stranger whose family is also relative strangers, each thinking their ways are right, and everyone is supposed to get along! Amazing.

One of "H"'s & my problems arose from celebrating Christmas - we always did it Christmas morning - I mean that's Christmas day, right? He always did it the day before Christmas. He didn't have a reason, that's just how he wanted it done, and compromise without a fight to the death is not in his vocabulary. So, of course that's how we did it, and any tradition I had or wanted to create was a constant battle. The next major adjustment was that neither of us went to church or were religious at the time of being married, but oh, when I began to go to church - of course, what I chose was not acceptable. Until God yanked "H's" tail. Chuckle. Christmas still remains a bone of contention deep in my heart, and only because of the lack of respect to me and my children. I always give in to keep the peace, something I have been trying to learn not to do when its a detriment. I pray this pending marriage becomes what the word signifies - a marriage, not a job with a "boss."

Now, after years, church is where ever we want to attend, separately or together. Mostly separately because I don't like being told how to drive to the church, which place I will park the car in, or stressing about - are we going to eat at home or out later, if we get to the restaurant will he be a mad member of the tribe because he doesn't like lines, noise, prices, etc. I mean, we can't even get peacefully in the front door together, really.

And two tribes are supposed to join peacefully? Oi, again.

Then some people can't do it anymore. And the choice is to separate physically and/or just emotionally. The choice is - start over and hope for better, or endure, make the best of it, and hope family continuity is enough to overcome the lack of joy. I can't imagine what is would be like, for the "Two" to have that joy that is intended for such a relationship - the joy that we are taught to expect when those vows are said, how strong would that core be then!

There is a love, a way, I think that transcends the unrealistic expectations that our culture has set for us to believe. It is the way of survival - the way of, when it comes down to it, fighting to preserve the family and when times get tough, coming together the best a family can to insure the survival of the family and the individual. Not always perfect, but its been around for centuries and centuries, not always "traditional" but here it is in all its glory and dysfunction as well, ever enduring in custom and repeating itself.

So - into the sunset go the preparations to join these two families with prayers of "God help us all" and even, help us enjoy it!


**Ya Think** said...

My golly Gardenia,

Once this is all done and they do move out, you are going to have to redefine who you are and your purpose. This is going to be a major adjustment for both you and 'H'. Are you going to be stressed over less to stress about? LOL Speaking of stress, I found it interesting that the verse of the day on my blog is parallel to this post.


Gardenia said...

LOL, yes, stressed over more stress. Will run on over to your blog. Other than that, I am resting my back today - feels like someone took a baseball bat to it. Taking a shower. Finding another book.

Wandering Coyote said...

Hmmmm...Heavy stuff. Weddings can be such flashpoints because there is so much going on in the background that is not all happy and bright and wonderful. No one seems to stop and deal with the other feelings that come up that might not be so positive or perky. This happened to me, and it made me feel guilty and scared and weird that I was worried about certain things while everyone else was worried about the good things. I didn't care about colours or flowers; I cared about emotional upheaval and other stuff that rarely gets spoken of.

In the end, most of what you described here is out of your control...I know you stress anyway, but what will happen will happen...

tweetey30 said...

I am sad reading this with all that is there to be done yet but it will all fall into place. With daughter working full time and I dont know what new SIL does for work but its hard to get everything done. Hope it all goes well and you can stop stressing.

Biddie said...

Wow. You sure have a lot on your mind.
I am like you, and I would be stressing over my daughters wedding. Well, actually, KC is very serious with her bf and I am stressing. I keep telling her that when you marry him, be prepared to marry his family, as well.
I learned that the hard way with my first husband. His family was ~shudder~ impossible. We would have been doomed anyway, but his mom sure helped it along. We actaully had to go to marriage counselling to deal with his mom.
A ten hour shopping day is waaay more than I could do. If KC could get paid for shopping, she would be rich! lol
You know, I would pleased as punch to have you as my MIL :)

Gardenia said...

Biddie, that's a compliment!!!! I do have a major fault though - overprotective granma, here.

Red said...

When Asterisk and I decided to get married, we organized the whole thing in about two months, which, considering we were not even in the country where we wanted to get married (Italy), was quite ambitious! But we didn't care about how fabulous the wedding would be, we just wanted to be married. My dress cost £93 if I remember correctly (less than $200), we didn't send invites (called people up instead to tell them) and we didn't register for gifts anywhere (instead we asked our guests for financial help towards our honeymoon).

I am absolutely positive that my mum stressed about the wedding more than me. And it was her stress that made me feel stressed. For a couple of days before the wedding, being in the same room as my mother would inevitable end up in an almighty row. I wanted a small, intimate thing, and I felt that she was kinda hijacking it, making it a bigger deal than we wanted to.

I'm just trying to say... don't stress about this wedding on behalf of your daughter. Be there and be ready to help if she asks you to, but let her be free to do her own thing. You'll enjoy it a lot more that way!

Milla said...

I agree with Red: you shouldn't stress about organising the wedding, because it is not YOUR wedding!

Zorro and I decided to get married on a Monday morning, coming back from a rock festival during which we had a prticularly good time; we were married the following Friday, without our families being present, but with some of our friends. I bought my dress in an Indian shop at Portobello Market. It was nice and simple and very un-Italian. The only two presents we received were a tent (to go to festivals and camping) and a pressure cooker. Wonderful!
We never had our honeymoon :) but when I took Zorro to meet my family two years later, we travelled to Venice and stayed there for 4 days, which was quite romantic!

The simple ways are often the best, 'cos there is no stress.