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!