just ponderin'

… on real life

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Is this real life?

There is a very famous YouTube video, entitled ‘David After Dentist’, where this poor little kid is recovering from having some sort of oral surgery. Over 134 million people have watched a woozy young David ask his Dad, at one point, “Is this… is this real life?”

That line, ‘…is this real life?’ has made it from that old YouTube video all the way into our Dingle family lexicon along with other faves including, “I feel happy of myself!“, “blood-uh“, and “The maple kind, ya?”

All oft quoted, all drawing very strange looks from folks unfamiliar with the ongoing comedic repartee of the Dingle family orbit.

So back to young David. Or, more specifically, back to his question…

Is this real life?

Yesterday, Mac and I had a date to pre-look… yes, you heard me right… pre-look at wedding gowns. Next week we have the actual appointment to look.  Next week will be at a lovely place with comfy chairs and maybe even champagne (yay!), and also with a very knowledgeable human being called either a consultant or attendant but I don’t know which because I found my own wedding dress at Frugal Fannies, hidden in between suits and other dresses.

Yes I’m serious! And yes it was a wedding dress and yes I wore it and by the way… I was with Granny at the time and she was overjoyed, and I just realized something.

Next week Granny will also be with me as my own daughter tries on wedding gowns. It will be me, Granny, and Practice-Kid-Meighan (who is Mac’s cousin, but really more of a big sister, because – being 15 years younger than me and JoHn, she was also my ‘practice kid’ – every chance we got to see her, and for many a summer vacation. Pretty special human).

So next weekend, I get to gather with three of my most special beings and head off to Portsmouth, New Hampshire… a gorgeous seaside town that I know from past experience will be magically decorated for Christmas.

We will have lunch and head over to the bridal boutique and help Mac choose the dress she will be married in.

Yesterday was just a quick precursor, a visit to a busy store where we could choose from rack after rack of gowns, and she could try on a few shapes and sizes and have a better idea of what might work and what might not as we head into next weekend.

I was determined, she was determined, to have the day be normal, efficient, and quite utilitarian.

This was not the special dress day.

But there was this moment, when she was standing nearby, waiting for a very nice sales woman to get another size in a gown she wanted to try on…

She was looking at some costume jewelry, just browsing, taking a minute. Checking her phone when its screen would glow brightly.

And that feeling came over me.

My kid.

My daughter.

It was like I could superimpose her little-girl self, at maybe four years old, on top of the vision I was with.

Quiet…

Huge eyes, always watching. Drinking it all in, this great big world filled with such variety of humans and animals and places and spaces.

Fiercely independent.

Wonderfully empathetic.

A stunning combination of champion and terrorist to two little brothers.

The apple of her Grandfather’s eye.

And her Dad’s.

And later… now…

Jack’s.

Wow.

I have heard people say, when they or someone they know are hit with tough stuff (or consecutive tough stuffs) that they’ve been hit with “a lot of life”.

For me, that phrase has always chaffed.

You know, as if ‘being hit with a lot of life’ is always about the bad, the worst that life can pile on.

Well, this?

This hanging out in a crazy-busy, way too bright (I’m talking trying-on-bikinis horror-level bright) bridal chain store?

This overwhelming feeling about this rite of passage…

This happening that is all about love, about romance, about devotion and dedication and better and worse and… magic?

It was a lot of life, I tell you.

And so…

I felt my nose tickle and my eyes go wet.

Before me stood this young woman, in a bridal dress and veil.

And I felt myself gasp inwardly, Hope suddenly at my side.

I want you to remember all of this, from start to finish. I want your memories to be crazy fun and wonderful. I want you to be you, make choices that are so you. Don’t lose yourself in the rules of etiquette or tradition or the ‘shoulds’ of others. Do it your way… create a day steeped in who you both are. 

I told her not to move, and snapped a quick pic… the one above.

And then she turned.

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And there she was.

My worried butterflies fluttered away.

She’s got this.

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Thanks for readin’.

As always, come on over to Just Ponderin’s Facebook page to comment ❤

Elena Peters

midlife blogger & pinterest master

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