… on making sense of self
May 05, 2017
So… there’s this dress.
I can’t tell you much about it because it’s a secret.
Not being a member of the Wedding Tradeworkers Union, I had no idea what to expect when we shopped for a wedding dress. Turns out, you can find one you like and then they make it just for you! (I know, I know, other people might know this when they are born – like some sort of bridal genetic memory or something, but it’s all new to me!).
So you choose the dress, and then someone makes the dress, and then a few months later the dress arrives. When it does, it will not fit exactly right even though they made it just for you.
You will need it to fit better.
So then you visit a seamstress and, in our case, her name is Ann Marie and she’s kind of awesome.
She’s been doing this for 43 years and clearly knows her stuff. Also she has gorgeous white hair and a ‘Seamstresses Completer Package’, which is one of those wrist pin cushion thingies that make her look even more talented.
After Ann Marie unzipped the super special dress bag, we all oo’d and ah’d. She gave us the instructions we needed and went out of the room so Mac could change. I helped her into her dress – requiring her to make a sort of standing diving pose, arms straight up by her ears. Once she reverse-dove in, we zipped her up.
And the dress fit… perfectly.
Ann Marie, who was prepared to make Mac stand in her wedding shoes and dress for a couple of hours, seemed stunned.
She was all, ‘Well this is rather rare!’ and then collected herself. Instead of having to deconstruct – deconstruct? I thought it was just CON-structed! – we only had to hem, and this is apparently very good news.
So we were out of there pretty quickly, making a date for a few weeks from now.
We did take the time to try on the veil though….
And then we were onto much more important things… like lobster rolls and talking about the dress.
And also talking about our plans to taste food and do something called a ‘trial run’ for hair and make-up later in the week, which I’m sure Mac will vlog all about because she is all about the hair and make-up (and dress of course).
But enough about Mac.
I love something I am discovering about myself on this wedding journey.
I am not a girly-girl. Tried to fit the mold in my early years, but it never really took.
Fashion details are noticed and appreciated by my eyes, but never quite make it onto me. Mostly this is due to my inability to remain upright and healthy in any and all fashion-based shopping environment. And, yes, this includes on-line shopping.
I’m also not big on makeup, unless Mac makes me. Recently, and unsolicitedly, she handed me some sort of pencil with a teeny tiny pipe-cleaner at the end where the eraser would be. This contraption, she explained, will help fill in my eyebrows which, apparently, is a thing.
So I have nearly zero interest in the makeup or fashion things, and Mac has people asking if they can send her this stuff so she can show the off on YouTube. What is a mother to do?
Have a blast with her kid, that’s what.
There is something about our children being happy, joyful, engaging and dancing with magic that is like a jolt of adrenaline to a parent. The other day Mac had me in a mall for two hours and I didn’t even die.
When I was getting married, Granny and Grampa were so excited. What could they do? Could they contribute toward the flowers? What about food? the venue? Alternatively, my mother had a list of things I shouldn’t expect her to do. I can’t remember everything, but I do remember that – if she came (she didn’t do weddings), she was not wearing a dress.
I know. But the thing is I wasn’t brought up to expect anything else so her response-slash-demands were surprisingly unsurprising. In her mind, she had fought hard for her sense of self and she was not yielding. She wasn’t a fan of bridal or baby showers, wakes or funerals, graduations… She despised ceremony. People who engaged in ‘all that’ were blindly following convention blah blah blah-dy blah.
My own yearning to ‘be there’ for the good stuff and the tough stuff in the people-I-love lives was ‘strange’ and ‘ridiculous’ and, my fave, ‘show-off-y’. If I pointed out other families that seemed to do these things, they were strange/ridiculous/show-off-y too.
I’m telling you, there is a reason I identified with The Jungle Book‘s Mowgli. Being tossed out into the real world in my late teens was rather… jarring.
As I stumbled out into the world, I came across other humans – ones who didn’t seem dangerously unbalanced at all – who actually embraced the idea of being there for other people . ‘Showing up’ wasn’t wHeird or strange, it was just what they did. As a matter of fact, they were the opposite of show-off-y. Many were humble, and very kind.
These folks didn’t seem to have their senses of self threatened by a tradition of suiting up for a graduation party, or when asked to wear a hideous bridesmaids’ dress (oh yes, I’ve seen a few!) for a wedding. When asked – or even when not (for instance, in grief) – they showed up. And they did so, happily, for their someone elses. Grateful to show love, and to be loved.
All this stuff was pinging and ponging around my head as I realized how unbelievably lucky I am to know that I will do and wear and behave (ok, good luck with the behavior, guys) in whatever way Mac wants me to on her wedding day. It is part of my gift to her, and part of my gratitude for her. It is, indeed, her day. And I’m happy – more than happy – to do it. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
I’m kind of chuckling and wondering, ‘Mom, what were you thinking?’ at the entire idea that any of these things could ever threaten my sense of self.
I may even use my eyebrow contraption, making my eyebrows full, not too dark, and just this side of fluffy.
Aaaand… my mother just rolled over in her grave.
Thanks for readin’.
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