I spent the weekend, well, most of it, with a group of girls getting married not long after myself. I listened to their stories regaling trips to salons and to hairdressers. Stories of crowded showers and bouquets of ribbons.
And I realized I haven't really had all that, all that "wedding stuff." When I went to try on my dress, I was by myself in the midst of a giant salon filled with young brides and their mothers and their friends, all fawning over everything they tried on and oohing and ahhing every time the dressing room curtain was pulled back. They all dabbed tears away when the veil was put on and they all giggled and hovered together as they left, receipts and swatches in hand.
Not my experience.
And I guess this is what it means to be 30 and getting married, and not 22. My best friends aren't all around me giggling and trying on insane dresses and veils. We're not all crowding into salons and drinking wine and fawning over each other. There are no surprise showers, no dates for lunches to talk about flowers, no one to tell me how my dress looks, or if the red of my hair is a bit too obnoxious. I have done the majority of my stuff without the girls I love best.
But don't get me wrong. They're at the other end of the phone, online, or in the mail - listening to me plan and scheme and try to maintain some sort of perspective - and because of them. I keep sane somehow. I *will* get to have the wedding I always wanted. Not becasue of a shower or a lunch or any silly old thing. But because I have the type of best friends who email me to remind me to sleep enough and eat carrots. Who know the change of seasons always makes me long for a cigarette, and to remind me to skip that small tradition. Who offer to make me jewelry and call me throughout the day as they go shopping for their bridesmaid dress. They send me photos of their lives and their babies. They listen, ever patiently while I worry and exclaim and dream at the the end of their phone.
Because they are not here, they constantly make sure I know they are not far. They examine pictures of bouquets I like, they critique my dress and then send me scathing remarks about the seamstress who tells me "orange and white are awful." They are the best friends I could ask for - the best 'maids ever. Both with lives of their own, both starting families, both with their own huge events of 2005.
But what they give me is more than a shower or a lunch or a trip to try on dresses. They give me their undying support, their straight unfaltering opinions, their sarcastic remarks, their hilarious observations, and their friendship. What they have always given me, in fact. And I guess that's why they are who they are in my life. They are not my bridesmaids out of obligation or return. They are my best friends, standing beside me soon for the most important moment of my life. And til then, they are doing what they always have done - being my best friends. Being my sisters. Being my sanity.
I wouldn't trade that for anything.
7 years ago