Love and Choices

13239029_10209299243580885_6529252908657338580_nTime is marching on a little too quickly these days.  It’s nearly summer and I hardly remember spring, except for my middle daughter’s wedding, the highlight. She and her fiance chose to have a small, private wedding which took place outdoors. It was beautiful and special and a perfect reflection of their love for each other. My daughter’s mother-in-law captured all of it on  video, including the sisters’ speeches which made my heart swell nearly as much as the ceremony did. I’m waiting to receive  the link to this video to share with family and friends who were not in attendance.

And speaking of missing family members, when we first heard of their desire for a very small wedding, I felt a twinge of disappointment. What about all our loved ones who would not be there? But I think we’ve raised our children to “think outside the box” when it’s right for them, and this was one of those times. So in time, I usually feel a sense of relief when they exercise this right. I like to know they are doing what they think is right for them.

One thing I’ve learned from parenthood is how little I know. We can love them a lot and listen to them a lot and guide them, but ultimately it is encouraging our kids to follow their own inner guidance that is the true task of parenthood.

My youngest daughter told me that some of the best words I ever said to her were these:

I don’t know.

It’s your life to live.  What do you think? 

She said it left her with a sense of empowerment and excitement about her own life.

It’s a good reminder. I’m just a parent. Our children are each on their own unique journeys. I don’t want to play God with that.

I love you  and I don’t know.  A suitable parenting mantra, I think.

And the  one and only piece of advice I recall ever giving my daughters about love was this:

Choose someone who loves you a lot.

Life throws enough curve balls and challenges. Your love life doesn’t have to be one of them.

***

Tomorrow is fifty days before my fiftieth birthday, which has inspired me to write exactly that post, tomorrow.(50 Days ’til 50). I considered a series, posting each day leading up to this birthday, but alas need to spend the time editing my memoir which I promised myself would be much more polished by the big 5-0.

Always having to make choices with time; such is life. But getting older makes me increasingly aware of this- that I am in fact making a choice at any given moment.   I guess conscious choosing  is a byproduct of adulting. Maybe that’s all life really is; one choice after the next. Even when things happen to us, we still get to choose, what now?

See you tomorrow!

P.S. *Please visit the site of Sarabeth Matilsky, a most adventurous mom of four. In her latest letter, she takes us through the decision to sell her home and travel with her family, and  details  the massive clearing out that took place.  In a very short amount of time, she got rid of 95% of her family’s possessions. Bam. Now that is how you get it done:  www.lifeisapalindrome.com

Less is more for weddings too

ImageAppointments scare me. Maybe it’s a fear of commitment, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because I was the maker of all appointments for my family of five for many years, and inevitably we’d end up with a scheduling conflict which would require another call. I don’t know why I dread the call. Well, dread is a strong word. I want to avoid it. I’d rather bring out the trash or pull hair from the drain. But eventually I make the appointment and then I write it on the calendar hanging on our kitchen wall. And there it is in ink, permanent and piercing and taunting me. You have to go, you know. Here it is, in ink. You have to be there. Or else.

Recently, I went with my daughter to find her wedding dress. She had to make an appointment. That’s how it works in the wedding market. There was going to be no such thing as just showing up and browsing the dresses ourselves, God forbid. So on the day of The Appointment, the saleslady gathered dresses that she thought fit my daughter’s requests. Only they didn’t, really. Not entirely. Not as much as the dress that they didn’t bring out- the one we would go back for another day, and find by ourselves because we asked couldn’t we please, please just be left alone to look this time around? Wedding marketers do not love us.

My daughter is a minimalist bride-to-be, preferring no fuss on her clothing. She was the kid bothered by itchy tags and the stitching on socks. It comes as no surprise that she’d want a comfortable wedding dress and she’s beautiful without all the frills and layers and lace that can weigh a petite person down. She wants to be able to move and dance and wear a bohemian chic flower headpiece that compliments a simple dress. She didn’t want a train that required its own entrance, or any train at all. The dress she found is exactly what she wanted- light and pretty- and she glows in the simplicity of it. Image

ImageSo on to flowers. The first two places we called required The Appointment. “We will have our wedding specialist sit down with you and go over everything”, they told me over the phone. My interpretation: We will take up half of your day as we try to convince you that you need to spend the equivalent of your other daughters’ college tuitions in order to have beautiful centerpieces and bouquets that will  make the wedding good. We will treat this as if you are preparing for brain surgery instead of picking out some pretty flowers for this festive big day. Do people really remember the flowers? Or do they remember the day, the joy, the vows, music, food and wine? Okay, maybe they remember the flowers too, I don’t know. I don’t remember flowers. Image

So I called our local florist and they assured me that yes, we could drop in any time and pick out some flowers and it did not even require The Appointment!  I love this place. Plant Bazaar owner, if you are reading this, I love you. We will go and find some bouquets and corsages and boutonnieres and my daughter thought perhaps we should arrange some beautiful dried flowers in mason jars ourselves because this goes with the spirit of her mountainside wedding.

Ah yes, flower arrangements are blooming nicely(pun intended). Music has been carefully chosen by my daughter and her fiancé. Food will be scrumptious. The view, awesome. And the love….it’s really about the love.

What I’ve learned is this: Wedding planning does not have to take over your life. A dress does not have to take over your body and flowers do not have to take over your budget or your entire day. You really can give the metaphorical middle finger to the too-muchness of wedding planning. Keep it simple. Unless you’d rather not, in which case take out your appointment book, clear your schedule and your life, and jump right in. But I’m not coming in after you.