Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday Musings - Beautiful and Sad

Yesterday was my brother's wedding and it was a wonderful day. The bride was radiant and my brother made a dashing groom. They are a well-matched, lively and creative couple who complement each other in every way. We got rained on, but other than that the day was lovely. The day is still in many ways a jumble of emotions for me. My feelings about my Dad, seeing cousins I had not seen in 11 years, seeing family friends who knew me as a child and now are shocked to see me with children, the fact that my brother thanked every member of the wedding party, the bride's family and his family - but forgot me and my family. The girls felt a little left out too and that hurt more. The bride was busy with all her girls and family members rushing about, we were in the house ages before we were acknowledged. This is the frenzy of getting ready for a wedding, but for my little girls all primped and ready to be oohed and aahed over it was a bit sad. We did eventually get to the see the bride and all was well after a few pictures and minutes posing with the bride.

There was however, no mention in any of the speeches of me, Hubby or the girls. Am I smarting? Yup. Many people noticed and have commented, I mean we sat at the prime table with his Mom and grandparents. I am sure it was not intentional, but I felt so left out. We worked so hard to prepare for this day and prepare the girls. This is still a little raw and I am sure a perspective will be gained further along the way, but my heart broke a bit when he reached the end of his speech and thanked or mentioned everyone else but us. The bride and groom both loved the slide show we put together with all their baby pictures and current pictures set to music, they were both in tears and told us so, and I know they loved it, I really do. I thought they might mention that at least, but no luck.

They both hugged us and told us how happy they were to have us there throughout the night, I know that is really all the thanks I need. I guess that shout-out meant more to me than I thought. Why is it that knowing you are loved and special and valued is so much different than being told so, is that why we blog then - why I blog - to be told over and over that I matter?

Maybe I was expecting too much. I did not have a say in how my family evolved. My parents divorced when I was a child, both remarried, my Mom would remarry for a third time. My father had two more children and while I love them fiercely maybe you cannot forge a bond that just isn't there in that deep, complicated way living together your whole life gives you. After my father died I made a promise to myself to keep the ties strong with my brother, sister and Step-mother. They are a link to him that no one else has with me. They belonged to him just as much as I did. Without him though, we are left to forge and flounder and find a way to remain a family.

Was this most likely a completely unintentional over-sight of the bride and groom during stressed out moments of cobbling together a speech the night before (knowing my brother), yes probably. Do I have any right to feel so sad over this? That remains to be seen. I certainly do not want them to know how I feel, since I think that this is one of those things that looms large in the forefront of your mind and eventually settles a bit further back day by day until you cannot remember why you were so upset in the first place.

I have got myself out of bed to write out elaborate responses to situations only to tear them up upon the light of day, I know this is one of those cases. My heart is hurt - my ego maybe more; and it smarts, it really does. I feel better already sharing this out loud, the words before me make it less so somehow.

And on to the beautiful.

The girls looked liked angels and behaved so well it was actually a very easy day despite the hectic pace and long hours. They walked up the aisle right on cue and sat on the alter steps for the entire 45 minute ceremony, they were so, so good. Many people came up to me throughout the day (and night) to tell me what pleasure they were to be around all day. Most of the other children ran wildly about and while no one seemed to mind, and they didn't disrupt anything really, it was just really clear that our girls were not behaving like the other kids.

This was a bit of a dilemma for me. I often wonder if we are too hard on the girls or if our expectations are too high. The girls did not have one meltdown or tantrum all day, the only hitch was that at some point Rosebud just wasn't interested in smiling for anymore photos so I promised we would go somewhere special as a reward for all her hard work as a flower girl. We are going to the chosen indoor play land tomorrow, a deal is a deal. They ate their meals and were generally such good company I could see a glimpse of the future where our time spent together is less about wrangling the girls and more about being with the girls.

Omaha Mama made some good points on the fine lines and slippery slopes of good behaviour, attentive parenting and kids being kids. This topic makes its round around the blogosphere every so often. I certainly did not tell my girls they could not have fun or run around. I prepared them for the day by explaining the church is God's house just as always and even though it is a fun occasion it is a special day and we must behave like special guests.

During the dinner the DJ had to ask the children tearing around the dance floor to take their seats after several near misses with the servers carrying huge trays of food. Several parents took their kids outside to run in the lobby area, rather than fight them into their chairs. Rosebud eventually fell asleep on my lap and was transferred to her stroller for the remainder of the evening. Papoosie Girl stayed up until 11:30pm dancing with her Dad and three grandmothers, until 11:30pm when she suddenly declared she was tired and needed to go to bed. My sister-in-law took the girls home for us so we could stay a bit later.

We approached the day with the attitude that we would try everything accordingly to the schedule and just see how things went. We started our day at the hair dressers at 7:45am, went to the bride's house for photos, the church, the park for photos, the hall for more photos and the reception. I never imagined it could go this smoothly and I wonder if all the stars and moons aligned for this one perfect day? A day so perfect we keep looking at each other to confirm it really went so well.

Weddings can bring out emotions you forgot were lurking about. Beck blogged about this very thing tonight as well. Seeing family you have not seen in a long time. These people are your flesh and blood, look like you and share a common bond, yet are strangers. You make promises to see each other more often under less orchestrated circumstances knowing that it will not happen, even though you really mean it at the time. I discovered that myself and two of my first cousins gave our children the same middle name, our maiden name in fact. Life goes on and the new family you have created becomes the focus, the object blocking the rest of the view finder.

I know my brother loves me. I know this is and it has it been a complicated and delicate dance of being family and siblings, while never having the opportunity to live together. None of us chose this path, not him, not me and not my sister. We are all family though and will continue to love each other, our captain is gone, but we sail along none-the-less. I wished every Christmas for a brother or sister and was lucky to get one of each.

I truly am grateful to be a part of his special day, he has grown into a wonderful man and his bride is a treasure. It was not a day to be all about me or my feelings and I so get that. You cannot prepare your heart for such day however, it is not quite as tidy as dress fittings or searching for the perfect shoes. So enough whining.

In case I have thoroughly depressed and or bored you with the ticker tape of neurosis that resides in my head, I offer another dose of extreme cuteness. Being flower girls was the thrill of a lifetime for the girls, it really was, and I am so thankful that they were asked.


Sandra said...

Such stunning photos.

I am sorry about the sad parts ... especially for the girls.

Something similar happened at my brother's wedding but my son was too hyped up on the sugar he'd been fed all day that he didn't notice. But I did. And although I KNEW (like you do) it was unintentional, and although I didn't do any of what I did to be thanked, and although I knew there was no real way around it ... it hurt. Really hurt.

So I get it. But I also get how happy you are for them and hopefully they'll show their appreciation in other meaningful ways soon.

Beck said...

Oh, my feelings were SO hurt at my brother's wedding and I couldn't begin to figure out why. That sort of occasion is just ripe with potential hurts, really.
You and your daughters looked lovely! I'm certain that your brother and his wife love you and appreciate you, but it is HARD to remember everyone on your wedding day - it's a very stressful thing.

Christine said...

First of all that first photo iss amazing! Frame it, really.

And secondly, this was such a beautifully written post. I think it is already a favorite for me.

And I so know what you mean about being hurt, I've been there. And yes, it was likely not intentional, but the sting remains. It is so obvious that you love your brother and family. It is natural to want and expect that shout out.

At my mom's wedding my sister, the grooms daughter and granddaughter, friends of my mom's at work, and my aunt all got corsages or bouqets. Not me. I just wanted one flower. . .

Omaha Mama said...

First of all, gorgeous girls. Gorgeous you! Your dress was beautiful and so were you!

The brother thing, I relate to that so much it hurts! I would could do a whole post on it, but wouldn't because my mom and sister read my blog sometimes. We are all biologically related, but my brother and sister are one year and two days apart. I came along five years later. Even in adulthood, I feel left out. There is a bond there I will never be able to join. I've cried many adult tears over it. But am trying to move on. I can appreciate how you felt, I totally understand. Especially because you and your hubby went to such lengths to try to help out. To be part of the day. To be forgotten in the shuffle is not good.

Thanks for all of the pictures and for such an honest post. It would have been easy to just say what a great day it was. To talk about the real stuff, that takes guts!

Our captain is gone. I think that said it all and gets me all teary.

Jenifer said...

You are the best! You so understand and I feel better already.

Sandra-If I remember correctly you MC'ed the entire thing and traveled for the wedding. A little thanks really does goes far.

Beck-You are right of course, they were busy and stressed, it still hurts though.

Christine-I didn't have a corsage either and I was sister of the groom. I was going to mention that, but I figured the pity party was long enough. The girls had adorable flower baskets and really that was plenty.

Omaha Mama-You know I was going to post just the good parts and slap in a few photos of the girls. I just couldn't though, I knew you all would understand and not judge me and I needed that understanding. Real life is good, bad, sad and everything in between. This was as honest as it gets.

I am smiling this morning, thanks to all of you. I am off to the indoor play land now - a deal is a deal.

bubandpie said...

The terrible thing about weddings is that everything seems symbolic - every detail becomes weighted with a significance that suddenly evaporates when the wedding is over. I think you're probably right that the speech is the kind of incident that suddenly fades into insignificance with the passage of time.

But what I really came to say is - that hair! That hair! With the little flowers in it! And that ribbon! So gorgeous.

Mimi said...

Jenifer! What a beautiful and sad and thoughtful post. The girls look just beautiful, and I love the picture of the three of you together.

Isn't it so much worse when are kids are slighted, than when we ourselves are slighted?

I think everything you're feeling is really really understandable, and you have every right to be upset. Of course, weddings are hard for everyone, including the principals (as you note). Maybe you can talk to your brother in a month or so? Just to clear the air? I really think it's wonderful how hard you are working to keep in contact with everyone--it might be worth it to have a talk.

But you don't need my assvice. You need support. Your feelings are real and understandable. Your girls are beautiful and you are doing a wonderful job with them.

Haley-O said...

I LOVE the photos! The girls looked GORJ!!!

I'm SO sorry that you felt that you and the kids were left out. That's really a shame. Poor things! But, at least they got to wear pretty dresses and get their hair did! :)

Pendullum said...

Look how beautfiful you all look...

I am so sorry about the oversight...

Iam certain,that it wasone of thosecrazy things, where he thought he wrote thanks, ormaybe he did and he skipped the line by accident...It happens...
But you and your darlings...
What a day of beauty...
Your daughters look like angels and you, you look gorgeous...
And it does look like you had beautiful moments together as a family....

Mad Hatter said...

Fist off, those pictures. The girls are stunning. Positively stunning.

As to the heart of this beautiful post, families can be so hard. I just finished a week-long visit with my sister and I am tired and, I think, in need of counselling. We don't ask for the families we are given and yet we love them so. No one gives us a manual for navigating that love, their needs, and our own. Families are humanity at its best and most grusome worst.

Alpha DogMa said...

Part of the reason we eloped (for lack of a better word) was the expectation that our wedding would fix some family fights/tension arising from the wedding of the OM's two elder brothers. Specifically the matter of who would and would NOT be the flower girl.

Needless to say our elopement did not alleviate tensions and created more hurt feelings. Yeesh.

I do like B&P's take. All the big things have meaning at a wedding - so why not the little things? Were I in your shoes, I'd feel hurt too.

Your daughters are beautiful. So's there mama.