Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Wedding or the Check?

I'm a thrifty person. After I graduated from college my career aspirations included joining a commune, doing street theatre and living on hand-outs, traveling the world, and going to grad school. I never fantasized about marrying a doctor or a lawyer even when I discovered I could not afford grad school, but still, being broke in L.A. and driving an ancient car got old after a decade.

After I became an attorney's wife some of my favorite clothes still came from thrift stores. Which isn't to say I didn't enjoy the money. A house. Private school for the daughters. Travel. Lots of theatre tickets. But even then I didn't want all the trappings--diamonds and Rolex's and luxury cars just seemed like a waste to me. Weddings were one of the items I put in the category of unnecessary extravagance. Whenever we took our daughters to a big wedding, I told them that they, too, could have a fancy wedding. Or they could have a check. Eventually, those discussions were abbreviated to simply, "The wedding or the check, girls." I'm pretty sure they knew I wanted them to choose the check--or at least a very modest celebration matched with a modestly-sized check.

C. and her fiancé hovered between running off to Vegas and having a more traditional wedding. She was calm and happy when I spoke to her yesterday after their shopping spree at thrift shops and bargain stores to hunt down the necessary pieces and parts to make centerpieces. She was glad they were having a wedding, she said. She learned a lot--and one of the things she learned is that there are a lot of people she likes and wants to party with. Me, too. I'm thrilled there'll be a wedding. It takes a big event to gather our far-flung family together. Of course, not absolutely everyone we love will be able to make it, but big milestones are meant to be shared, I think. To be witnessed. To be celebrated. And the words "celebrate" and "alone" seem like they wouldn't want to be at the same party.

Me, I'm ready to party. I look forward to meeting more of N.'s family. To traveling to a beautiful place I haven't been. To seeing a bunch of my ex in-laws. And I want to draw the circle tighter around my daughters and my son, the people they love, and me and the man who loves me. This will require some effort and concentration, since we currently inhabit four different states. That geography might shift a bit in the coming year. But no matter how that shakes out, I'm aiming for a state of togetherness on a more regular basis. It will be easy to think about that this coming week as we revel in a state of fuzzy family love.


Birdie said...

Take the check. Always take the check.

stephanie said...

I'm excited for you to party.