And why does it suddenly sound not so bad?
Basically, before this week, I’d hear about people getting engaged, or see it on Facebook, and think, Seriously, what’s the rush? Blogs with foofy weddings, all that DIY shit, that’s never been me. I went to a friend’s wedding right after college, and I was put off by its cheesiness and the fact that they watered down the drinks considerably. All this stuff is just not for me.
But after reading east side bride, and MAYBE writing to her for advice, I think I know what irks me. It’s the wedding part. I could care less about tablecloths and Chivari chairs and making paper tassels for the backs of seats at the ceremony. I tried knitting once, and I got so fed up that I couldn’t master it in the first row of stitches that I gave up and never worried about it again.
Marriage, though? That doesn’t seem so bad. Maybe. I mean, I’m still not totally sold on it. What if you get tired of that person? More importantly, what if they get tired of you? What happens if you find out way later that your husband has some side life you didn’t know about (and you think you’re pretty savvy and aren’t the kind of person that kind of thing actually happens to), or if there’s something about him that gets worse with time instead of better that you just can’t get over? How are you supposed to know when it’s the right time and if that person’s THE person, and what if THEY don’t care about getting married–does that mean they’re not for you?
My parents had pretty much the best marriage I know. They got lucky. They went on one date, and my mom proposed to my dad on the second. (It was kind of a joke, but kind of not.) They moved in three months later, and they got engaged after six months total when my grandfather asked them at some holiday dinner if they were going to get married. They looked at each other and shrugged and said, sure, okay, that sounds good. My mom had just turned 23 when they got married, and my dad was 26.
Sure, they fought when I was growing up, and I’d ask if they were going to get divorced. “No, of course not,” they’d always say. My dad had his temper and his quirks. My mom’s enthusiasm could probably be overbearing. But it would be a short fight, and in the next few hours, if not in less time, they’d at least seem back to normal.
My dad died three and a half years ago (though it feels like much less). I had a conversation with my mom recently about the holidays and how she got Dad to come to dinners with her–my mom’s side is Jewish, my dad’s is Christian (and he was vehemently non-practicing). We Jews have a bunch of dinners all packed together in the fall, and I guess it can be overwhelming, if you didn’t grow up in a stereotypical Jewish family. Our dinners are big, loud, and full of gossiping about Esther so-and-so’s son, or who’s not looking so good on the golf course. I’m a pretty talkative person, but I have to fight to be heard at these meals. So for my dad, who came from a conservation Lutheran family in Pennsylvania where no one talked about anything over dinner, both my mom and I could tell it wasn’t always easy for him.
My mom told me that the only real, lasting argument they had was the discussion about the Jewish holidays every year. She’d ask him to go to one service with her; he refused. She wanted him to come to both nights of every holiday dinner; he said he’d go to one. It really bothered her, and every year ended the same. Mom said the holidays were always a tough time for her. I never knew this was a thing.
This is a problem I understand now, because I’m going through it, too. My boyfriend is wonderful. He’s extremely patient with my need to control everything (I’m working on it), and he’s just as weird (if not weirder) than me. But this year, our first holiday season together as an actual couple (I hate this word), he didn’t understand why I wanted him to come to even one night of each of the holiday’s dinners. “Won’t we just see them next month?” He assumed there was a Jewish holiday every few weeks, which I can see as a reasonable assumption if you were raised completely the opposite.
We talked about it, and I think he gets why it’s important to me, even if my family can be hard to bear at times. I guess we’ll find out next year.
But this brings me back to the original point of this post. Kind of. The part where you get this pretty ring that was picked out just for you, where this person has decided that you are IT, ideally for the rest of your lives, that he wants to tell everyone he’s related to and likes that hey, this lady is special, and I want to have a big party and a teary ceremony where I can show you just how awesome she is and we are together–this seems like a really nice thing to get to feel. And the whole idea where you can go in on a house together, if you want one, and pick out a pet together, if someone doesn’t already have one, and you have someone who is in your corner, is the family that YOU chose. I think that’s pretty neat and adult-like.
I think I might be a candidate, and it kind of freaks me out.