OMW & Weddings: A (Usually) Recipe for the Morose
Yes, even for beloved family members, or family members that I’ve only seen once or twice — which was the case this weekend. Personally speaking, being at weddings makes me wistful about relationships that didn’t work out. Particularly the one I thought I had working last year; with the young lady that I really WISH things had worked out with. She was a jewel still in the rough.
Nevertheless, as the saying that John Fox has now made famous worldwide goes, “It is what it is.”
My problem is that my brain is like a Swiss Watch. ALL DAY.
Events such as weddings, births, birthdays, anniversaries, funerals and other major milestones often make me extremely reflective, introspective and, in some cases, extremely wistful. Particularly when things didn’t go the way that I planned and were out of my control. As the saying goes, you’d like to fail on your own terms, knowing you did everything in your power. When things are yanked from you and you had very little to no control on the outcome of matters, you feel even more angst when things turn out dispositive.
Ultimately, here I was, at a wedding for a cousin that I’ve only spoken to over the phone on a few occasions, probably only saw once when I was little and once otherwise at a funeral (sadly), and she’s getting married in her mid-60s, to a man who is 70 years of age. And they couldn’t have been any happier. It should be noted that they have known each other for 45 years. Amazing how life has these different circle sizes. Sometimes people get brought back around in your life a few months after you meet them, some are recurrent in your life, even as a long-time friend, and you “discover” something about them years later, and others are brought into your life at an early age, and brought back around much, much later. I chuckle at God’s sense of humor, because we would never fashion things this way, especially with our fickle natures and microwave sensibilities.
WEDDINGS & OMW.
Usually, weddings and I do not mix.
There was a period from 2004 until my parents’ 30th Anniversary/Renewal of Vows in December 2009, where I was either in the immediate wedding party or required to play some sort of significant role besides sitting in the audience and eating hors d’oeuvres and drinking copious amounts of alcohol. That, in and of itself, is stressful. There are so many deadlines, requirements for punctuality and several potential gaffes that can never be lived down, particularly for someone ELSE’S “Special Day”.
I swore off going to another wedding unless it was my own, after leaving my parents’ ceremony in 2009. That particular ceremony was pleasant and enjoyable. I didn’t feel any of those aforementioned morose sentiments. Maybe it is because my parents’ marriage is something that I view as a template for my own, should I EVER get married, or maybe it is just because it was them and not just a friend or an extended relative.
Although my cousin who got married is my second cousin, we had never spent more than 10 minutes in the same room, if at all; nevermind that we’ve lived less than 30 miles apart for roughly half of my life. Amazing, but then again, 2/3 of my father’s family lives within 100 miles of me, and some of them I’ve never even met, and the others who I’ve known even half my life, I only see every 3-4 years — AT BEST. This is not to point fingers at anyone. On the contrary, I’ve been one of the main impetuses for reconnecting generations of each part of my family, near and extended or otherwise. So when my mother notified me — immediately after my foiled plans to go to North Carolina for Labor Day Weekend — that my cousin was getting married on September 17, I said “Sure, of course I’ll be there” (not realizing how much work I was going to be responsible for leading up until then).
However, everything got done throughout the weekend, either via phone or computer (thank God for technological innovations) and I’ve met a few more of the literally dozens of cousins that I’ve never met. And we’re not talking the not-by-blood/more-family-than-blood-relatives “cousins” that some people have, but literally second and third cousins, only separated by a generation and sometimes 15 miles for 20 years of your life. Having spent roughly half my life here, that’s shameful on MY part more than anyone else’s.
Maybe it was the wedding being held at 11 (11:45, officially, as CPT was in full effect) in the morning, maybe it was the announced open bar, maybe it was the fact that nearly everyone there was at least 50 years of age (there were only 4 or 5 people there younger than me, and three of them were the bride’s nieces and nephews), but I felt good the entire time. Near the end, I began to think about the aforementioned woman that I was seeing in 2010, but it was either wrong person completely, or right person/wrong time. At any rate, I refused to dwell on that thought.
It didn’t hurt that I was “Happy” like Joe Namath (but much more composed, as my tolerance is as high as Jason Terry’s socks):
I had inquired about the requisite Bloody Mary before noon, and a couple of martinis, but decided to wait until the brief ceremony and was the third person on line at the bar. I had the aforementioned, then a Jack (Daniels) and “Co-Cola”, then a Henny (Hennessy) and Coke (x3) and a few other drinks, before topping it off with another martini after eating twice. I am no lush, I only felt somewhat buzzed (as I routinely drink 10-15 beers per Sunday during the NFL season), but for some reason, this wedding felt different. I later found out they had almost done this in shotgun fashion, and there was no real build up to it. COULD BE IT. Maybe because my life has been a whirlwind for the past three years nonstop and there hasn’t been much time for reflection; especially since this summer began. Who knows. I just know that I didn’t feel sullen before, during, and/or afterward, and that must mean something significant.
Maybe the older you become, the more you accept things, good and bad, and don’t freak out and overreact (as much). Maybe you just don’t care anymore. I dunno. I couldn’t care less whether I ever get married or not. Then at the same time, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about being a father, a loving father a (shaky hand gesture + lisp) SEMI-GOOD HUSBAND, youknowameeeeeeaaaaaaaan? WHAT.
(Reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=di1bOwNnmF0 — 5:19-5:43).
At the end of the day, I’m content more than ever. I’ve been through things many of you will never know of, even if I write and bare my soul continually. Many people couldn’t endure two days in the half-a-decade-long abyss that I found myself in with no explanation whatsoever. All I know is that it has made me a more solid man, and I can handle anything that comes my way.
Even the previously-sworn off weddings, after nearly two years of avoiding them like the plague. That showed me a lot about how I’ve grown and how much we don’t appreciate life until too much of the most precious hours, days, weeks, months and YEARS have passed. Rich too soon, wise too late.
And no, I did not catch the garter, and to this day I have never even participated in such gross tomfoolery. Goodness gracious sakes alive. I’ve seen Old Maids catch that thing 20 years ago and they have more lines in their faces now, ALONE, NEVER MARRIED, than the NYC Subway System. If God sees fit to send me a worthwhile woman to marry, then so be it, but you will NOT see me acting thirsty trying to catch a friggin’ garter.
Thanks for reading and laughing at my warped thinking.