Cookie Dough

I’m cookie dough. I’m not done baking – from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

One of my friends has been posting lately about the preparations for her daughter’s upcoming wedding. There have been engagement photos, snapshots of the apartment they will be living in once they are married, and, of course, pictures of the happy couple.

She is gorgeous. Blonde, slim, pretty. He has dark hair and eyes with a strong jaw and a nice smile. Honestly, they could both be models. If they ever have children, there is no doubt they will be just as lovely to look at as their parents.

I have been watching the planning with great interest as the wedding will be held at the same location where the bride’s parents had their reception. I was a bridesmaid in their wedding and have fond memories of the place. (Also, there was a table with fruit and different types of melted chocolate to dip said fruit into. No one could get to through the wall of bridesmaids. Yum…)

Then the other day I was scrolling through Facebook researching something on my computer and came across a post my friend had put up celebrating her daughter leaving her teens.

This lovely girl is getting married, in a few short weeks, at age twenty.

My jaw dropped.

Now, granted, I got married at twenty-two – and we all know how well that went long-term – but I am having a hard time imagining being married at twenty.

The same age my son is now. (Who I also can’t imagine being married right now. Ye gods…)

When I was twenty – hell, even when I was twenty-two and actually standing at the altar – I didn’t know who I was. I had just finished school. I had never held a full-time job. I had never lived by myself, never maintained a household, never tried to mesh my life, likes, or needs with another person.

And, boy, did it show.

It showed in my inability to manage conflict. It showed in how I wasn’t able to advocate for what I wanted out of life, whether it was what restaurant to eat at or where to go on one of our rare vacations. It showed in how I allowed parts of myself to disappear rather than risk upsetting my partner.

The funny part is a few weeks ago, I bought a wedding dress. My ‘best dude’ – the offspring – and I went to the local bridal shop for National Bridal Sale Week. I tried on something like 7 dresses and found one that made me feel pretty and had some bling. (There will not be a picture posted as my fiance reads this blog, and he doesn’t get to see the dress until the day of the wedding. Love you, dear.) When they asked at the store if we had a date picked out yet, the answer was no, but we were working on it.

So, today we actually went out to look at wedding venues. We had an unexpected day off together and scheduled a couple of last minute appointments. We have visited two so far, both of which have Sunday dates available next summer. (Which means it looks like we are getting closer to that setting a date thing. Now we need to check on rabbi availability.)

Both are local. One has a lovely setting, with a gorgeously appointed inn attached to the venue, which would be nice for our wedding night (can you say whirlpool tub? I love whirlpool tubs.) as well as providing rooms for a few of our potential out-of-town guests. The downside is the timing on the ceremony. They plan for things to start at 4pm, but for a small fee can start a half hour earlier. Given that some of our guests are not exactly local, the timing would be a problem for those needing to drive some distance to get home afterwards. Especially on a Sunday where they might have to work the next day. We would love for people to stay and celebrate with us and not have to leave early to drive.

The second place is close to a somewhat busy road, so while the setting is nice there is a bit more noise, and it’s not a private location. That said, we can pick any time we want for the ceremony and reception, which solves the problem of people having to leave early. Another benefit is there on site splash pad/water park. Since it will be summer, and there will be a few younger children there, that is a nice plus. If there is too much grownup stuff going on, a parent can take them for a short walk and a cool down.

This time through, I feel more confident in my relationship and our ability to weather whatever life throws at us. It has been a roller coaster so far with each of us losing a parent within the space of two weeks, then him losing his mother just a year later. We have integrated households – mostly; there is still some work to be done – and each are considerate of the other’s needs and wants.

At twenty-two I wasn’t self-aware enough to know how to do this. At fifty-two, I feel like I have become enough of myself to accomplish it.

And when I look at those pictures my friend posts about her daughter, I wish her all the luck in the world making her marriage grow and grow happily.

It’s what I want for myself, after all.

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