My daughter got married. I don’t recommend this. Planning a wedding is a miserable ordeal. I say that because my daughter planned her own wedding and it was terrible to watch. At one point she asked me to do one little thing and I forgot to do it. It was just too much for me. The thing she asked me to do involved the phone and I’m terrible at talking. And then she asked me to do something that involved counting, so I messed that up too. I should tell you my daughter makes me very nervous. First of all, she’s much older than me, and secondly, she expects me to mess up. This comes from years of her being late to birthday parties because I got lost, years of me claiming important school papers were “stolen” aka “accidentally thrown in the garbage” and years of me letting her take the reins because she’s more responsible and more competent that I could ever pretend to be.
Add that to the fact that this kid, who used to stand at the bottom of the steps yelling at the rest of the family to hurry up so she wouldn’t be late for school, this kid, who stays on the phone with me for hours because I sound “a little funny” was about to officially, in every sense of the word, belong to someone else, nearly killed us. No one can ever prepare you for that feeling that your baby isn’t really your baby anymore. Laugh all you want, but you wait.
In the end, the wedding was everything she envisioned. It took place on a romantic vineyard in Santa Ynez, California, with the most awe-inspiring trees, fields of lavender, climbing roses, little dreamy archways and two giant lawns. She ran down the aisle, danced barefoot, and had the time of her life. I’ve never seen a happier, more carefree bride. Everything about the night was perfect. I’ll never forget Kim in her dress, the way Alex looked at Kim, the flowers, the food, the way everyone was hugging and dancing. Everything was just a dream, until Dan and I had to give a speech.
We practiced it several hundred times beforehand, but how could we possibly prepare for the microphone going dead. Or the fact that we somehow printed out the speech with the same page twice. Or that my husband was holding the pages I was supposed to read and I was holding his. We kept switching microphones and pages and we were both sweating like we were being tortured. I was standing there repeating the same paragraphs over and over, stumbling over words like dream and journey which I chose to pronounce as dweamy and jurtels, all while yelling to be heard. At one point, I felt my skirt slipping off my body so I started reading as quickly as possible before it could plummet to the ground. My cousin recorded the whole thing on her phone and you can hear her in the background saying things like, “oh god,” and “somebody help them,” every time the mic went silent.
Afterwards I sat down and had that overwhelming feeling that we may very well have ruined our daughter’s perfect wedding. It was that bad. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but I’m leaving out a lot of unfortunate details. As the days passed after the wedding, I would get flashbacks of the speech and try to imagine how we would do it better if only she would get divorced, remarry, and give us another crack at it.
But then, a miracle happened. We got the pictures back. I could finally see my daughter’s face while we were giving our speech. It was impossible to see her when we were actually giving our speech because our faces were glued to our papers like we were being held hostage and forced to read a note we never would have written ourselves.
My daughter must have known we were struggling, but you couldn’t see any trace of fear in her face that her parents were failing miserably. All I could see was her holding on to her husband and smiling, as if to say, “These insanely unprepared, bumbling fools are our parents.” and everything about that seemed to make her very happy, because even though she now belonged to someone else, nothing had changed.