It is five-twenty in the morning, and I’m gripped by a sudden need to write. I see poorly without contacts or glasses but it is dusky grey, anyway, and I know exactly where my notebook and pen are. Often there is an urge to write a phrase, a title that wants a story, a dream image that sticks, an insight that tugs me from sleep side of life to wakeful side. I sit up and scribble things as quickly as they come:
ice bought (how much) taken over at 11
small tent? (Josh?)
plum (if no teal tablecloths)?
deliveries at 2:30 to either rain/shine sites
alterations still due on gown…
mend reception dress
bridesmaid dress for one, still
mine…can I just do simple? old stuff?
extra car(s) for more family
research wildflowers!and others:cheap, please
troll Michael’s, etc. with K. tomorrow
haircut? A.says pixie, haha
These are clearly not notes for a short story. They’re so inelegant that no poem would have them. These fevered thoughts demanded yet another list. It’s still all about Wedding Planning. Every day.
Concerns on the cusp of delirious often awaken me prematurely, sleep yet exercising its gravity on body and mind. But it is no use. Even though I spent over six hours yesterday developing several neat, detailed Word documents to put in a new Wedding folder, I am not done. Not anywhere near it. Why did I imagine it would feel easier? That we could wrap this up like an online gift order, signed, sealed, ready to be useful and enjoyed?
I wrote another post (“The Duet of Marriage”) about the bride-to-be, A. and her fiance, D., who have moved to another state. A. is beginning an excellent position within the field for which she actually received her Masters degree. Thrilling! So now the MOB (mother of the bride) has taken the reins to guide this event all the way to successful denouement. From the start, I’ve been determined to get it right. I bought two books on weddings (barely cracked), developed multiple lists, added a notebook to keep it all in one place. Then had a tearful breakdown whereupon I determined I was absolutely incompetent as a planner of weddings, as well as being a human being. The feeling was dismal, as if my strength had been usurped, my brain’s circuitry dimmed. Clarity is what I crave!
Still I, the limping, sniffling mother-planner that I appear to be, have persevered, ignorance and all. Even am making some decent progress. This wedding will happen in a month–the bride- and groom-to-be will be flying in, ready to marry. And the intricate threads are connecting day by day.
Since much of the family lives elsewhere, there are not a lot of ready-made helpers now. I look forward to their arrival so I can utilize assistance and absorb moral support. This moment they are living their daily lives, working and/or raising children or travelling for work or pleasure. I call out an SOS once a week like clockwork. But at least I have the time to devote to this endeavor–if not always the abundant financial reserves needed. I should be truthful and note the second is one of the things that awakens me in the night like a gong sounded in my ear. Do all parents of the bride feel this way?
Thank goodness I’m not obligated to work a paying job every day ten to twelve hours a day now. How did I get anything done in my personal life before retirement? On the other hand, after this I may need to look for work again. (Worrisome tangent here–no, I have never worked in hospitality services or in retail. I wonder where I could I could hang around and offer good will and solace.) But not for just financial replenishment. It is good to be immersed in activities that are new and challenging, sparking the mind, exacting rapid problem solving from my dumbfounded self.
I believed I was an organized employee, but as a mental health counselor much of my time was scheduled for me, whether or not I agreed with a day’s line-up. The real work was based on experience and education. Helping people help themselves is largely intuitive, requiring discernment and careful excavation of problems that create a lack of health. It is useful to employ tactful honesty and compassion, also patience when no one else can find it. I often spent hours locating and coordinating resources, and creating curriculum for groups I oversaw. And another skill was staying calm and clear-headed when there were alarming crises.
And so, I muse, it is with all this planning and coordinating and making decisions. On one hand I need and want to honor A. and D., their preferences and vision. On the other, they are not here and I have to meet with vendors, put in orders and pay. Well, they’re here–via that miracle of electronic communication, texting. I never expected to appreciate it so much. But have you tried to consult about an array of diverse, colorful items via camera photos while you are in a store or warehouse? It’s just not the same as being here in the flesh. We can’t compare together, debate our differences, settle–via discussions in real time–on the best and final choice. But we do talk on the phone often, even for a couple of hours. Nothing like the human voice to elucidate ideas.
But, wait. Seventy-five dollars for delivery of a few corsages? Another one hundred for set-up of chairs? And I need to track down moss and heather, ferns and tea lights. And mini sage sticks. And what about the vintage tablecloth I want to find for the guest book table? I need purple flowers most of all.
It takes skills to do this sort of thing. I have gained solid respect for events planners. They must have to be diplomatic, efficient, expert in many areas, resourceful, patient, empathetic and as hearty and energetic as marathon runners. A little like a mental health practitioner but on a very different stage. Maybe that’s what professional wedding planners are: stage directors who are secretly therapists, with a cast of characters who need their dearest dreams to come to fruition. They make it happen, so cheers to them.
I had no idea how many diagrams, possibilities, mistakes and inspired moments could occur. I hadn’t much thought of professional planners–or any of this–before. I’ve executed lots of parties over the years; we have a good-sized family when we can gather. I felt in control then. Those events didn’t try to outwit or flummox me. Or become so ravenous for cash.
But this is something else: a daughter getting married. I know, it happens all the time. There have been other weddings in my family, but I didn’t have to do much. I wasn’t responsible for outcomes. That’s the source of moments of fears or tears. I want this to go so beautifully. For people to be happy. The day to flush with well-being. Family and friends to feel excited for bride and groom, pleased to witness and celebrate.
Joy in the moment. And contentment. What I would like for all people. Good grief, it really is starting to sound like the work I was paid for so long. In the end, it’s all about being human beings, working with and for others.
And, too, this is about myself. I may not be able to pull the whole thing off perfectly. There are things that will help or hinder along the way. Like: it could rain like only Oregon loves to rain–spontaneously, with gusts of wind, right into the forest meadow where the ceremony is to be held. (It’s more or less okay–we have a covered area rented, too!) But I can begin to see their vision. And it’s brimming with love. Yes, that’s the core of this.
So, if my posts are a little late over the next four weeks, please bear with me. I’ll be immersed in details, and looking forward to sharing with family and friends. I’m just a MOB who, coincidentally, is trying her hand at the role of wedding planner. After it’s over, I’m taking a vacation even if it’s on the couch. Or back at the computer with more stories, relaxation and my real work melded. Until then…the mad fun is just beginning, so please excuse me. I need to work on one last item before resting up for tomorrow. I have a dream to make come (as much as possible) true.