I knew this week would be hard. I knew that I would have to put on a smile and act more like the girl I used to be, when I was younger, when I was naive. When I had no idea that there was a world outside of church and marriage. I just didn’t realize it would be this hard.
My baby sister is getting married. Tomorrow. And she is very much a baby. It’s not that I see myself in her, but rather that I see some of my choices in her choices. Marriage at 21, to a boy she has known for eight months. Dishtowels and children. I overheard her saying she’s dropping out of college. Now I know that I might just be projecting my life experiences onto her. In fact, I most likely am. But being aware of that doesn’t make it any easier to smile and be happy for her when my cynicism is screaming in my head that she’s too young; it’s too soon; she could be so much more.
Last night was the bridal shower. All my sisters were together, from as far away as New York. There are eight of us, and it was interesting to observe the interactions. We present as a good Mormon family, at least when my mother is around. It’s not that she doesn’t know that we are having sex with men we aren’t married too. That we don’t go to church. That some of us don’t believe in a god. It’s simply that she doesn’t acknowledge it very often. She wants to believe that we are the little girls she raised us to be: sweet, compliant, righteous. Good.
Don’t get me wrong. I know she loves us. But sometimes I think she sees herself as a Martyred Mother Who Has Unconditional Love For Her Sinful Children.
Maybe that isn’t even true. Maybe it’s just how I see it.
Tonight is the “Rehearsal Dinner”, which doesn’t follow any type of rehearsal whatsoever, because Baby Sister will be married in the LDS temple tomorrow, and only worthy Mormons are allowed to attend. Most of my family will not be able to watch her get married, including my father. I married in a temple many years ago, and it was the same, though at that point, my father was still in the church and was able to attend with my mother, as they were still married. I’m not sure if he will dare bring his girlfriend of ten plus years tonight. Probably not, though I wish he would.
I am, however, bringing Special Man to both dinner tonight and the wedding reception tomorrow night. This afternoon he will be here to help me load up the flowers and run them by the church for set up so that we are ready to go tomorrow. I’ve made so many centerpieces, I never want to look at purple hydrangeas again. I still have a few things to do, but I’m mostly done. Ironically, her bouquet is the prettiest, and was the easiest thing to get done. It’s beautiful.
I want her to have a good life, full of love and happiness. But at the shower, when asked to write a bit of marriage advice to her for a book that someone was putting together, I choked. My marriage failed. I am not convinced I will ever marry again, no matter how in love I am. In the end, I tried to think of some good life advice. “Use a written budget and stick to it.”
That’s all I had.