June is the month of weddings. Mom and Dad’s wedding was June 4, 1951. My wedding date was June 18, 1993. We celebrated a dozen or more anniversaries with friends and family on Facebook. I’m always amazed at how many of us choose that incredibly hot, muggy month of summer to get married. Of course, here in the south, the only cooler months are October- March and sometimes even they are questionable for beautiful weather!
All these weddings and celebrations reminded me of planning my wedding with Mom. She was quite a stickler for many of the details about which I cared nothing. Not long after we became engaged, I cut my hair super short. Mom was not happy and insisted that I grow it out for the wedding. It was so frustrating, but I must admit my hair did look pretty with my dress – big, poufy hair to go with a very stylish (for the time) big, poufy dress. When we returned from our honeymoon, I cut it back off in a style I wore for the next 24 years.
Speaking of dresses, she looked for her dress for months and didn’t buy one until the Thursday before we were married on Friday. I fell in love with the first dress I tried on, but I bet she tried on more than fifty. Everything else was ready, but Mom would be coming to our wedding in her slip! I was about to lose my mind when we finally found a beautiful blue dress in Toccoa.
The other topic where Mom and I bickered was the reception. I wanted something simple – cakes, punch, mints – but she hired a caterer who made a whole spread including palm trees made from carrots and lettuce leaves. Since Michael and I only made one loop around the fellowship hall and posed for so many pictures with friends and extended family, I think we only ate a couple of bites of cake before we ran off to Lake Burton for our honeymoon. It wasn’t worth the fussing; that was her domain! She worked so hard to make it happen and clean it up. I think she enjoyed the party as much as anyone.
As I look at her now resting in the chair beside the table where I sit and type, it’s hard for me to remember the strong-willed, dominant woman she used to be. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember her strength and power. I have diaries and journals from my youth so I know I’m not exaggerating about her influence over my day-to-day life when I lived in their house. Even after we returned to Clarkesville in 2001, she guided me in setting up a house and caring for the children.
It seems strange to say, but I would love to have one of our infamous rows again. I would love to have her strong of body and strong of will to tell me what to do. My children don’t remember that woman and I would love to have them meet her in all her power. She really was a force with whom to be reckoned. She was sassy and curious and friendly.
I miss her. I miss attending events, especially weddings and concerts, with her. She was opinionated and full of sharp wit, and she always had something smart to say. Sometimes that wit still breaks through the fog that envelops her mind, and though it may not have anything to do with the topic on hand, she’ll have everyone laughing and thoroughly entertained by her. I love those moments- just like the sun breaking through on a dense, cloudy day.
So, brides and grooms, as you plan your weddings and celebrations, pick your battles carefully. Cherish the moments of connecting with all the people involved. In the future, may you have many memories of your wedding planning and the day itself that will make you smile.
I guess that really goes for all of us every day.