My niece got married Friday night. I’m still digesting the fact that she’s no longer running around the lawn, screaming, giggling in glee as she babbled incoherently about whatever. She was such a happy, energetic child, and I marveled at how perfect she was. I know it’s trite, but I couldn’t believe that she had grown up enough to actually get married (just as a matter of time) even though I had seen it happen over the years. I mean, she had been living with Nick for several years, first in his parents’ house during the week, then in their own apartment, and then a house. They adopted their dog, Obi, who was their ring bearer with a pouch tied to his collar (and the groomsman using a spoonful of peanut butter to lead him down the aisle), and they both had full-time jobs–at the same place! I’ve seen her during all these stages, so it’s not as if she went from two to twenty-one without me noticing it. She told me about the wedding nearly two years ago, so it’s not like it got sprung on me.
The whole event was surreal. My brother called me up at 4:20 p.m. (bro) and asked me if we could be there by 5 p.m. My parents were sleeping, and that wasn’t doable, anyway. Apparently, they were doing family photos beforehand, and I told him we would be there as soon as possible. I woke up my parents, and sure enough, my mother freaked out. She’s an anxious type to begin with, and throwing a monkey in the wrench (heh) made it even worse. We managed to leave by 5:10 p.m., and we made it to the venue (the groom’s parents’ backyard) by 5:30 p.m.
There was only one picture taken (my mom for the grandmothers and niece pic), so it was kind of silly for us to be there so early. It was nice to snag a parking spot right across the street, though. Funny story before we left. I was wearing a sleeveless shirt with spaghetti straps (black) and a floral teardrop skirt (also black) that reached my knees. I had my hair down because I wanted to look nicer than normal. I had no idea what I was supposed to wear because I missed ‘church casual’ on the invite (which wouldn’t have helped me, anyway. I haven’t attended church in thirty years), so I decided to just do the best with what I had. It wasn’t a problem because people were dressed in everything from jeans to long dresses and everything in between.
Anyway, my dad looked at me and asked if I were going to bring a coat. I looked at him if he had lost his goddamn mind. It’s fucking summer. Who the hell wears a coat in the summer? Granted, it was going to be outside at night and the temperature was predicted to hit a low of 59, but that would be at like three in the morning–and I still wouldn’t wear a coat. I said as calmly as I could that I’d be fine–this is a long-running issue between us. Ever since I was a small child, he has been haranguing me to wear a fucking coat because he felt cold. This time, he said that seeing me without a coat made him feel cold for me. I said with a laugh that he could wear two coats and feel warm for me. He wisely let it drop, but it shouldn’t have come up at all. Later in the night after the sun went down, he asked if I was cold, and I said I was still hot. He refused to believe me, but I was.
It’s one of the most frustrating things about him–if he doesn’t feel/think/believe something, than he can’t fathom someone else could possible be different, especially his spawn. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but it’s still frustrating.
Anyway, the wedding location was woodsy and dreamlike. There were also a ton of bugs, which was not great. They had plenty of bug spray, but I did not want to smell that nasty during the wedding. It was surreal to be in that situation because I had not been at a wedding in decades. In addition, I’m not good with normies, and I had a hunch there would be a bunch of normies at the wedding.
Side note: A guy with swagger came sauntering into the backyard and announced with a huge smile that he was in the neighborhood and thought he’d drop in. He was probably fifteen to twenty years my junior, and he was baaaad to the core. He was clean-cut, wearing tight jeans, had tats, and had his sunglasses on the back of his head. I was immediately attracted to him, and I knew in an instant that he would be a baaaaaaaaaaaaad date. Not that he was a bad person, but he was the epitome of not the kind of guy you take home to your friends and family. He was more the ‘let’s fuck like bunnies for a week and then never speak again’ kind of guy.
The ceremony itself was beautiful, but surprisingly traditional. My brother walked my niece down the aisle, and I could see him choking up. Both fathers gave speeches during dinner, and they did the tossing the garter and bridal bouquet thing. During the latter, both my mom and my sister-in-law’s mom were telling me to go, and I was like, “Not a fucking chance in hell.” I didn’t say it exactly like that, but I was thinking it. I did joke that if I stood in the group, I might actually catch it.
There were people there that I hadn’t seen since my brother’s wedding. Some of them looked exactly the same, and some of them looked every bit their age. I’m sure I’m in the latter category. Or rather, I’m somewhere in the middle. I don’t look my age, but I definitely don’t look like I’m in my twenties any longer.
One really cool thing is that they asked for a song to be played during the reception (in their invite–which was online. I thought that was brilliant), and I suggested Gravity by Vienna Teng for several reasons. I didn’t think anything of it, but I heard it as we were taking more family photos. It was during our side of the family photo-taking, so I thought that was great timing.
It’s strange to watch something like this from my position. I am not super close to my niece, though we DM on FB every few weeks and have gotten together for a game night a few times. My brother and I have gotten closer in the past decade due to both of us changing and mellowing out, but this was a side of him I’d never seen. When he gave his speech, he could barely get it out because he was so emotional. I know he loves his children very much and that being a father is one of the most important things in his life. He’s not an emotional guy, though. He prides himself on being rational, and he has difficulty with social cues. Watching him choke back his tears made me cry anew, and it was an odd feeling.
I’ll never forget the moment my brother walked my niece down the aisle. She looked like a princess, and she was glowing with an inner radiance I hadn’t seen in her before. She was beautiful, and it was more than just physical. I cried when I saw her, and I felt a rush of emotions that I hadn’t thought I’d feel. She and her groom wrote their own wedding vows, and they were really sweet as well.
It was as near a perfect event as I had ever witnessed, and I wish them all the best. I can’t help but feel some doubt, but I want them to beat the odds and to prove me wrong.