Archive for Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Words fall short in advice to bride

November 14, 2007

Well, there is going to be a wedding in the family, and I couldn't be happier ... I think. The bride is our oldest daughter, 27, and if ever a person were ready for this, she is the one. So that isn't the problem. And her fiance is an amazing young man, who seems the perfect fit for her. So that's not the problem. And with the big day only weeks away, all arrangements have been made and confirmed. That's not the problem either.

The problem is that I'm not ready. Sure, I have a dress and shoes, and my sisters and other supporters are on standby to help troubleshoot should anything go amiss. But amid the shopping, the fittings, the phone calling, the mailing, the sewing, the bow-making, the showers, and the check writing, I find myself wishing I could climb up on that cliff with my little girl, grab her by the straps and pull her back, just as she begins to take the plunge. "Wait a minute, sister," I would say. "There are still some things you should know."

I just don't want her to head into this with a false impression of what it will really be like. I don't want there to be any surprises.

But what would I say anyway? Twenty-something years later, a slew of my own mistakes is still tying my tongue when it comes to matters of the heart. What could a mother possibly say to ensure her daughter's long-term happiness?

You would think that cruising along here in my comfort zone at age 50, sage advice would come easily and confidently. But when I tried to write some words of wisdom for her, my words were disjointed and contradictory to themselves; a kaleidoscopic montage of babble. My advice sounded something like this:

Some days will turn into true adventures and most of what happens, you can't control. Take what comes and adapt accordingly.

But some days you'll see that someone has to rise up and take control, and that person is you.

Some days you need to compromise. Happiness comes from camping on the middle ground.

But some days you need to stand your ground. Happiness comes from retaining your individuality.

Some days you'll look across the dinner table at your spouse and wonder what alien spaceship dropped him off from that planet far, far away.

But some days you'll look across the table at the person you chose as your life mate, and you will wonder how you got the good one.

Some days you will lament that your marriage is not perfect.

But some day, you will look back on your life and see that the joy came in being perfectly imperfect -- together.

That is what I would say, were I to say anything. But I'm not going to.

I have a framed print in my house of a hare riding on the back of a tortoise. The title of the piece is "The journey's the thing." Although seemingly shallow to some, that phrase speaks to me. And in this case, it's my daughter's journey -- not mine. The blissful naivete of young newlyweds is a fragile, beautiful, thing. Who am I to rob her of that? And years later, just as beautiful, will be her realization that it is OK to never have quite figured it out. She doesn't need my advice. She's sharp. She'll come to it on her own. Besides, if I tell her, it would ruin the surprise.

-- Marcia McFarlane grew up in Leavenworth County. She is currently a freelance writer in Overland Park and can be reached at mmfiftysix@kc.rr.com. More of Marcia's writings can be found on her Social Stew blog at boomergirl.com.

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