I shouldn’t still be thinking about the earrings I wore on the day of our wedding on Sunday, May 22, 2022, but I am. I’d wanted to convey that, despite Dad’s passing less than three weeks earlier, I was OK. It was all good and everything was fine.
But when I look back at the photos, I see me the day before the wedding, running frantically around the mall alone, bombarded with choices. There were plain gold hoops, bright neon feathers, faux diamond drop earrings, shaped like leaves, and the ones I got: showy gold hoops with crimson silk flowers. The earrings were distracting, and I hadn’t noticed that at the time.
What didn’t help is that until 72 hours before the wedding, I didn’t know which dress I was going to wear, my original choice never having arrived in the mail. It also didn’t help (or maybe it did) that, since Dad died, I decided that nothing superficial mattered anyway. It wasn’t what you wore, it’s what you said. It isn’t how you look, it’s how you see.
So on the one hand when I look at those photos, I think of those earrings as my “fuck it” earrings. The slap it all together and play-it-cool mood of that unique moment in my life. The wishing I could hide in plain sight. But the only statement those earrings seemed to be making was “whatever you do, don’t look at me.”
Do I wish, instead, I’d have selected the faux dangly earrings shaped like leaves? Yes, I can too clearly picture how they would have sparkled when catching the sunlight through the trees. But would I take it back and change it? No. Not really, because something else would have been off. As is in life in general. As is when you are having a wedding and you are having a funeral.
In this life, it really, truly isn’t about the perfect look and the photo-worthy setting. And I give myself grace that I knew that going into it, and I placed my priorities elsewhere when I didn’t give myself a lot of time to shop for the earrings, and I didn’t take along a friend. I didn’t really get that “bride moment”…the one that they were selling me. For me that fantasy involved a careful putting on of my high-heeled shoes (I would wind up wearing slip on leather wedges), a cheers with my bridal party, Lorde’s “Royals” blasting in the background, my “Cinderella” moment. What I got instead was a mad dash to the mall for last minute, unplanned accessories, and, in the bridal suite, our children running around underfoot, only the sound of shrieking and chatter in the background. What I got instead was real life, what actually matters, the people, the experiences, and yes, even the innocent fashion mistakes.
Now when I think back on our wedding day, I remember being thankful it didn’t rain. I remember being grateful nobody got hurt. I remember that “My Sweet Lord,” Dad’s song, came on the radio on the drive to the mall and it felt like it was playing just for me. I remember I cried. I remember I was fragile, deep down. I remember I couldn’t afford to crack. I remember writing and practicing my vows. I remember carefully putting out the ceramic dinner plates and silverware, buffing smudges out of the wine glasses in the dining room late into the night before our wedding.
I am trying to forget the sparkly earrings that got away. I want to let go of notion that tells me our wedding needed to be more perfect than it was. That I needed to be a better bride. That I had somehow let something slip. That I should have spent even more money. Then, maybe, things would have really been perfect. Maybe. When the only thing that honestly would have made that day better, is having Dad there for it.
Love and mysterious blessings,
4 thoughts on “What Matters Most”
My darling, beautiful daughter… embrace life, it’s ups and downs, it’s heartaches and celebrations…as hard as it can be, look for the blessings they are sometimes very hidden. Your wedding picture is breathtaking and beautiful. I think the earrings symbolizes your inner beauty and spunk. The fact that your Father’s song played on the way was his way of letting you know he is always with you.
I’m sorry that you weren’t able to “celebrate” in the days leading up to your Wedding. But, the moments of sharing your commitment to each other, sharing your love with each other and all who love you. Life…in all it’s glorious splendor good or not so good… embrace every minute of it.. All my love always,
Thank you for reading and responding. It means a lot.
That reminds me of this line I read from one of my Dad’s inspirational books: “What matters aren’t the presents, but the presence.”
Your dad is surely looking down on you from above, keeping watch. 🙂
Oh I love that quote. Thank you for reading and sharing that with me, Monch!