THE JUNE BRIDE
The front of my fridge is wallpapered in a collage of wedding announcements. This can only mean one thing—it must be June.
Even now, as I’m writing this, I’m running a mental list of “to-dos” for the bridal shower I’m hosting in a couple of days for my beautiful cousin.
I was talking to her mom the other night and she told me that the engaged couple is expecting that their own friends will far outnumber their parent’s friends, neighbors and family members at the reception.
We both laughed until we lost our breath.
That’s because we once were those friends, and remembered how we barely gave a rat’s rump about anybody else, as soon there was a Mrs. in front of our name.
I recall being the best Maid of Honor—several times, actually—before I was engaged. I threw the showers, wore the peach taffeta dresses, stood next to the bride in line and spent hours in the lingerie stores, searching for the perfect honeymoon items.
Then I got married. And the world went away.
Immediately I became so engrossed in our twosome that, assuming we could even drag ourselves to the reception, I put forth even less effort to dig through the left-over wedding gift stash to come up with something to pretend I bought with the newlyweds in mind.
I’m a little bit ashamed to admit that some lucky ducks out there ended up with a bubble gum pink vinyl garment bag. But don’t let’s pretend that we didn’t ALL use that stash, for even our very best friend’s weddings, M’ kay, pumpkins? Because you and I both know, that for a good five years, we re-gifted that same set of “goose on country blue” kitchen towels back and forth. The only thoughtful thing about them, was when we remembered to remove the previous To/From card.
Looking back, I don’t recall everything we received for our own wedding, but I do remember two very important things: First, that we ended up with 11 boxes of drinking glasses. Eleven. Big. Giant. Boxes. Of the exact same glasses. They had to be worth...well, hundreds!
Of course, we only kept one box, and rubbed our hands together in greedy anticipation of how much cash we could get with the return of the other ten. Turns out, the answer was around $2.79 per box. On account of there were four other weddings in our neighborhood that week, and K-mart had a sale.
To which I ask, WOULD IT HAVE KILLED THE REST OF YOU LOVE BIRDS TO STAGGER YOUR WEDDINGS OVER THE FOLLOWING SUMMER MONTHS SO AS NOT TO COMPETE WITH US FOR THE JUNE WEDDING BUDGET? No, it would not have.
Anyway, the other very important thing I remember was that when we returned from our honeymoon, there in the middle of the gift pile, was a giant, beautifully wrapped box...from my own dear mother. With my hand to my heart and puppy dog eyes, I reverently told Sterling we would save this one for last.
Hours later, legs numb from sitting indian style, surrounded by boxes of glasses and the carnage of a hundred rolls of wrapping paper, it was finally time, and I reached for the gift. It was addressed only to me—even more meaningful.
I gingerly slid my fingers under the paper, closed my eyes and lifted the cardboard flaps. Holding my breath, I opened my eyes and peered inside to find......
.......my ironing pile, dammit.
The wrinkled clothes that had been piled deep and high for several years—some so long untouched that I had actually grown out of them—and now, like an heirloom brooch or favorite family recipe, were handed down with love, from mother to daughter.
Well, anyway, I’ve got a shower to plan. And about 14 wedding receptions to buy gifts for. Yes, the “stash” ran dry years ago...about the time I started to have children. Which is also about the time I became aware that there are more people living here on earth than just me and my husband...which is why I’m hosting the shower and attending the wedding receptions, and trying to make up for the miserable failures of my youth.
And THAT is why the friends, neighbors and family of the parents will always outnumber those of the young couple—so you’d better be nice to them, unless you want eleven boxes of glasses.
PS—I still keep that ironing pile. The clothes may be different, but the pile is just as deep and high as it was so many years ago. It is an homage to my mother, bless her heart.