Thursday, August 06, 2009

Random Thoughts On Real Lives and Weddings

Births, deaths, weddings, funerals. I've been thinking about these things, the significant events that cement our bonds with each other. No matter how far we roam, these events bring [or should, but life is complicated and distances are long] us home to reaffirm the connections that are most important to us. A person would like to be there at the important times in the lives of those she loves, for her own sake as well as theirs. Because everyone needs to feel part of something bigger than themselves, and to know there are a few people in the world, to whom their existence matters.

My niece got married a few days ago in London. I was unable to be there, as I'd made that trip earlier this year for another momentous event, the birth of the Precious Bundle, and Donald Trump is not my uncle. Since my niece could hardly be expected to reschedule her wedding to coincide with the birth of our newest grandson, and Dear Son and Beloved could likewise not reasonably be expected to delay PB's birth by five months, since even five days beyond the due date stretches the patience [among other things,] a choice had to be made.

Rise was sixteen when the OC and I got married. I was twenty two. She was my bridesmaid but though we were sisters, we hardly knew each other. Six years is a gaping chasm when you're that young. I was the goody two shoes, she was the one with a life. When she got married we were in California, up to our oxthers in small children, skint, so missed that, which made me sad. Swore that, when I grew up, I wouldn't miss these kinds of things.....life went on.

I was sorry not to be in London on Monday, dancing, and toasting and connecting with Rise and clan. The bride is Rise's first born, our Godchild, if that means anything anymore in a world gone secular. She has all her marbles in one sock, unlike her aged aunt, and possibly even her mother, both of whom, not being gifted housekeepers, have been known to go mad cleaning whenever their oldest daughters are due home for a visit! I'm sure she has a better grip too on why we're here and what makes the sky blue than either of us do.

But that could be a generational thing. Young people seem much more sure of themselves, much more in tune with how they feel about the world's shenanigans than I ever felt when I was young. Possibly because they were not brought up with all the fire and brimstone "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots" that we were. At sixty, I'm finding that beliefs I thought had rock solid foundations were actually built on shifting sand, and are, possibly, a lot of Bokum Hallah. Which is quite disconcerting.

PBS had a Roy Orbison concert on TV tonight. "In Dreams," "Pretty Woman," "Sweet Dream Baby." I was sixteen when I first heard him singing those songs, and every time I hear them the years roll away and I'm sixteen again, breathless with the excitement of being at the brink of my real life which would surely be full of mystery and romance, adventure and visits to exotic places. Going to school and being brainwashed by the nuns about the evils lurking out there, in the big bad world, and how we'd better obey all the teachings of The Church, or else! was something to fill the time until our real life began.

But when did it begin? Did it begin when a special person of the male persuasion thought you were a "pretty woman" or a "Sweet Dream Baby?" Or when you went away to college --- that feeling of being so independent and sophisticated, though you still depended on the few pounds pocket money every couple of weeks from home? Or was it when you started your first job, when you traded skills you were born with, or had acquired along the way, for the means to keep yourself alive and warm and fed? Or did your real life begin the day you got married? Or when your first child was born?

The Plan was I'd fit myself to earn a living, earn it, travel, take wonderful photos in those aforementioned exotic places, write scintillating stories and be unafraid and brave and daring and able to converse with anyone in a variety of languages.......What's that saying "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans?" How true! Of course there was a nebulous knight on a white charger in the plan, who would obligingly come along after I got the wanderlust out of my system and had a secure grip on the tail of the world. But he had his own Plan and came charging out of the mist on his white horse [actually it was a Pontiac LeMans, and it was burgundy, details, details} way before my Plan called for him to do so.

Which required major adjustments to both Plans. Well maybe, possibly, more adjustments to one plan than the other.... But it was still good. Not quite as tidy as I would have liked, but a tidy life might bore me to death. Besides, life is a work in progress, not something hanging in an art gallery or a museum, and I shouldn't want to squeeze it to fit my daydreams, to make it like a television show, where all the boo-boos are fixed, all the ruffled feathers smoothed, misunderstandings squared away, egos stroked, and problems resolved by 9:58 p.m. so they have a couple of minutes to roll the credits.

Part of growing up [I'm still trying!]is facing the facts: That even though you think you'd write great scripts for your children's lives, and your OC's life, and the lives of the in-laws [who have never hesitated to try to write your scripts for you!] you shouldn't. They need to write their own scripts, dream their own dreams, deal with the "not according to plan" things that happen in every life and learn from them. The best you can do is be there with your mouth closed, and your heart open, on the off chance they might need you. And, of course, be there [if possible] to dance at the weddings, rejoice at the births and mourn at the funerals.

I was at my niece's wedding in spirit, dancing my heart out! I like weddings. I'm the old fossil who still believes in the old fashioned tradition of standing up before kith and kin, promising to love and cherish through thick and thin. A wedding is not the beginning of a person's real life though. That starts the day we are born, which I finally figured out, and my niece has probably known since she was in diapers. But it is the start of a whole new chapter. Here's hoping it'll be her happiest chapter yet!


A brief e-mail from the new Mrs. declared the day "brilliant! The best day of our lives!" I'm still waiting for the more in depth Rise Report......

19 comments:

Thimbleanna said...

Yes, where is Rise? I seem to have lost her from my feeder. You write so beautifully Molly. I love this one: "The best you can do is be there with your mouth closed, and your heart open, on the off chance they might need you." So, so true, but boy, isn't that mouth closed the hard part? I think if you look back over a life, there are lots of aha moments, or moments when life "began". Those moments that make you sit up and take notice. The ones that 'cause a shift in your thinking.

I'm sorry you missed your niece's wedding. The world seems to be a much smaller place with the internet, but is it really?

aubirdwoman said...

oh Molly.... our hearts are so much in tune.
The Blueprint of Life.
There is none.
one of my favourite sayings...
its not the destination, its the journey. Together with To Everything there is a Season.
As my No1 Son is plane hopping with us for a week, on his way from New Zealand to Taiwan to live.
Do you think we should have put chains on their ankles instead of the homing devices in their heart.
hugs to you and Rise.

aubirdwoman said...

whooopsie.... should add who are we to talk.... both living miles from our birthplace. lol.

fifi said...

What a wonderful post, my feelings exactly.....
I am lucky to be selfish enough to snatch up snippets of my dream life when I can, before it's too late...
I'm sure you were at the wedding in evryone's hearts.

riseoutofme said...

I seem to have spent the week blubbering ... this isn't helping ... Going to call now ...

Rhubarb Whine said...

I have thattwinge too - I am many, many miles away from my birthplace. Their life goes on... and although some things are missed, they are always in my heart.

Pauline said...

"The best you can do is be there with your mouth closed, and your heart open, on the off chance they might need you." This should be handed to every newborn as a reminder of how to live a good life. It deserves to be chiseled in stone ;)

Sorry you had to miss the wedding. Come have some pumpkin pie this fall. Better yet, move on down - you'd make a great next door neighbor!

Ali Honey said...

Never mind, you had one lovely trip this year.
We too are missing a celebration this weekend. Too far, too expensive, never mind.

I wonder which parts if any we would change if for some reason we had to live it alll over again?

Isabelle said...

Ah, I too am not good at the keeping-mouth-closed bit.

I wonder if being married to Donald Trump would solve one's problems? Worth considering... No, probably not. Daughter 2 might still be going out with an actor.

silfert said...

We are born first in the hearts of our families, and that is the homeland we carry with us always. Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. and their families.

Meggie said...

I am sure they felt your presence, & the warmth of your good wishes.
Just a thought~ you must have raised them right when they feel confident to fly away.
Still hurts though.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Mouth closed and heart open surely sums up what we SHOULD do for our loved ones. You are a very wise woman, Molly Bawn.

I feel as you do about family and milestone events. They are one of the ways in which we reinforce our bonds, and they also reinforce our spirits so they can stand up to life, whatever it brings us.

I wish the happiest of married lives for your niece, and I know that if you and Rise have anything to say about it, she will.

My brother and only sibling is six years older than I, so I was 11 when he left for college. It has taken a lifetime for us to get to know each other and to realize that in many unexpected ways, we are more alike than we ever thought.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Well , at least you had a Plan !
I didn't . But it seems that that the gods are good and sixty year-old women , if they have been lucky enough to have children and have hugged them enough , get to enjoy a grace period of being a Respected Elder nodding by the fire , before being tidied away in comfortable slippers and non-iron housedress .
As long as I get the purple and gold housedress , leopard-skin slippers and still have my own teeth , I'll be happy .Might even keep my lips buttoned then .

Zanna, travelling tart, back in Oz said...

Hi Molly - I must have lost my link to you when I updated my template - and then I saw a comment of yours on Isobelle's blog and thought - hell I haven't read what Molly's been up to for ages. You still write in a way that conjures up all sort of visions for me. Thank you Z xx

Warty Mammal said...

"She has all her marbles in one sock ..."

What a marvelous turn of phrase! And a lovely contemplative post. You have hit the nail on the head about the experience of living. Not quite what we thought it would be and it didn't go according to plan, but isn't it fascinating?

persiflage said...

This post made me think but I am not sure what. The birth of a child is such a stupendous event that in many ways opens a person up to the immensity and complexity of love. You are right about keeping the mouth closed and the heart open!

Julie's journey said...

Such a great post - My own white knight charged out of the mist way too early but we have been married nearly 40 years and I wouldnt change a thing. The travelling part is starting to happen now and I look at my own daughter and think where on earth did you come from - so confident, powerful and gorgeous and then something will happen and she is once again my little girl needing her mother to sort things out and provide comfort. I feel so lucky. Thank you for making me think.

Isabelle said...

Hello Molly. Are you there? It seems to have gone very quiet. Hope all is well.

Mercurious said...

Considerable wisdom here. Growing up (and I'm just beginning to approach it at age 53) is largely a matter of making peace with the fact that we live on shifting sands. The self-assurance of youth is just that--a youthful phase. There are better things to come.