Sunday, September 28, 2008

My best friend's wedding

My best friend got married yesterday. And when I say best friend, I'm talking sister-friend --- the friend I've known longest of my life, the one who has grown up by my side, the one I call when I need calming or laughter or love. This was a day that we have talked about since we were 11 years old, wiling away the hours swinging on her porch swing, walking barefoot around the neighborhood, swimming in her pool, lying on the floor in sleeping bags at slumber parties. Her big backyard wedding. With all our families and friends there, smiling and dancing and celebrating.

Her wedding day was exactly as we'd always dreamed. Slightly different only because there have been additions and subtractions in our worlds. My friend was gorgeous in her amazing old-Hollywood gown, the groom was relaxed and happy, the ceremony was beautiful, the family and friends were thrilled. It was all just completely wonderful. But I have never experienced so many emotions in one day, ever.

Of course there was the usual nervousness, as well as some bizarro anxieties that I am embarrassed to admit: Will I look like a hippo in my dress? Can I put on eye make-up without looking like a clown? What if I look ridiculously tall next to my groomsman partner and ruin all the photos? Seriously. My head was all over the place.

We girls rode to the church in a horse-drawn carriage, just as my friend had always talked about, and we were laughing and excited when we came into the church. I was not at all nervous to walk down the aisle and stand up in front of all those people; after all, they weren't there to see me, and most of them I have known since I was 11 anyway. But when I saw my friend at the back of the church beginning her walk down the aisle, and I looked out over that church full of smiling faces from my youth, I just about fell over in a heap of sobs. I cannot even describe that particular emotion, but I'm sure some of you have been there before -- a surge of nostalgia mixed with relief and joy combined with excitement. I wasn't expecting to feel all those things at that moment, but I was literally chewing on the inside of my cheek to keep from just losing all control.

Another emotion I wasn't expecting to feel on this day of romance was anger. Ironic, isn't it, that while I celebrated with my best friend and her new husband I felt such anger with my own husband? Apparently I hadn't made my expectations of him clear enough. I should have specifically asked him to show a bit of happiness, maybe even dance once or twice or talk to my family. I probably should have specifically asked him to be 100% in charge of our son so I could have a good time and not worry about feeding, changing diapers, or cleaning snotty noses for a few hours. Or maybe I should have explained that he could watch the highlights from the Phillies game on SportsCenter later. Oh, how he pissed me off! I tried my damnedest not to start anything, but add a couple beers to the equation and it's hard to keep my mouth shut. We didn't spend any time together until the ride home...during which time I explained how he'd really let me down.

Otherwise, I experienced acute happiness. I had a fabulous time at the reception. We all danced and danced and danced. And laughed and drank and laughed and drank. My friend and her new husband were relaxed and happy and smoochy. The families were relaxed and happy, too.

I have a regret today, though. I didn't make the toast that I'd prepared. My friend never really asked me to do it, although I think she'd expected it. The DJ didn't make any mention, ever, nor did he stop the meal or the festivities to make any opening for a toast. The groom's best friend had prepared something, but he didn't feel comfortable stopping the party either. And I was afraid that since my friend hadn't asked me, it might embarrass her if I just grabbed the mic. I thought my sentimental and mushy comments would have embarrassed her more (she is really uncomfortable being the center of attention, even on her wedding day). So I just didn't do it. But I heard today that the groom's best friend did make his toast at the end of the night, after I'd left and only a few friends remained. Today I feel really sad about that, like I let her down. But more than that...I wish I could have said out loud the things I was feeling yesterday. It really was a day that I'd looked forward to for a lifetime, and now for the rest of my life I'll think, dammit, I wish I'd just opened my mouth.

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