ATTN MY FAMILY: Kindly refrain from reading the first paragraph of this post IF YOU WANT TO LIVE TO SEE TOMORROW.
Hey lovies. Top o’ the afternoon to ya! Hope you guys are having a happy/productive/loving/profitable Thursday thus far. Mostly hoping it’s happy. I’m doing pretty well myself, despite the disturbing/frustrating fact that it’s become painfully clear – based on the nice-to-meet-you smirk on the boyfriend half’s face of our new neighbors who share a wall with us… that the things I *say* when I’m bedroom wrestling ARE AUDIBLE and entering our neighbors’ ears. Sooooooooooo yeah. Officially struggling with whether or not I should crank down the verbal excitement, or just say screw him and be on my merry way… to continuing to screw the other him. Ohhhh I am so inappropriate. I am so inappopriate! Someone tase me, bro. Sigh. But yeah I really don’t know what to do about this. The awkward factor is sort of through the roof on this dilemma.
Ok, that concludes the part of today’s post you shouldn’t have read if you are: my Dad, one of my brothers (especially my little brother; my older brother is more comfortable with such topics – ok no scratch that – both brothers), my neighbors, my niece and nephew, my Aunt can read it she’s cool, so can my Mom – she knows my menstrual cycle which is synonymous with nothing is off limits.
Alrighty! On we go, to what this post is actually about. And yes, I like ending sentences with prepositions on occasion. Some of us like to live on the edge every once in a while.
Ok, first, behold some of Rhi’s lovely work – both from her own wedding, and from her work as Rhi of Hey Gorgeous Events. Yup, she’s one seriously amazeballs event designer. :)
↑ oh my god, right? like, oh my god.
Ok, NOW. HERE WE GO…
When we, as regular people, get engaged, we hope that everyone in our lives is going to be thrilled for us. It’s a natural reaction, a fact of life. Totally normal. Our happiness in that period time is at one of its highest heights, and we want those around us to feel that same sense of happiness… for us.
Fortunately, for so many, that’s a pretty accurate reflection of how things end up going down. Because that’s how it should be, right? Our loved ones, our friends, our family, and in some instances our coworkers – all of these groups of people in our lives should be excited for us. You’re engaged! You’re getting married to the love of your life! It’s without question a cause for celebration.
… Of course, since we live in the real world, unfortunately, for whatever reason, that’s not always how things go down. It’s deeply upsetting for those who experience it, and there are tons of unique reasons why *total excitement* might NOT be the reaction each and every member of our circle expresses.
Today, we’re featuring the second part of Rhi’s personal story about her experiences with her mother from her engagement to her wedding day. This story is a painful one, but Rhi wanted to share it, as she did with Part I, and as she will be in the near future in Part III, because she knows that she’s not the only one who has experienced the things she’s experienced. On a personal note, I want to say that Rhi is an amazing, thoughtful, deeply introspective, voraciously social and immensely talented and creative young lady, and I consider it an honor to know her and to be able to call her a friend. She brightens people’s days, and doesn’t hold back when it comes to her own life, and her love. She’s an inspiration, and simply by sharing her story with us today, she’s making a difference in countless lives. I love ya, Rhi. People like yourself make this world shift a little bit, in a good way, as it continues to go round.
Ok, I now present to you Part II of Rhi’s story.
First off, let me just say how totally cool it is that so many chicks out there can relate to my story. I’ve spent the last three years almost ashamed of my relationship with my husband because it never felt like my mom approved or at the very least felt excited for me and the happiness we had found/created together. And believe me, that was tough to handle. It actually still is sometimes considering my career and the number of mother-daughter-doing-wedding-things-together relationships I witness on a daily basis. But the bottom line is, I love you guys and have really enjoyed reading your personal stories over and over again. Not only that, the unexpected outpouring support from you all has turned on the pressure for me to segue into part two so here goes nothing.
. . .
After our summer 2008 engagement, I headed back to start my final semester of my undergrad degree, and Andrew headed back to finish his. Every now and then, I’d throw a bridal magazine in with my groceries at the store, or I’d google ambiguous wedding terms in hopes of finding inspiration, but the entire concept of actually making decisions, or even paying money for anything pertaining to our wedding, was out of the picture. I knew in my mind, well before I could even admit it to anyone else, that our wedding wouldn’t be happening when we’d want it to and for the sake of my sanity and in hopes of avoiding any version of a pity party, I learned to be OK with that. I created a wedding webpage. I picked my bridesmaids. I printed out photos of things I liked. And at night, I dreamt and dreamt and dreamt of what it would feel like to have a wedding and be married to Andrew. It’s extreme but it felt like I had an eating disorder. I kept wedding things very private, careful not to let many people in on, what felt like should be a secret. Sometimes I wouldn’t wear my ring. Because it felt like I wasn’t worthy of being happy about it if those around me weren’t.
A whole lot of things happened. The fiance and I, we both graduated college. I moved home to Canada, husband got a job in Chicago. We both moved to Chicago. I moved back home to Canada. I worked a couple jobs trying to figure out what to do with my life as Rhi. I decided to go back to school to study for a year. I lived in my parents basement. I watched that bratty little brother grow up before my eyes. Andrew and I both travelled back and forth, getting way too used to airports but never accustomed to saying goodbye to one another. We celebrated other people’s milestones; engagements, marriages, new homes. And funny enough, in between all of this, rarely was our wedding, my ring, our future plans or even really us, ever mentioned. I started to believe that this is what an engagement was. I thought to myself “How dare you feel sorry for yourself Rhi! You are so so lucky and just because everyone isn’t dancing circles around you, doesn’t mean you need to be a Debbie Downer about everything.” So I wasn’t. I just grinned and said thank you when everyone Congratulated me on my engagement; over a year and a half after it happened. And I took down the wedding website; it made me feel like a teenage girl scribbling I Heart doodles across my binder. I was dreaming of things that were well, in my mind and in reality, only dreams.
I could write for hours about what happened over the next year leading up to our wedding. But in a nutshell, what happened is I ended up taking my Dad aside and letting him know, that I was no longer a child and that I have the right to get married regardless of if him and my Mom liked it or not. Because without that talk that day, who knows if Andrew and I would be married by now. I told him, if he and my Mom felt like they could or would want to donate any kind of money towards the event that would be fabulous and totally appreciated, and husband and I would be entirely grateful. But I needed to know either way, because this would determine what sort of wedding we’d be having (i.e. any wedding at all). He gave us a number, we found a venue, took the only last date available and for the next 10 months, I planned a wedding; in between managing a part time job, a full time school schedule and a relationship with a man who lived 14 hours away.
. . .
Our wedding has come and gone. And I get sort of depressed about it every now and then because of a few reasons (which hey, this could be a whole.other.post, my friends, I promise you that). But what I’ve really learned about the whole experience is my Mom’s behaviour and lack of interest in the whole engagement-planning-wedding-thing, while hurtful and some what annoying, was her way of letting me know she cares about and loves me; in her own somewhat very confusing way. Call it a quick fix for my sadness, or a way to make her seem like less of a Mommy-monster but me marrying Andrew, meant me moving away to a different country. It meant me doing something that was to her, the equivalent of her situation where she had a baby at a young age (which was obviously not the most glamorous choice for a 21 year old single waitress). Her choice to sit back and shut up, or speak up when a decision was brought up that she didn’t agree with (like my wedding colours or my wedding dress) were just a way of saying “I really want to be there for you! But I’m upset, and I’m hurt, and I’m confused at how to act so instead I’ll just remove myself from the situation. Please make sure you are making the right choice!”
My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, two days before this past Christmas. She nonchalantly brought it up while I was decorating gingerbread cookies for her. She told me with a sadness in her voice I will never ever forget. I’ll also never ever forget that it was only four days before I was set to make the move across the border to finally put an end to the two years of long distance that my new husband and I had been spending apart. And as heartbreaking as that day was for her and I, and my family, I instantly knew that her diagnoses was symbolic of a few things. First off, that we all experience our emotions differently. Fear for one may translate into excitement for another. Anger for some, can be shrugged off and accepted for others. We all have expectations on how one should react to a specific circumstance yet in truth, everyone reacts very differently.
But the biggest and most symbolic thing about that day was for me, learning to accept things. I have to accept the phrase “My mom has cancer” just like I have to accept the phrase “My mom wasn’t a part of our wedding planning process.” I can’t go back in time and prevent a tumor. And I sure as hell can’t go back and make her jump up and down and shriek like a girlfriend on the phone with me when I told her I was engaged. I have to accept that she’s tired and weak and can’t visit me right now just like I have to accept that it rained on our wedding day. I’ve learned that sometimes you just need to Let Go. And regardless of these things, I know my Mom loves me as much as I love her. When I look back on this crazy emotional ride we’ve all been on I don’t think of how ticked off I was to hear that my dress “was way too much money,” but instead I picture my beautiful Mom, standing beside me as my Dad gave me away to Andrew, silently beaming with happiness and pride.
And now, if you missed it earlier, here’s Bam *in his element* -
MAN that rainbow toy was a smart choice on my part. Just look how it photographs! Oh, and uhhh, it uhhh, he loves it, too. Yeah, THAT’s the reason I got it.
So, what are your thoughts after reading Part II of Rhi’s story? Do you feel you can identify at all? Have you experienced anything similar with anyone in your circle? Or maybe your friends are suffering through some less than extremely uplifting personal experiences of their own as they continue the planning process?
Also, feel free to share any tips or tricks you might have that could help anyone who might be experiencing their own version of Rhi’s story.
Rhi and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
P.S. – Rhi will be back with Part III in the coming weeks, where she’ll share thoughts and advice on how to deal with less than thrilled mamas.
P.P.S. – I’ve embedded some recent work Rhi sent me within today’s post. Gorgeous, eh? Rhi, you really chose the perfect name for your biz. Such a perfect fit. :)
P.P.P.S. – if you’d like to check out Rhi’s lovely DIY wedding, by all means, click dat s**t.