People are always surprised that I don’t regret getting married at eighteen years old. Sure, my marriage ended in divorce about three short years later. And, no, we didn’t have the most blissful of relationships and honestly, when it was over, there was relief felt on both sides of our partnership that being together for a minute longer seemed like a chore either of us were incapable of trying. Marriage doesn’t work out for everyone—at least if you’re not with the right partner. Embarking on my second wedding, there are a lot of tiny details that I’ve already, and am looking forward to changing. The only one that I really wish would change is the fact that my mother would be around to see it. But she died about a year and a half before this wedding will ever take place.
I never imagined that she wouldn’t be here for this. Once you get engaged, you imagine your mom standing beside you for all the big moments such as finding your dress, flipping through bridal magazines, and snagging her a piece of wedding cake so she can try it “just to make sure it’s safe.” I wanted her to be around for my first dance, and to see how our bridal party did their obnoxious entrances, and I wanted her to kiss me goodbye and wish me the best time as my husband and I packed our bags for our honeymoon and I gave her the key to our house so she could feed the cats.
Suddenly, all of those plans were ripped away from me, until I remembered that I was fortunate enough to have already experienced those moments with her, albeit how sad we both were that I was a fresh high school graduate, fleeing my hometown like some nomad in a rock video. The grieving process is all about being able to alter your mind in order to change the way you’re thinking about it. I wish my mom was here to celebrate with me the way I thought she’d be. I wish I could have had the chance to have her, and my future in-laws, and my closest friends all sit with their legs up, and opinions out, gushing over the champagne and blush dress I tried on that my mother would have hated, but knew I secretly loved. I wish she was here to help me put my dress on the morning of my wedding, and I cry over the fact that she will never get to see our venue up close because the pictures only did half the justice.
I picked out my bridal gown for my first wedding when I was just eighteen years old, at a David’s Bridal, to the dismay of sales clerks, and my mother’s unwavering support as she ushered me to call my then fiancé and tell him that I had found a gown, a beautiful gown that she cried over. I was fortunate enough to register for my house with my mom, rocking a purple dress, and some Chuck Taylors, and having her advice on what I needed since my partner was stationed overseas. I was fortunate enough to have her make my bouquet, even though my dad was so unhappy and refused to hand her the snipping sheers to add the final touches. I was fortunate enough to have my mom hug me on a plane ride, not to my honeymoon, but to the new country where I’d be living, and that after all those years away from home, we still talked everyday about things greater than weddings – but of marriage, and children, and health, and every other facet of our lives that only the two of us were lucky enough to share.
I wish my mom was around to be a part of the wedding I know will last forever. I wish she was here to be a part of the events, and the moments that make planning your wedding such a unique and vibrant time of a young girl’s life. But, I trust that in every plan I make, or every idea I shuffle across a Pinterest board, somewhere out there, I know I have my mother’s approval. I know things will get harder the closer we come to getting married. But, for any young bride out there, who is missing mom and wishing she were here in just the way you thought she’d be, I can hope that time only begins to heal what your heart is missing. So many people growing up have asked me if I regretted getting married at eighteen years old, my mother included. And, I find it impossible that I ever could, because it was a marriage that didn’t work out for me, but is a wedding that worked out for her. The pain of my divorce, the trials and tribulations of falling out of love – and falling out of it fast and hard – was all meant for me and her to experience planning a wedding together.
I consider it a practice run that I was happy enough to share with her. My only regret out of all it is that I don’t have a single picture of the two of us from that day, but the image of her face smiling in the face of dreading the moment she’d have to let me go but supporting me in it anyway, is one I’ll never lose sight of. I only know she’d be kicking me out the door toward this new love, because she could tell that this time, everything was meant to work out, regardless if she could be in attendance. Maybe, after all, my mother felt it was time to leave, that maybe it was my turn to lean on, and cherish and love someone who promised to take care of me the way my mother always wanted someone to. I don’t know; maybe.