Susan's Blog

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Deluxe Model Marriage

I have much more to say about Sarai’s wonderful wedding than those pictures in the previous post, which were supposed to have been worth a thousand words. Sometimes you need a thousand words to get it all out.

The things flying around in my brain are many, from the ridiculous to the sublime: my sister-in-law Sarai, how Nat was at the wedding, what the officiator said, how Ben was, how Max was, and a dumb thing like how I looked. I’ll start with the dumb thing: the weather was awful, humid and rainy, so my hair looked terrible. I’ve been trying to let it go au naturel lately, which for me only means using a curling iron to augment the natural curl, and a different (non-straightening) product. But all the Kerastase goop in the world was no match for that humidity. That, along with the overly plunging neckline made me look a bit like a floozy, which was not at all my intent! I thought the strategically placed flower would take care of what I consider my blessing and my curse but it flopped unceremoniously downward. I was really annoyed at myself for wearing that black dress and for getting the hair all wrong.

Okay, but then there was Ben, utterly charming. He looked adorable in a navy jacket that was too big for him, and with his hair gooped out of his eyes. He was my little sweetheart the whole time; he kept making me laugh and he even danced with me! He even seemed a little shy when we danced, like maybe he’s in some kind of Oedipal phase or something. So delightfully cute.

Max, taking photos with his Uncle Patrick’s big Nikon (Patrick, a.k.a C.B., is a professional photographer), everyone commenting on how handsome and tall he was. Mingling, making conversation with people, drinking Shirley Temples.

And Nat was smiling the whole time. We did not have to worry about anything for the day because we could tell he was really with us. Still, Ned and I figured out a contingency for the ceremony, in case we had to take him out quickly; last ceremony we attended with Nat was Great Uncle Skip’s memorial service and Nat started screaming when the hymns started. My guess is that we had told him it was going to be “like going to temple,” and so Nat had expected Hebrew, and instead got Onward Christian Soldiers. Anyway, he was just fine during Sarai’s ceremony, smiling and quiet while babies and toddlers screamed all around us. Not only was I bursting out of my dress, I was also bursting with pride!

The ceremony started with the fanfare music from the beginning of a 20th Century Fox movie! We all laughed. Ned and I wondered why no one ever did that at their weddings? It was so original! Then it switched over to Here Comes the Bride and Pacelbel Canon; not original, but sweet.

What I enjoyed the most was what Mark, the officiator, said about marriage. He went way beyond the tired-and-true “in sickness and health, for richer and poorer,” that we all have heard a million times. He said that you were going to fall out of love with each other sometimes and that you had to find your way back to loving each other. That you would discover things about the other person that you really did not know before, and also about yourself, and that you would have to figure out how to accommodate that discovery. He talked all about how you would have to explore things and deepen because of them, not leave. He really made me think about all that I’ve been through this winter and spring, my much-belabored mid-life crisis, and how I should stop beating myself up for it all. How I have to learn to accommodate myself, take care of myself, just as much as Ned has learned how to accommodate me. These words made me come back to our Sweetie Treaty and how the number one item is “Don’t feel bad about feeling bad.” That kind of guilt trip makes difficult phases so much worse.

Ned always tells me that if I want to change something, to change just one small thing first and then you’ll at least be a little better off than you were. And, he’s always been the one who has told me to go ahead and do what I need to do to be happy. When we were first married, he’s the one who said to me, “You want to be a writer? Just write, then!” He has always given me the freedom to be exactly who I am and who I need to be.

I felt so lucky sitting there in that beautiful wedding hall, watching my sister-in-law get married to a really good guy, doing exactly as she pleased, while I was surrounded by four beautiful men who give me so much, too. After all is said and done, Ned says I was beautiful at the wedding, and I really wasn’t; he doesn’t hear me when I point out my flaws. He calls me “The Deluxe Model Woman” and he means it. I thought of that while I sat there listening to Mark’s wise words, and felt so strongly that this is close to as good as it gets. Ned has always wanted for me just to be happy, then and now; I think I should listen to him more often, and not to my demons. [Although next dress-up event, I will use the flatiron and I should have worn the red dress!]


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain

And wear the dress that shows cleavage! God knows we can’t do it when we are sixty.

— added by Mom on Monday, June 26, 2006 at 4:36 pm

Susan: I love what you quoted from the wedding. My husband and I are definitely discovering things we didn’t know about each other, and I am going to share with him this reading from your SIL’s wedding. Every part of it resonates for both of us I think. So, thank you.

Also, I thought you looked truly lovely; your hair is gorgeous and I only wish I could worry about cleavage!

Jamie Robert
Portland, Oregon

— added by Jamie Robert on Monday, June 26, 2006 at 11:32 pm

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