The article addresses expectations. The ongoing contrasts between the should-have-been and the reality. The never-ending succession of things which have the potential to trigger comparisons and therefore, grief.
These comparisons are more easily drawn when dealing with something where expectations are already running high. Things like Christmas, summer holidays or, as was the case for us this weekend, a family wedding.
I am very close to my siblings, they are incredibly important to me (remember Sibling Revelry). So watching my brother wed the love of his life (and I have lucked out in the sister in law stakes too) was a big, exciting, deal. My brother has a very special relationship with Mojo they have a kind of unspoken bond that has been evident since she was very little. As if that wasn't enough Mojo and her little sister were to be flower girls, pretty dresses, pretty hair, sparkly shoes the whole lot.
And so it was for Mojo's whole wedding experience. She travelled to the wedding wrapped head to toe in towels as I was terrified she would be sick on her dress. The beautiful braids which were very carefully put in her hair by the hairdresser lasted approximately ten minutes before she ripped out the bobbles and clips and restored her characteristic bed head look. How she laughed.
We adjusted her dress to fit her Upsee (an amazing harness made by Firefly which allows non-mobile
As ever, Mojo ended up doing things in her own unique way with a huge smile on her face.
I got my proud mum moment and my proud sister moment and there were happy tears all round.
It wasn't just in the Kodak moments that I found peace with the parallel experiences of a non-conventional flower girl it was in the little things, the unplanned, expectation-free moments. Seeing the bride leaving the top table half way through dinner to check in on Mojo who was tucked away enjoying some ipad down time, really moved me.
At the wedding reception each guest had a card on which to write their words of wisdom for the newlyweds. I was distracted trying to keep Mojo entertained and happy and fed. I'd just spilt an entire bottle of feed on my cream shoes. Unsurprisingly I had a total mind blank. I didn't have a single word of wisdom to offer. It was only when I had time to reflect on the day and indeed reflect on the five years since I married my own Mr Right that my 'words of wisdom' arrived. And so...
Dearest G & D,
Be happy, be truly happy. There are no rules about how life should be enjoyed. No formula for contentment, your happy doesn't have to look like everyone else's it just has to make YOU happy.
Be prepared for happiness and joy to come heavily disguised, sometimes convincingly disguised as disaster or heartbreak. Be prepared to look and to find joy in unexpected places. There is beauty in learning to value each individual moment of joy, all the love and all the laughter. Embrace the grey, the difficult days and the challenges, the tears. These things don't spoil the happily ever after they enrich it, they build you and they reinforce your love.
You have done the difficult part, you have found each other, you looked further than most would ever dream to, you overcame an ocean of obstacles. Your story will be unique and beautiful. If you always look to each other first in all the happiness and in all the sadness there you will find your reason, your purpose, your anchor in the storm.
Be happy, be strong, be together. We love you both.
L, B, M & C