My parents didn’t go to my Sib’s wedding. Mom boycotted and Dad wasn’t crossing her pickett line.
I’ve always given Dad a bit of a pass on this, holding Mom more accountable in this ugliness. Because it’s ugly when parents don’t show to a child’s wedding.
The entire scenario had many missteps that played themselves out in the worst ways possible. A secret romance, an inability to tell the secret, and a toxic build up of resentment and expectations and disappointment. I’m not quite sure that there was ever an actual invitation. But everyone knew.
I was assigned the making of the meatballs. I had finals that week and the following week. My Sib asked for a couple hundred of my “famous” meatballs. Really not famous other than it was one of the things I could cook. It was literally the least I could do, so since not much was asked, I made the meatballs.
I was a broke student. I didn’t have any dress clothes that weren’t a costume. I borrowed my friend’s dress. It was a simple heavy cotton t-shirt fabric with a boat neck and green and pink and yellow stripes. It was as dressy as we could find. It wasn’t my best look. (I never returned the dress. I never wore it again, either. It hung in my closet for years.) I did have some pretty shoes, though.
My boyfriend and I drove the VW Superbeetle into town. I think we went right to the church. We helped a little with the set up. Warming up the meatballs. Setting out some favors. Not much. My Sibs, the one who was getting married and the one that lived at home with her and the parents who were not scheduled to attend, and the bridesmaids did most of the lift.
This is my memory and my story, and I know that I don’t have many of the details. I was busy and self-absorbed and living away. The main story is not mine.
Others can likely remember with more clarity and more particulars and much more flavor. Others experienced their own feelings–their own sadness and incredible joy. But I mostly remember two things.
We sat in the front row, on the bride’s side of the church. It wasn’t our church. I’m not sure it was the groom’s church, but it was a church. I sat in the row with my Other Sib and our respective boyfriends. Nobody else from our family attended. Not one of my father’s eight siblings or their families. Not one of my mother’s six siblings or their families.
My Other Sib and I were pretty sure that Dad would come. We were definite that Mom would remain absent. But Dad wouldn’t let his daughter down. We waited in our seats and our Sib appeared at the back of the church. She had a pretty ring of flowers, a crown, in the curls of her hair. Still no Dad.
She was on the arm of some short old man that we had never seen before. He was spry enough. I guess this stranger was going to give my Sib away. It really should be Dad. I exchanged glances with the Other Sib who was having the same thought.
I guess there had been music the entire time, but I didn’t notice until this weird little guy was walking my Sib down the aisle. I looked beyond them to the door of the church. This is the time when the man who belongs there walks in and takes her arm and does his job and there are tears of joy and relief that all is well.
Instead I was standing there like Princess Buttercup in the Princess Bride. When she believes that she was married and her true love did not come and save her.
CUT TO: BUTTERCUP standing there. Dazed.
BUTTERCUP: “He didn’t come.”
He let my Sib down. He let us all down. He was supposed to come and save our hearts from breaking. Instead they felt trampled, even as my Sib was saying her vows. He didn’t come. There was no Hallmark moment.
But it was still a wedding. A time for dancing and drinking and meatball eating. There was a lot of food in addition to my two-hundred homemade meatballs. There was garter throwing and bouquet tossing (this was the beginning of my streak of 5 catches). And at the end of the night, we helped clean up.
The Other Sib’s boyfriend was the D.J. for the night. One guest was especially stewed and didn’t want the evening to end. She kept requesting one song again and again in her drunken slur.
That’s the other thing I remember. Turn the Page.
After the sweeping and storing, I kissed my Sibs goodnight, and me and my boyfriend got back into the Beetle and drove back to school.