You know when you’re a kid, and are imagining your wedding day; a big party with lots of people, dancing, and delectable cake? When we’re kids, it seems like that day is an eternity away, as though our parents just say we’ll get married in the future as a way to keep our interest in the future at bay, a way to keep our imagination running freely.
Or how about that term, “You’ll be better by the time you get married,” infamously referred to any minor bump or bruise you incur in your tumult with childhood. I remember once, I’d been playing outside, and a box of screwdrivers fell on my head off our play fridge, and while I only received a tiny scrape atop my head, it felt as if the entire world would come crashing about me, and I would die from excessive brain bleeding. I remember though, my mother telling me as a sat on our kitchen counter with an ice pack on my head, “It’ll be better by the time you’re married.”
I guess when you’re a kid, the reality that you could one day grow up, move out, and begin a life of your own apart from your family seems to be unrealistic and fantasy like. Just like growing up, I didn’t think I would actually get older, or the world around me would ever change, but no matter what I do, it won’t stop! So now will everything really be better by the time I’m married? Will I be able to recover from my injuries now that I’ll be permanently in the stage of marriage??
Probably my impending wedding date (countdown 76 days to go!) has made me start thinking more about the fact I’m growing up and moving on. Not that I’m not ecstatic to be marrying the wonderful man who chose me for lifelong marital bliss, or that I’m not eager to enter a whole new chapter of life, but it can be totally surreal to realize: fantasy is becoming a reality.
Maybe it’s just I never actually believed I would grow up, find the love of my life, have my fairy tale wedding, and move from my parents to venture into a whole new world of living. When I think about it, sometimes I start panicking. “What if I’m no good at this?” “What if I have a mental breakdown?” Or maybe the biggest fear, “What if one day I come home, and my parents are older, my sister is taller, and everything I grew up around has changed?”
Okay, I’ll try to stop being melodramatic.
(But this is supposed to be “spiels,” right?)
Anyways, it just seems like this HUGE life change that people end up making. Like you’ve lived your entire life with the same people, never really questioning the validity of aging and growing up, then one day you’re expected to be grown up, responsible, and ready for the changes of adulthood?!?!?!
(Promise, that’s the last rant.)
So today I got my wedding dress and got to experience a whole new realm of excitement and “Am I ready for this?” feelings. As I stood in the bridal boutique, waiting for the clerk to retrieve my dress, it didn’t really click with me what I was planning on doing in two months. (When she asked me what kind of dress it was and I said wedding, I don’t think she believed me either!)
My dress arrived. I removed the thousands of layers of plastic and wrapping, to uncover the dress I’d chosen a few weeks before. “Is it perfect?” “Did I pick the wrong one?” Just a few of the questions running through my head.
I placed the heavy white gown over my body, zipped the back, and stepped out for my mom and the clerk to see. One small turn for everyone to get a view, then I faced myself towards the huge full-length mirror.
Probably the most shocking thing to see in a mirror when wearing a wedding dress, is yourself. I guess when I went dress shopping and then again to pick it up, I thought I’d look “differently” than when I was wearing my everyday attire. That when I’d stand before the mirror to look at my reflection, I’d glimpse my vision of seeing a gorgeous woman, looking jaw dropping beautiful, not the skinny, plain seeming twig of a girl I’d always seen in the mirror.
Maybe that’s what’s got my head in a bunch. Here I am, beginning my early 20’s and my married life all in a few months, and I don’t feel like I thought I would. I guess I assumed by the time this moment came, I would have climaxed into a completely mature, responsible adult who could run around her world without a worry, without any leniency on her parents. But…I don’t feel that way.
I tried my dress on again later at home, this time with my headpiece, just to get an idea. Still not the person in the mirror I thought I’d see, maybe even less now since I was in my own bedroom. It looked more like I was getting ready for my junior prom and have no idea what the world holds for me than taking a huge step like moving in with a guy I’ll marry in two months.
I know I look young, but I at least hoped I would feel a little bit older.
Someone tell me I’m not the ONLY one! There have to be other people out there who completely saw they’re engagement and “adulting” life completely differently when they were growing up, planning their future lives. Aren’t we supposed to have it all figured out? Aren’t I supposed to be perfectly independent and unafraid of the world? Shouldn’t I be able to walk out the door without holding my mommy’s hand?
I’m excited for my wedding, I really am. I found this guy who thinks the world of me; who says all of the romantic things I never thought anyone would feel about me; who I catch looking at me totally in love; who loves everything about me I thought idiotic. I feel as though I’ve found my second home with him, a place where I could be content living apart from my family without having panic attacks daily, yet I’m still a tiny bit terrified of the open water.
Wedding dress shopping, while a momentous occasion to the whole planning process and a little girl’s dreams, can start to put a whole new glimpse on what your world is like in reality, rather than fantasy. I didn’t have the fairy tale shopping experience. No one cried when I tried any on, or “said yes” to mine. It became clear fast how not everything was as I’d always imagined.
I’ve come to grips with a few contrasts to my previous expectations.
- Fantasy: I will be a graceful lady whose life is all together.
- Fact: I’m still a fairly klutzy girl/woman who has her life together, sporadically.
- Fantasy: My mental state will be completely mature and revolutionized.
- Fact: I’ll always carry my childlike mind with me, even when I’m able to make responsible decisions.
- Fantasy: The idea of moving away from my parents will be exciting, and I won’t look back.
- Fact: It is ridiculously exciting (and unbelievable), but I’ll definitely be visiting home weekly, if not daily, will inevitably reminisce regularly.
- Fantasy: I’ll know exactly what’s coming.
- Fact: I have no idea what’s ahead of me, but I trust a God who does.
- Fantasy: I’ll be ready.
- Fact: God will prepare me to be ready.
So maybe life isn’t playing out the way I thought. Maybe my dreams and wedding visions won’t be as spectacular and fearless as I’d believed as a child. Maybe I’ll have a mental breakdown my first night as a WIFE, or maybe I won’t.
If you’re in the same boat as me, excited yet terrified, prepared but totally scatter brained, then you may know what I’m talking about. It’s great to see this new chapter start, even if we don’t know the challenges we’ll face. I will be entering this surreal reality, side by side with the man of my dreams, and even more importantly, will always have the companionship of a God who will never forget me, nor leave me on the side like the scared child I sometimes am.
~ mary ashley cline
Deuteronomy 31:6 ~ Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.