I met a young woman, E, on the boat about three years ago. She was tall, thin, quite self-assured, had a delightful sense of humor, and was dating C, a young man about her age. It was a new romance, and she gushed a bit when she spoke about him, as we are wont to do in that early courtship phase.
Several weeks later, when SFB and I were helping with downrigging, she walked up to us with her arm around a tall, blond man. She shyly introduced him to us, and I said quietly to SFB, “He’s the one.”
“Yes, he is,” he agreed and nodded.
After the sailing season was over, E ended up moving into C’s house. His job requires him to be at sea 60 days and off 60 days. E found a job at a local place and took care of things while C was at sea. Next, they adopted a delightful border collie. Then another border collie or border collie mix.
Earlier this year, she posted two pics on facebook: one of the first dog with the caption, “Pappa asked;” and one of the second dog, “Mamma said yes!”
I attended her bridal shower yesterday. It’s been ages since I’ve been to a bridal shower, I really can’t recall the last one, and I knew I’d be one of the oldest attendees there. Turns out that the bride’s mother, grandmother, older neighbour, and an older woman who until recently was with C’s stepfather were also there, glad to see another not-so-young woman in their midst.
There weren’t any silly games. E’s mom did e-mail C a bunch of questions and put E on the hot seat, asking her how C responded to them. E answered most of them correctly. One of E’s friends in attendance is 6.5 months pregnant with twins, and while everyone asked how she was feeling, and she was glad to talk about her pending arrivals, she was careful to make the afternoon more about E and her upcoming nuptials. Another young woman, Nichole, is getting married a bit after E, in October. I asked her about her wedding plans, and she looked excited and nervous as she briefly explained them.
In this electronic age, and I noted the number of smartphones present, with most being used to take pictures, I wondered about the importance of the bridal shower. Yes, getting married can be nerve-wracking and exciting, but really, if you live with your intended a few years before the wedding, well, you’ve already got the living together thing established, haven’t you? You’ve already got basic stuff most likely as far as housewares. So, does it still feel as special?
I recalled my bridal shower, which took place on my 26th birthday. My late MIL had a ball planning it, invited loads of women, the table positively groaned with food, and I got some very nice things. I had lived on my own several years so I had a lot of the start-up stuff already. And Himself often stayed over at my place, but didn’t move in until after the wedding, and then we moved to a two-bedroom flat six weeks later, so it felt more like we were living in our place, rather than his living with me in my apartment.
E’s mom asked if she’d open her gifts while we were all there. E said she’d love to, and many of us responded that we were curious to see what gifts she received. She confessed that she’d feel funny if someone got her something that she really didn’t like, because she’d have to fake like it. One of her friends quickly assured her that that wouldn’t be necessary, she was quite sure all of us had gotten her things she’d love. I thought back to my own shower and wedding gifts. There weren’t any that were truly dreadful, and some still survive.
She had hurriedly registered at a national department store and picked a list of things she’d like. This was helpful to me, as I wasn’t sure what she’d want or could use, and I went with the safe containers and lids one could use for leftovers or for food prep. The card I bought was simple and conveyed exactly what I felt. I was glad to be part of her shower.
There were lots of laughs when her first dog wanted to help open the gifts. E gave him bits of paper to play with, and in the case of my gift, he helped to open it before she was ready. We oohed and aahed at some of the nice things she got.
Her mother had wrapped the wedding RSVPs, which E knew she was getting from her mom, and her mom also told us that she was paying for postage, too. She had wrapped the package and adorned it with a paper flower she made. E carefully removed the paper flower, wanting to save it. Her mother scoffed and said she could make her another if she wanted. No, E wanted this one, as a memento.
Next, E opened up a gift from her grandmother. I was sitting beside E so was the first to see that they were old linens. Gram went on to explain, “These were Aunt Lydia’s.” Aunt Lydia, it turned out, had raised Gram, although we didn’t hear more of the story than that. The way Gram said Aunt Lydia’s name, you knew Aunt L was somebody special and wonderful.
There was a linen towel with an exquisite embroidered edge, and a few table runners that had threads skillfully drawn (pulled) to create intricate patterns so it looked almost like lacework.
I asked Gram if Aunt Lydia had done the embroidery. No, but most likely one of her sisters had. Gram then went on to explain about the drawn table runners.
As Gram explained, and lovingly unfolded the table runners, E’s eye grew misty. Tears fell, and I witnessed That Moment where E realized she is getting married. She seemed to take in that she was now entrusted with beloved heirlooms and had entered that Inner Circle.
It took her a few minutes to compose herself. Her mother looked surprised, her gram looked so pleased.
Those tears answered my earlier question. Yes, it still does feel special. It’s still a rite of passage where all who attend wish her well from our own vantage points, which run the gambit from “will that ever be me?” to “I can’t believe I was a bride so long ago.”
I didn’t feel very much older until I was leaving, and one of the younger women asked how long I’d been married. When I said “27 years, well in September, 27 years,” there was a noticeable pause. I then realized the woman who asked most likely wasn’t even 27 yet. I smiled, wished E well, pet her dogs, and headed for home.
It was a lovely shower.