I mean, had it been five years down the road I would have totally been on board, she was just sooooo young but it was her life and she had chosen to do this. I wanted to support her but at the same time I also wanted her to know it was never too late to change her mind and delay this wedding for a year or four! It was a delicate line to tread. I often would throw into our conversations that we could still change the date or cancel the flowers, you know, if you changed your mind or anything but she hadn't and we were down to the last two weeks before the wedding. All thoughts of cancellation were in the past. It was crunch time. It was go time.
I couldn't complain, everything had come together nicely. Peter's mother, Charlene, had been a great help. I'd gotten to know her pretty well as we discussed wedding preparations. She was a nice woman. I knew we wouldn't be lifelong besties or anything, but family events would be cordial. Besides, she was very efficient and organized which had helped immeasurable with the wedding prep. The location was scheduled, the invitations were sent, the food and flowers ordered and the dress, we only had the final fitting to go. We were headed there right now.
I looked over at Sally who was unusually quiet. I suppose the weight of the wedding was getting to her. She was looking out the window and seemed to be quietly meditating. She hadn't even turned on any music in the car. There were a lot of things for her to contemplate right now with all the changes about to happen in her life. The carefree days of her teenage years would soon be gone. She was about to turn twenty, get married, and start a new life with someone else. There would be new responsibilities and someone else to be responsible to and for. It was hard to see her go but Peter was a nice man; I just hadn't been prepared to let her go so early. I could feel the tears starting. I needed a new train of thought or I'd be crying before we even got to the wedding salon, let alone the dress fitting.
"Sally, what else do you have on your list for us to do?" I asked. I had asked her to come up with a list of things she felt we needed to finish before the wedding. I kept my own mental list of add ons to her list.
"I'm not sure Mom. I haven't looked at it today. I can check it when we get home," she replied.
"Don't you have it on your phone? Why don't you pull up the list and we can talk about what else we need to do after this fitting. The time will be here before you know it," I replied. I needed a distraction and it seemed like she did too.
"I don't really feel like it right now. I just want to think."
"Okay dear, but I'm going to turn on the music," I said. I needed a distraction. I kept seeing my little five year old sitting in the seat beside me talking about her first day of school or the day Sally made her middle school volleyball team or the first time we went out selling girl scout cookies in her little daisy uniform. Memory lane was getting to me today and I needed a distraction. I put on my CD of oldies but goodies. You can't beat the music of the fifties and sixties is what I always say. We listened in silence until I started singing along. We made it through three songs and then "Chapel of Love" came on. I was gearing up to belt out the chorus but all I got out was "Going to the chapel and we're" before Sally reached over and turned it off. I looked over at her, confused, but she just looked out the window.
"Sorry Mom, I just need it quiet right now, besides, we're almost at the shop," Sally said and she was right, we were, but still that was weird. I pulled into the parking lot and parked the car. I decided we just needed to enjoy the dress experience and I would talk to Sally on the way home.
Once we got in the shop they bustled Sally off to the dressing room areas and I settled down on a very uncomfortable settee with a bottle of water to wait. I knew the drill. This was our third and final fitting. From previous experience, I knew I had about fifteen minutes to waste until Sally came out. I looked around at the two other brides in the room showing off their latest selections to their moms and girlfriends for their opinions. One group looked to be in tears so they must have either found the dress or were beyond frustration at this point. We'd almost gotten to tears of frustration, instead of joy, because Sally refused to try on the dress I had suggested the moment we came in the salon.
Sally immediately disliked the dress the moment she saw it on the mannequin and probably liked it even less when I suggested she try it on, but two and a half hours and ten dresses later, she was willing to put it on. She loved it the moment she saw herself in the mirror and was willing to concede, after a little hemming and hawing, that I had been right.
I had just loved the dress! It was perfect and I was glad we had found the dress on the first day out since we only had a short time to find a dress. We rush ordered it and the alterations were done over the last three weeks. I was thrilled at how wonderfully everything was turning out.
I looked across the salon again and the mom or grandma was giving the bride-to-be a hug so I hoped it was joy they were experiencing but I didn't have any more time to watch the encounter as Sally was coming right towards me. She was beautiful. I could feel the tears starting.
"Oh Sally," I gushed, "You look amazing! I love it! How do you feel?"
"Fine Mom, I guess. I don't know," she replied. She was playing with the folds of the dress.
"What do you mean you don't know? Is something not fitting right? Is it bothering you? What's the problem?"
"I don't know Mom," she said and that's when she started blubbering, then crying and it quickly turned into sobs before I could even jump up to give her a hug. I realized she must be overwhelmed with all this wedding stuff and it seemed to be hitting her all right at this moment when she was seeing herself in her wedding dress.
"It's okay Sally. We can fix the dress. What do you want us to do?" I patted Sally on the back and looked at the seamstress for acknowledgment that everything could be adjusted on the dress. The seamstress stood to the side looking slightly bored. I think this might happen quite often around here. "What's wrong honey? The dress can be fixed," I reiterated forcefully. I wanted her to know, I needed her to know, we could fix the dress. It was going to be okay.
"Mom, it's not the dress," she wailed. Everyone in the salon turned to look at us, even the seamstress started to look interested.
I led Sally to the settee and made her sit down. Her dress puffed up so much around her there wasn't room for me but I just picked up the dress and shimmied in as best I could. I sat right next to Sally and put my arm around her shoulder. "Dear, if it's not the dress, what is it?"
"I don't think I can marry Peter."
She dropped the bomb on me and I felt like it exploded in my lap. Perhaps it was just nerves, cold feet. The wedding was coming quickly.
"Dear, a lot of people get cold feet right before the wedding. Are you sure it's not just cold feet? Nerves?" I asked. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the seamstress getting closer to us. I guess she didn't see this happen every day.
"Mom, I feel like I have a pit of despair in my stomach. I can't eat, I can't sleep, I am having a hard time talking to Peter and I feel like the world is closing in on me. Right now, I'm not sure what I was thinking four months ago. I'm only nineteen."
Ahhhhhhh! Not the pit of despair! I interrupted, "You'll be twenty in one month." I guess I thought that might be helpful. I was grasping for straws. I knew I had been hoping for this all along but two weeks before the wedding! Couldn't she have figured this out a little earlier? The invitations had been sent and airline tickets purchased by countless relatives. How was I supposed to know if this was just nerves or something more? She did not even acknowledge my comment, just continued talking. The floodgates were open and she was spilling forth.
"I have three more years of school to finish. How am I supposed to do that when I'm married and he hasn't even applied, let alone been accepted, to my school? Are we going to live apart and see each other at the end of each semester? Am I supposed to drop out of school and live with him in his mother's basement while he goes to school?"
NO, I was yelling in my head but there was no time to say anything since she was going a million miles an hour. This must have been weighing on her for awhile. Why hadn't she said something earlier? I tried to get rid of my utterly shocked look and tried to give her my most sympathetic look, although I know there was a bit of shock mixed in. I was doing my best under pressure! Why am I always the parent who has to deal with the bombs?
"He doesn't have a job and I am not sure how we are going to support ourselves. Am I going to have to start paying my own tuition for school now that I'm married?" She didn't wait for an answer. "And he wants kids!"
I had to interrupt now. "Right away?" I asked incredulously. Not that I don't want grandkids but I wanted a college graduate as well.
"Well, not right away," she conceded, "but he keeps talking about them and I'm worried. What if we get married and he changes his mind or I change my mind and then I won't be able to graduate and what do I do if sometime in the future I have to get a job and I have no schooling or work experience? I'm only nineteen," she said as she let out a small wail.
I noticed the seamstress was almost on top of us at this point so I stopped her right there. "Sally, you need to go back into that dressing room, take off this dress and then, we are going home where we will talk about this in great length, but not right now." I handed her yet another tissue.
She wiped her eyes, handed me all her dirty tissues (some things never change about being a mother no matter how old your child gets), stood up and gathered her skirt into her hands and walked back into the dressing room. I watched her go and my heart was worried that this was something her mother could not fix for her, no matter how much I wanted to. As soon as she had disappeared around the corner, a woman from the salon appeared.
"Ummm, I couldn't help overhearing a bit of the conversation and I'm sure it's just nerves," she said. She was trying to reassure me, "She'll be fine in a couple of hours, I'm sure." I was hoping she was right.
"I'm sure you must see things like this happen a lot, you know, working in a salon and what not," I rambled as I got out my credit card. The lady handed me the final bill on the dress that we loved and that looked perfect on Sally but I was beginning to wonder if it would ever be worn.
"Actually, not as much as you might think. Usually by the time they get to the final fitting, everything is a go." She must have seen my shocked look because she quickly added, "But it has happened. If she does change her mind and calls off the wedding, we can help you with storage options for the gown until she does get married." She took my credit card and left me with my thoughts..
I knew I had been telling Sally all along that she could change her mind, we could cancel the flowers, change the date, etc. but I never expected her to do it this close to the actual wedding and perhaps she wouldn't, but what if she did? What was I going to do?
Does Sally have cold feet or a change of heart? Take the poll on this page and let us know what you think and then come back tomorrow to find out more!