As you may have gathered from my last post, I am getting married in a few months. I am oh so grateful for the man I am marrying, (we’ll call him A) and for the friend (we’ll call her S) who told me repeatedly he was the one for me, years before she ever introduced us. I’m not sure what my friend saw in each of us that prompted her to put us together, but if you are single, you may want to become BFFs with her so she can get to know you and start working her magic. She has a gift for matchmaking, and quite a sense of humor.
A knows and understands me better than I do myself sometimes. It’s one of the many traits that drew me to him in the first place. And that has come in handy recently. As A knows all too well, I absolutely hate surprises. So when his parents told him they wanted to surprise me on our wedding day with a bagpiper at the ceremony, I am so glad he stepped in to say: that’s a really bad idea because she doesn’t like surprises any time of the year, but on her wedding day, she would really hate them.
A and I are paying for the majority of the wedding ourselves so we’ve had control of most of the logistics. A bagpiper is a wonderful idea, but I can’t help but imagine myself on our wedding day, when a strange man in a kilt showed up and started playing in the middle of the ceremony or reception.
So if my future in-laws ever read this blog: I really appreciate the gesture of a surprise, but surprises make me hyperventilate, and here's why:
My mother, who you may have read about here, is full of surprises, and not always the good kind, though they are usually well intended. She emanates a certain childlike innocence, making it hard for anyone to be really mad at her for long. She knows not what she does, most of the time. Kind of like when my dog rips apart one of my favorite high heels and then comes to drop it at my feet with a huge smile on his face, his tail wagging furiously.
In my early twenties, when I was trying desperately to find a way to move out, I got my big break, a job two hours away from home. I was out on a date with the recipe thief the weekend I got the job, when my mom called and told me my Jack Russell Terrier was very sick and I needed to come home to take him to the vet. She even produced tears during her frantic phone call. I turned around and raced home. When I got there, I ran into the house looking for my dog, who was safely penned in the kitchen. I was bombarded by a group of people who I didn’t recognize at first, yelling “Surprise!” When my eyes focused on them, I realized they were five of my closest friends.
“It’s your going away party!” my mom yelled.
“How’s Rusty?” I asked producing some tears of my own by this point.
“He’s fine. I had to use that as an excuse to get you to come home.”
“Oh. . . Wait. How did you arrange this party that fast? I just got the job yesterday,” I said.
“I’ve been planning it for a while, but then when you got the job, I decided to make it your going away party, since you have to move away.”
“But what did you tell everyone the original occasion was?”
“Oh, don’t worry about it. It was just to have a party.”
“OK,” I said, knowing that this was going to upset me more if I dug any deeper at this point. And anyway, I had friends to hang out with and banana bread to eat and even cards to open. As the night wore on and I laughed with friends, I started to wonder more about my mom’s motive behind the party.
“Your mom is SO funny,” all my friends said while she was in the other room.
Throughout the night, my mom was manic and frantically bustling about, ordering people to "eat more dinner!" and "cut the cake!" I know my mom is easily excitable, so I can imagine the scene (but I try not to) before I arrived - when I wasn’t there to monitor her.
Later on, she told me not everyone she invited could make it.
“Who else did you invite? And how did you get their addresses?”
“I took your address book from your room.”
“Who else did you invite?” I asked again, realizing that the book was outdated and from high school and college, consisting of people I hadn’t talked to in a few years, some of them ex-boyfriends.
“I invited a few other girls and a few guys.”
“MOM. That book was old.”
“Don’t worry about it. I didn’t invite anyone you haven’t talked to in a while.”
I decided to let it go and not even think about it anymore. A few weeks later, one of my friends called to say she was sorry she couldn’t make it to the party and she asked how I’d been doing lately.
“I’m fine, why?”
“Well your mom said she was having a party for you because you’d been ‘feeling down’ lately.”
I couldn’t remember feeling down or giving off that impression, but my mom's mood swings were rampant that year. When I confronted her about it, she told me she just wanted to have a party. That’s fine and all, but don't tell your daughter's friends she's depressed just for an opportunity to have people over because if she isn’t feeling down before the party, she sure will be after.