Breaking tradition…well, sorta

My family has always said that I ask too many questions, some of which may be comical or the answer may not be what I want to hear, but still I continue to ask them. How else will I learn? Or have pointless knowledge of everything under the sun!?

Have you ever asked where some traditions come from, like for instance why do you blow out candles on your birthday? Or why does every Portuguese household almost always have a rooster in it? Well, I sit here searching through endless pictures of bouquets, hair styles, veils, decor, budget-friendly-anything-at-all to get ideas for the upcoming nuptials, and I find myself asking, why? Why and where did so many of wedding traditions come from?

Why does the bride hold flowers? There are two thoughts on this tradition. The first, according to some, is that brides held flowers in order to cover up their odor (clearly this was B.D. (Before Deodorant)). Every bride wants to look their best on the day, so why not add a little pizzazz with lilac or rose scent? Nothing says “Marry me!” like a freshly flowered bride! The other thought states that brides would hold flowers or bouquets which were made with garlic or other extreme-scented herbs to ward off evil spirits and bad omens. Again, starting off on the right foot with this marriage – smelling good and bad-omen-free. For our nuptials, my decision to hold flowers was neither of these – it should be known that I will shower on the morning of the wedding and that there won’t be garlic or thyme in my bouquet. I will, however, be holding a bouquet on the day because they are beautiful and because that is what you are supposed to do. My sister did it, my mother did it, my grandmother did it and I am going to follow THAT tradition.

Everyone knows that the bride and groom are not supposed to see each other before the ceremony, but why? I’ll let you in on a little secret…I tried to convince Cody to see each other the day of the wedding. That we could sleep in our bed together the night before and then go our separate ways the morning of our nuptials after having a yummy breakfast together. You would have thought I was suggesting to sell our firstborn. The origins of this now tradition came from superstitions when arranged marriages were more common than meet-cute ones. The families of the betrothed were worried that seeing one another before their binding of ties would cause them to make a break for it! For our day, our avoidance is based on surprise. I want to see Cody’s face when he sees me all dressed in white for our day. The groom’s look of love always makes the best pictures.

In all of the planning, I have not yet decided on the old saying of “Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.” Not many know why these requirements are in place, but this is a tradition I can get behind. Something old is for the connection and ties to remain with the families of the bride and groom once the couple are married. Something new is for the new union being created and something borrowed is from the bride’s family to show their love for her, and to show they are walking with her as she marries her prince.

We are coming near the four-month mark ’til the big day (122 days to be exact (according to all of the wedding apps, gadgets and gizmos I have)). There are so many things to do and events coming up that my head is swimming with questions, answers and dates I can’t keep straight. I have to-do lists coming out of my wazoo to try and stay organized and on top of everything, with everything swirling around me, I can’t help but think onto this time next year and what that will look like.

This is, after all, just the beginning.

Party on!

Party on!

~ Jacqui

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Guest post – To Sophie, my mother’s namesake

Julia’s mother-in-law and the Sisterhood’s second mother, Dianne, joins us again as a guest blogger. Check out her first post here

I miss my mom, some days more than others. It sneaks up on me when I least expect it. In the summer I think of her more than in the winter, her birthday was August 12.

I remember as a child listening to my mom. She was number five of 22. The reason that my grandparents stopped at 21? My Uncle Bernard was just a baby when my grandfather passed away. My mom was part of the first baby boomer generation; she was born in 1918, just after WWI. She was made of stuff you just don’t see these days. Her childhood was harsh, her life as an adult was no easier. She was beyond tenacious; she was stubborn. Sophie may have inherited this gene.

Mom talked about when my grandma gave birth to her twin boys. Born in the field, they were premature and too young to survive past a few days. They were kept warm in baking pans on the door of the wood stove. My mom talked about my Uncle Romeo and how he and my Aunt Yvonne had tied up all their siblings one Saturday morning while my grandparents went to market. Life in northern Ontario was an adventure, to say the least.

These were the easy stories to tell. She didn’t speak often about her relationship with her parents. My mom was outspoken; my sister inherited that gene. I guess Mom voiced her opinion one too many times for the liking of my grandmother and they parted ways. I didn’t see much of my aunts, uncles, cousins or grandmother growing up.

Following Malvina`s funeral, the Labine daughters

My mother and aunts after my grandmother’s funeral. Mom is third from the right. 1967

 

My uncles after my grandmother’s funeral. 1967

My uncles after my grandmother’s funeral. 1967

When my grandmother passed away I was 10 years old, the last of nine children for my mother. Through a series of circumstances, Mom was not allowed to raise her first five children. She was a divorced woman at a time when that was not popular. There was no Social Services safety net at the time. Mom had a Grade 6 education, not quite enough to financially support her brood. The bias of the time dictated that she was unfit. This judgement caused her to lose custody of her children.

After Mom married Dad, they had us four. I like to think Mom kept having children until she achieved perfection. Both my parents were married twice, but I couldn’t tell you much about my father and his first family as my parents separated when I was two.

What I do know for certain is that WWII was over, I was a baby boomer like my mom, the family birth rate had dropped by over 50% and we had become urban dwellers. We were sophisticated! Milk came in glass bottles and Aunt May’s Bakery delivered bread in a plastic bag right to your door.

Christmas 1961. I’m the cute one with the baby.

Christmas 1961. I’m the cute one with the baby.

My mom was the sergeant major in our army. She taught my sister and I that we didn’t really need to work hard in school, some day we would fall in love with a man and he would take care of us for the rest of our lives. RIGHT, because that worked so well for her.

She also taught us girls how to sew, cook and put away preserves. Today, I am thankful to know how to do these things. It has helped me leave my mark here. Everyone I know appreciates NanaJam.

Mom had old, outdated standards, as far as I was concerned. My brothers didn’t need to help in the garden, or to learn how to vacuum; that was women’s work. They joined air cadets, went to summer camp and skipped painting the house.

She fought hard for us and taught us a work ethic that carried us through our adult years. I remember my oldest brother was followed home by some rough kids. Mom met them in the back yard and hopped the fence to where they were. Angry words were exchanged, the police were called and the other kids left. We were a tight family.

Through time, we grew up and moved away. We found our careers, married and raised children. We have watched each other grow older. Mom passed away in 2005. She was 86 years old. If you look closely, you will find parts of my mother in each one of us.

Each of us is given a set of tools, things that will help us through life. We gather these tools when we are young, hone the blades as adults and use them throughout our lives. I look at the toolbox I have and compare it to my mom’s. Ben once said that my mom only had a flat screwdriver and a hammer in her toolbox, and that someone had broken the handle on her screwdriver.

I look at all she accomplished in her life and tried to imagine the battles she had fought. It’s true she was not educated, never owned property and died as poor as a church mouse. She used to say “It’s not a sin to be poor, just inconvenient all the time.” When asked what kind of car she drove she used to say she was the Lone Ranger without a horse. She never expected anyone to carry her, she only asked for fair treatment from a system that was learning compassion. She led by example and never expected anyone to do something she wasn’t willing to do herself.

One of the greatest things mom taught me was that family was first. Work is a means to an end. It is the way we support ourselves. Mom would say things like “You can love money all you want, but it will never love you back.” Friends are great, but in the end it is family that will see you through.

As I preside over my mini-dynasty, I hope that I have learned enough from my mom to be worthy of this position. It is with great joy when I look at my grandchildren and know that they will grow up with weird uncles, crazy aunts, goofy cousins and a Nana.

Mom was a storyteller. My sister says I have inherited that gene. When we gather as family for a BBQ or a birthday, to celebrate each other or just because, let’s remember to tell the stories that keep the past alive and help us remember where we came from.

~ Dianne

If you’d like to write a guest post and join in the Weather Vane Sisterhood fun, email us at weathervanesisterhood at gmail dot com. We’d love to have you!