Planning a wedding is my nightmare

Before I get too far into this post, I would like to preface it with a reminder that this is a place of love and respect and I mean no insult to anyone who disagrees with me or chooses differently than me – especially those of you who I may have stood up for at your very own weddings… all 12 were very lovely and beautiful and totally worth it to see you smile and beam in love all day. Yes, you read that right, 12.

That being said, much like having babies, planning a wedding is just not for me.

In fact, it is downright one of my biggest nightmares.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Michael VERY much (like a ridiculous, makes you sick to your stomach amount) and DO very much want to be his wife, partner for life and permanent fixture for his babies to rely on. What I do not want is to plan a wedding; a day that costs a BAJILLION dollars and causes a shit ton of anxiety, stress and unnecessary ulcers. And before you get into it, I know, I know, it doesn’t have to be like that.

But it will.

Of all 12 I have officially been a part of, I can clearly remember a moment during or in the planning leading up to the day where I thought, “Holy shit, no way am I going to have a wedding if THIS is what I will have to deal with”.

The THIS being any or all of the following:

  1. The financial strain: Regardless of how much money you’re free to spend, have saved or hope to make at your wedding, it is outright INSANE to spend the amount of a substantial down payment on a house on one day that in all honesty will not matter when you’re standing 25 years deep or become part of the statistical nonsense of those that end in divorce. It’s ONE day and for it to cost any more than I make in a month, is insane.
  2. Unreasonable guests, parents, grandparents, etc. RSVP’ing people who were not addressed on the invitation: PEOPLE, the invite is addressed a certain way for a reason and adding people to your response card is incredibly tacky. If you don’t like that someone wasn’t invited – don’t go! I think it completely reasonable for the couple to be EXTREMELY picky about who shares in their special day and have every right to select who is or is not invited.
  3. Unreasonable guests, parents, grandparents pushing to have certain people invited who you don’t even know or like for that matter: The rule of thumb should be (within reason of course bar the odd relative or oldest friend that lives far, far away so you have not yet met their partner of 3 years, etc.) you should not be meeting anyone for the first time during one of the most important days in your life. And if you can’t see them at the next handful of milestones in your life, I don’t care what blood line they’re attached to, you should not be forced to invite them because you might upset someone.decide-inviting-wedding-ecard-someecards
  4. Unreasonable requests of the guests, parents, grandparents, etc. for food, venue, dress, ANYTHING TO DO WITH YOUR WEDDING:  Is it really so rude to remind people that it is not about them? It is about the couple celebrating their love in a way that is expressive of them. And if what the couple chooses offends you, you should probably check your knickers, remove the large knot causing you to be such an opinionated, uptight, rude being, and check your ego at the door – your opinion is NOT important for this day. You may think very highly of yourself and your importance, however let me be the one to tell you, unless the couple asks for you to weigh in because they also feel you are of equal importance – butt out.
  5. The business of getting married: Explain to me when your wedding day (of what I have experienced in modern, western culture of course) became a business transaction? When did it become a day looked at as an opportunity to make money? I have heard on numerous occasions of couples spending well outside of their means to make a better cut through the gifting process – really?! I would think on your day of love in celebration of your life together and the commitment of FOREVER that the monetary gain from making certain choices should be the farthest thing from your mind.
  6. The show, the spectacle, the bravado: To be honest, the majority of traditional wedding hoopla is a joke to me. It’s a circus during the preparations leading up to the big day, filled with unnecessary stress and emotional upheaval just to get to and through a day. It’s just a day! The pressure to preform and put on a perfect wedding is enough to send a soul like mine running for the hills, refusing to marry and staying engaged forever. In fact this has been the conversation as of late in our household – Mike is pretty sure he’ll never nail me down for a date at this point. Preparations aside, then there is the day of, where participants in the wedding rush around like crazy people, stuff themselves into uncomfortable outfits that pull, push and leave burn marks as we wear them through the day, layer on makeup and hairspray to attempt to not fall out of place as the long day drags out. What happened to the purity of the act of marriage? The simplistic beauty in the vows being said, the romantically intimate moments not dressed up with flowers and veils and sparkles and linens and lighting and candles and, and, and. Where did the fierce protection of the sanctity of the promise you’re making become less important than the way everyone looks, what they say and where they stand?
  7. I loved our day, BUT statements: I need all of my fingers and toes to count the amount of times I have heard that a couple wished they did it smaller, simpler, didn’t focus so much on the details and things, and more on the promises they were making and the love they were sharing – and more importantly that they did it for them and not for their parents, grandparents, guests, etc. I can tell you that number is almost if not equal to the 12 I have been a part of, not counting of course the weddings I have attended and heard the same uttering of wishes. The day should be for you and only you. The fact that you have invited your loved ones to witness it should be the secondary thought to the wedding – not the focus of the day.
  8. You’re getting MARRIED: Now this one is less from the wedding’s I’ve been a part of and more just a general observation, but the flippancy with which some people take on the vow of marriage is probably my number one reason for not wanting to plan a wedding – I am shit scared of becoming the rising statistic of the divorced population. I am one of those people that thinks a marriage vow – one that is used to join you in union for life – should be made for life. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand and am not speaking about the cases where abuse is present and it becomes a matter of life and death to get out. What does make me quiver at the state of our societal views of marriage is that when it’s no longer fun and exciting and new and fresh and you’ve had to get through your share of shit together, people seem to eventually give up. They walk away, they stop fighting for their relationship, they turn their backs and they stop accepting challenges as a team. They stop trying and working on themselves for their partner. If your partner doesn’t challenge you to be a better person and inspire you to take the steps to do so now, please, please, please consider what you are promising before you say your vows. Michael and I have been together long enough now that we participated in many of our friend’s weddings at the begging of our relationship that are now divorced and either engaged or already married a second time – for no other reason then they thought they could either change each other, or that nothing would change and things would be peachy. The whole ’till death do us part portion seems to be lost on those entering into marriage these days. It’s supposed to be for better or worse, not until your partner shows you their worst so you move onto better. It’s not just one day, it’s a lifetime of commitment, of work and of love. I place so much importance on taking this step with Michael that I am totally okay with taking our sweet, sweet time – and thankfully, so is he.71f5c5789c65acd4cc72c48d1a1eb800
  9. The Bridezilla effect: I know now, after round 1 through to 12, that no bride is immune to the bridezilla effect at one point or another (or in some serious cases, all the way through) during their wedding planning/day. And I desperately do not want to become this version of myself if I also do not carry the immunity to it – which let’s be honest, I probably don’t. I have watched the sweetest souls become the worst versions of themselves under the pressure they put themselves under to have “the perfect day”. I get that some women…okay, okay most women, think differently than me and have been planning their wedding day since they were 5 years old and just couldn’t wait for their prince to come along and marry them so they could and NOTHING will ever stand in the way of them getting what they want. I get it. I really do, even if I don’t understand you. However, just because you are getting married and are stressed and have Aunt June breathing down your neck because you didn’t invite her daughter – your cousin, you’re reminded – that you haven’t seen in 8 years and doesn’t know you or your fiance to your wedding, does not mean lashing out on the people that are around you is acceptable or even excusable. What makes me even crazier are the people that use their wedding as an excuse for being giant assholes to their wedding party, friends, family, parents, etc. and expect them to understand like it’s okay because you’re getting married. It’s just so crazy to me to think that the event YOU are putting on for yourself that is causing YOU stress because of the choices YOU are making is a reasonable governance for your behaviour – it’s not and you’re just being a five-year old stuck in a grown woman’s body and I really don’t want to get down to that level.

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I am sure I could conjure up a few more points, but I think you get the picture. I could also peg part of my lack of desire to the fact that I have planned 12 with my ladies and event plan in a professional capacity which can take some of the joy out of it – but I think it’s really just one of those things that I don’t have the natural desire for, like babies. And before you mark me as a commitment-phobe or a heartless wench, please understand that I am very much in love and excited to spend my days making Michael crazy – I just know that for me, the idea of planning and executing a wedding makes me want to go find Elvis in Vegas and runaway with my groom into the Nevada sunset.

~Toni

 

 

 

Days like these

If you had asked me when I was younger what my life would look like in my 30s, as a mother, as a wife, I would never have been able to guess it would be this.

That my house would be a complete disaster every single day, unless company was coming over, and then it was a minor disaster to be put on hold for a small number of hours.

All the dishes. All the time.

All the dishes. All the time. (That dishwasher is there purely for aesthetic.)

That I would go to bed thinking about all the laundry I need to fold, wash, put away…yet never ever get to.

How many loads of clean laundry can I hide behind my couch?

How many loads of clean laundry can I hide behind my couch? (That chair is tipped over because Isaac likes to climb).

That I would be a stay-at-home mom, walking babies to school, cooking all the meals, in charge of all the cleaning, and watching my hard-earned degree gather dust on our wall.

Have you tried cooking dinner with acrobatics happening at your feet?

Have you tried cooking dinner with acrobatics happening at your feet?

That I would be forced to negotiate with the most unreasonable creatures on the planet just to put on their shoes so we could go to the park FOR THEM, or eat their food because they were the ones sobbing at my feet hungry, or to go to bed and sleep because all of the hysterics that they are currently stuck in are because they are tired.

Waiting for snack time...weirdly patiently.

Waiting for snack time…weirdly patiently.

That I would not get a hair cut in over a year simply because I would need to orchestrate a child-care/salon hours/extra time formula that only works once every 15 months or so.

Can you see my kitchen table? I haven't either.

Have you see my kitchen table? I haven’t either.

That I would donate all of my dress pants, skirts, blouses because I don’t need them anymore – my uniform consists of durable material, wash-and-wear ensembles with denim being the star.

Dress pants are no match for a breakfast thrown by Isaac.

Dress pants are no match for a breakfast thrown by Isaac. And the random dirty sock.

That we would not go to church in months simply because we are too sick/too exhausted/too worn-out to get to one more place on time.

That sitting on the couch and zoning out for an hour, followed by an early bedtime is my idea of the perfect night.

That eating hot food is an anomaly so rare that I regularly burn my mouth whenever the opportunity does present itself.

That I would drink and seek out and need coffee to fuel my day, every day.

Sweet nectar that makes all of my efforts in futility possible.

Sweet nectar that makes all of my efforts in futility possible.

That the feeling of not having a body on me or near me or touching me would be more alien than having three children piled on and around me.

That sleep would be the most precious and most scarce commodity in my life, so much so that on days where the babies are overnight somewhere, sleep is all I can think about.

That when planning our 10-year anniversary trip, that it’s a legitimate toss-up between Europe and an all-inclusive tropical resort because all I want to do is SLEEP.

That I would be fulfilled by the feeling of a smooth, not sticky counter, kitchen table, coffee table, floor.

That I would find pleasure in finding miracle cleaning products that worked instead of just made me work.

That I would write more, clean more, cook more, and walk more with babies hanging off of me, screaming at me, crying on me or asking a million things of me, than not.

He's not really a fan of this blog post.

He’s not really a fan of this blog post.

That I would love my babies more fiercely than anything ever. That I would do all of the above and more for them because it’s ingrained in my DNA that they are mine and I must fight for them.

That I would get up and repeat over and over and over again, regardless of the fact I make no money, have no sick days, and no vacation time.

If you had asked me then, I wouldn’t believe you. And yet, it’s the most natural thing today.

~ Julia

1997

Julia’s mother-in-law and the Sisterhood’s second mother, Dianne, joins us again as a guest blogger. We are in awe of her strength in surviving her abusive marriage and we are inspired by her bravery in sharing her story out loud. 

Story will inspire

This is a story that has lived within me for several years, actually for almost two decades. This is a story that few have ever told, but if you know it, the story must be told. It’s a true story, one meant to inspire others, not one meant to elicit pity. Pity is not what I needed; strength and inspiration – that’s what I was looking for.

It started a long time ago, when I was a young girl. I met my sweetheart. We were very young, 14 or 15. Circumstances would lead us to marry others, but circumstances would also bring us back together. It’s at that point that the real tale begins.

I believed, like so many young women, that the man I would marry would hold me dear in his heart. He would cherish me, guard me, and protect me. Never would he harm me. I believed that whatever faults I saw, things would be okay because of the underlying truth: he loved me. This was at a time when I believed that people would change for the better, or I could help them change.

My childhood sweetheart was raised in a Christian home, believing in God. His parents were blue-collar hard-workers. I remember his dad in particular. He worked shift work at the tire factory in Kitchener. He landed his job during a time when an education was not necessary to maintain a steady paycheque. At the end of a long day, he would come home to deal with a busy household comprising of five children and a sickly wife. His reward was a cigarette and a beer.

My husband grew up and followed in his dad’s footsteps. He was uneducated. Times had changed and as a result, my husband had difficulty holding down a job. As it turned out, the love of my life was plagued by demons. He believed that he was not worthy of any of life’s treasurers, certainly not love. Because of this, one beer became two, became six. Soon the motto was: “24 beers, 24 hours in a day, not a coincidence.”

I was a master at justifying anything. “He drinks because he worked hard, he drinks because life is so busy, he drinks because…” There were a thousand good reasons to drink, and there were no good reasons to drink. He drank copious amounts, but beer was his drink of choice. I discovered that if he drank spirits, he was more difficult to handle once he was drunk.

Now when I say, “more difficult to handle,” what I really mean is he became violent, physically abusive. As it turned out, he was more violent with spirits, but that didn’t stop his temper when he was drinking just beer. Remember, I was good at justifying anything. I would say things like, “He only drinks on the weekend “(lie), or, “If he drinks beer, he doesn’t get too violent” (another lie). I would console myself by saying, “He doesn’t hit the children,” something that eventually became another lie. I even tried telling myself that others didn’t know. Others knew. They knew and didn’t know what to do.

Friends and family would watch in horror as I sported new bruises. There were so many battles fought over the course of 12 years. So many times I wondered what I had gotten into, how could I change things, could I ever learn the rules of living with him? I knew this was a dangerous situation, ready to go off at any minute. If I said the wrong thing, said something with the wrong tone, served something for supper that wasn’t up to his liking, there would be hell to pay.

After one particularity disastrous birthday and Father’s Day, I went to church with bruises on my face, neck, arms and upper torso. Not cleverly-disguised bruises – these were big, purple, angry bruises. The next day at work, someone asked me what happened. I told them I ran into a door. Looking at me, you knew I would have to run into the door repeatedly to get these bruises. Bravely, I told the lie.

I remember this weekend clearly – it’s the weekend my babies watched as I was choked and beaten. All I could think of was getting away with my babies. I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t have money; I just needed to get away. It was also the weekend I made up my mind that things would change.

I started dreaming of schemes, trying to figure out how we could leave the home without bringing on another beating. I didn’t care about the things in the house, they were just things and I could earn money to get more things. I envisioned so many scenarios. Maybe he would go away for the weekend and come home to an empty house. Maybe he would be involved in an accident and I could become a grieving widow…problem solved.

One thing I wanted to keep sacred was my relationships – they were few and far between. I didn’t want other people burdened with the mess I had gotten myself into. I wouldn’t ask for help. I had been virtually cut off from family, so I couldn’t ask them. This is very typical of an abusive relationship, isolate the victim.

It was almost two years to the day before I finally had enough. With no plan in mind, with little cash resources, we left. We left and made a stand…NO MORE! I didn’t care if he kept everything in the house, he would never touch any of us again. Never again would we live in fear. There would be no more angry voices in my home.

It was the scariest day of my life…EVER. But, it was like being born, a new day with new hope. It was refreshing to get up in the morning and know that I was in control of all that was before me. If something went wrong, I would be responsible for making it right. I also knew that I wouldn’t depend on someone else; there would be no more disappointments.

If you are a victim, you will know when you’ve had enough. It takes a lot of courage to leave; it takes a lot of courage to stay. Make plans, but be prepared to move at a moment’s notice.

Your friends are watching you, they want to help but don’t know how. They can’t believe that you would stay where you are, but don’t know what it’s like to walk in your shoes.

If you know a victim, be their support. Don’t judge someone for remaining, you never know what you would do yourself. Be an ear. Protect the children; give them a reprieve in the chaos. Have a moving truck and plenty of strong, young men on standby.

Remember to protect yourself. Once you are free, never look back. You will second-guess yourself for a long time. Your memory will play tricks on you. You will think, “Was it really all that bad?” I have a crack in my jaw that hurts sometimes; this reminds me that yes, it was that bad.

The bible doesn’t say “reconcile and forget,” it simply says “forgive and forget.” Forgiveness does not mean the renewal of the relationship; it is the power to let go. Reconciliation is forgiveness with the expectation of a continued relationship. Don’t kid yourself – there is no expectation of a continued relationship.

Your ex-partner will be angry. They will plead. They will promise to never hurt you again. They will try to convince you that it never happened. Stay strong. Find your friends again. Cry, laugh and cry again. Forgive them. Forgive yourself. Be reborn. Rejoice in the day.

I’ve survived. My children have survived. It was 1997, so long ago, but only yesterday. Scars will heal. We will be okay.

~ Dianne

If you are someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is hope and there is help. You are stronger than your story, braver than you know, and a survivor through and through.

In Ontario, call 1-866-863-0511 24/7.

In Ontario, call 1-866-863-0511 24/7.

Call 1-800-799-7233 in the US 24/7.

Call 1-800-799-7233 in the US 24/7.

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!

Guest post – The importance of moms

Ben, Julia’s husband and knight-in-shining armor, is our guest blogger today! He’s kicking off our Mother’s Day Week by writing about the mothers in his life. Watch for more posts about motherhood all next week in honour of mothers and their day, Sunday May 11, 2014. 

~~~

Mom: What day is it?

Me: Second Sunday in May.

This is a conversation I had frequently with my Mom. It usually followed my asking her for something. Can I go out to my friend’s house? Can you proofread my essay? Can I borrow the van (there’s no way I drove it as much as you did, right?)?

It was her unique way of saying “Yes, but make sure you appreciate this.”

This is to say nothing of the things that she provided even when I didn’t directly ask for them: a home, food (I ate A LOT), clothes. Things that are easy to overlook, until you have to provide them yourself.

Moms give.

Moms teach.

She had other, less subtle ways of reminding me of the importance of Mom (though I don’t recall her referring to herself in the 3rd person). I remember her driving to and from Confirmation classes, during which she would ask us to recite the Commandments and Articles of Our Faith, our memory homework. She would call out one of them and “volunteer” one of us to recite it. Of course her favourite has always been the fourth commandment (I’m sure she asked for this one more than any of the others). She could still ask for it today, and I would be able to tell her (here it is as I remember it):

Source: The Ten Commandments

Source: The Ten Commandments

“Hounor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

What does this mean?

We shall fear and love God that we do not despise nor vex our parents or superiors. But rather love, honour, obey, serve and esteem them.”

Moms drive.

Moms teach (because we have so much to learn).

I have no difficulty saying that my Mom has been one of the greatest influences in my life. But as I grew and experienced more, other Moms came into the picture of my life, with a similarly profound impact.

When I was dating my future wife (you may know her as Julia), I was warned by a mutual friend, not to upset the “Mama Bear.” She was fiercely protective of her girls. I’m happy to say, I made it through the courtship without being mauled. Our relationship started off slowly, tentatively, but it grew until she became my Other Mom. It is a title she has earned. I refuse to call her mother-in-law, or any of the other less savoury names.

Moms protect.

Moms accept.

One of the great parts of becoming a parent was watching Julia grow into a Mom. Even before we were married, she was a mother and champion to those around her. Throughout her journey with and battle against PPD, she has become a champion of the cause and made a number of new friends. She used her own experience to empathize with and inspire others.

When we were deciding how to handle Lillian’s unique situation, with the doctor appointments in Toronto, weekly speech therapy and complicated hearing equipment, Julia stepped up – instinctively – and became the stay-at-home mom. In the end, it was a decision that we made considering all the facts, although her initial reaction speaks to the Mom she is.

Moms help.

Moms nurture.

Moms work relentlessly work at a job that no one in their right mind would willingly accept.

 

What day is it? The second Sunday in May. Now what are you going to do about it?

~ Ben

 

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!