When I was young, I was very concerned with being practical. Now that I am well over forty, I realize that ‘being practical’ was just me being afraid. Afraid of what? Afraid of asking for what I wanted, even if it made trouble for others. And guess what, my best friend used to have the same problem.
And we got married within weeks of each other.
So we decided, in the name of being practical, that we wouldn’t be in each other’s weddings.
Eminently practical. And very, very wrong.
There are times to be practical, as when choosing a new dishwasher, and there are times to be impractical, like when putting a wedding together.
The weddings we had, by their very nature, were impractical. Long, big skirted dresses no one ever wore again. Making people sit in little white folding chairs and then giving them nowhere to put their drinks so they had to put them under their chairs so the photographer wouldn’t catch them drinking during the ceremony and then inevitably someone kicked their drink over and it was a mess. A remarkable amount of cheese in the afternoon.
Only the last one makes much sense and thank you, Felicia! Twenty years later and I can still picture the mountain of cheese presented at Felicia’s reception. It was truly a thing of beauty.
That doesn’t change the fact that we did the wrong thing in the name of being practical. We should have made a mess of things, had trouble coming and going on both occasions and maybe told ourselves and each other that we should have been more practical.
But we would have been with each other right before we walked down the aisle, and been together through endless pictures and fittings and whatever else people do together before they say their vows. We would have been together right after the ceremony, when everyone in the wedding party walks back down the aisle and magically hides themselves from the rest of the guests for a while to cry a little and have a quick drink before all the planned rigamarole of the reception.
What we didn’t understand then is that the things that matter can be, and often are, a huge hassle.
There is nothing practical about having a wedding where one invites more than 15 people. There is nothing practical about birthday parties for small children, trips to any amusement park anywhere in the world, or making your own anything that can be purchased at the store or from Amazon. And yet many of us do these things on a regular basis.
Every year for Christmas, I used to make my older son 3 or 4 sets of pajamas. It would have been way cheaper and easier to buy pajamas. But I made them because he and I went to the fabric store together and picked out fabric and that was very, very fun. And then usually about a week before Christmas we would visit my parents and my mom would help me finish the pajamas. That was simply lovely since my mom used to make me clothes when I was a little girl.
We do things, big and small, that are impractical because they bring us joy.
I have passed by much happiness in the name of practicality. But the weddings, I regret those the most. We sat in the audience with distant cousins and random plus ones. Hopefully lesson learned. When it comes to those we cherish, no matter the hassle, front and center.