Wedding Bells & The Blue Shoes

I am not the first to write about a wedding and neither will I be the last.

My story is personal. The story of life cycle event in pandemic.

The story of entitlement, perhaps.

The story of change.

This is the story of what we do, sometimes, while we process, process, process our life’s transitions while the world is in flux.

Our daughter, Bells, told us from the beginning that everything would be blue. That I would be wearing blue, my husband’s suit was to be blue — that flowers would be blue and my shoes would be blue.

Everything blue.

Blue Bells.

So during a pandemic in a still snowy spring with only a little more than four months of engagement to an early August wedding I began to hunt for blue dresses.

Oh my, did I hunt.

I did find a blue dress — and then another and another and another — and after six purchases online, there were arrivals and eventual returns.

I live in a small-ish town.

I have been leaving out treats for the UPS man.

The shoes, though.

Of course I needed shoes.

Oh my gosh — the shoes.

Bell’s wedding is going to be in a park on an August afternoon. She alerted me there were to be no black shoes.

No closed shoes.

So sure, pumps, mules, sandals — all were ordered and arrived — and tried on — all deemed too narrow, too high, too dressy.

Bought and returned.

And returned.

And returned.

I am embarrassed to say that no fewer than fourteen pairs of shoes were ordered and returned. Every time a box arrived my husband announced “more shoes”.

It became not only a comedy — but also a tragedy.

To me also a ridiculous farce in a time that was so difficult for so many in the world and here I am worrying about a pair of shoes for our daughter’s wedding.

I felt truly ridiculous.

I used to not be so difficult. “Come On”, I am saying to myself.

Come. On. Dai.

Finally. Finally.

For the dark periwinkle sleeveless crochet lace gown — now taken in to be shortened — we found blue espadrilles.

A blue shoe for a blue gown for an afternoon wedding outdoors on a summer’s day.

For blue Bells.

I have been thinking about why this was all so important. I have been wondering if the quest for the ‘perfect’ dress and the ‘just right’ shoes wasn’t just my way of processing my transition from my younger self — to the role of mother — and now to the role of elder. And all the feelings.

So many feelings.

There is the symbolism of course of the dress and shoes. Representing of course the roles I will ‘step into’ — the role I will clothe myself in when the rituals are over.

Which new piece of land will I step onto?

I have a friend who has said to me repeatedly “but you are the mother of the bride”! — meaning that I somehow have some importance in this play-acting ritual we call the wedding.

In a sad reality, although I consider that my daughter and I are close — I am the train station and she is already on the train. And it is pulling away along the tracks — into her life.

I remember several years ago when I was the bride.

For a whole week before my wedding I dreamed that I was in a big white house at a camp I loved in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. I dreamed that I was a bride standing in the window of the house. Everyone I had ever known was dancing around me singing a song which translates to “This is my heart’s desire — do not hide from me”.

At the same time that I was the bride in the window I was the bride on the train…and I was pulling away from the station.

And now the train becomes the station.

I am at an age where no one really cares about what I wear — perhaps except me. No one will be looking at me — nor should they.

It is the beautiful bride and her gallant groom upon whom the gaze will rest.

As it should be.

They represent our future. They are joy, they are hope.

Like a satin-covered catapult — we launch them into their lives — into whatever is meant for them.

We wish them friendship and fortitude.

We wish them good health — we wish them each other.

And we wish them shoes.

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