2020 was going to be a big year for my kids. A high school graduation. Two college graduations. A wedding.
Turns out, 2020 is a big year for my kids. And also for all the kids worldwide. Just not for the reasons we planned or expected.
Yesterday, my oldest kids (because they’re both my kids now) made the tough decision to postpone their June wedding to some unknown time in the future.
But in a twist that sure seems fateful now, they’re already hitched.
They have been since September.
After weeks of conversations with their financial aid advisor, and weighing the pros and cons, and calculating student debt, and realizing a) they stood to save a lot of money as married college students, and b) they would get married in June anyway, they decided to have a legal ceremony.
They called to let us know, from college in Hawaii, that they were headed to a Justice of the Peace the next morning. Everything else about their senior year would remain the same including living separately with their roommates as previously planned. The June wedding would be the real ceremony and celebration. No need for us to fly to Hawaii, they said. They had it covered, they said. No big deal, they said.
But my mama heart said BIG DEAL. And I wanted to be there, whether it was just technical legality or not.
IF YOU WILL WAIT FOR ME, I said, I WILL BUY YOU DINNER AND FLOWERS. And they’re poor college students, so I had them at free food. They were sold. They were having an engagement party anyway. We could roll the wedding into the engagement party and two birds/one stone the situation. And I was online buying tickets in minutes, paying no attention to my budget or my plans or my mental health or anything other than showing up for my kid… and my kid-to-be.
I’ll be honest, though; given the way Depression reared its head while we were there — a consequence of both brain chemistry and the inability to care for myself while I was laser focused on caring for them — I wondered later whether I should’ve gone.
Was it a mistake?
Should I have stayed home?
Should we have let them do their thing without me playing the role of Interfering Mommy switching the venue from the courthouse to the beach and the officiant from a judge to a minister?
Even though they were glad we were there? Even though it emphasized in a Real Way everything I’ve ever told my kids about Being There for Each Other and Supporting Their Decisions and Loving Each Other Well?
It’s human, I suppose, to second guess ourselves, but even in hindsight and knowing the mental consequences, I didn’t regret it. I’d do the same thing again. I’d do it a hundred more times. A thousand. In every timeline, I’d choose to be there.
The cost would have to be way higher to regret showing up for my people.
And I felt that way before I knew that the real wedding — the longed-for celebration with family and friends — would be postponed indefinitely due to a global pandemic.
Before I knew that this would be the real-est wedding possible for a while.
Before I knew we wouldn’t be back in May to celebrate their graduation.
Before I knew that was the last time I’d visit them while they were still in college.
Before I knew I wouldn’t get to help them pack or move or say good-bye to four years of their lives and the place they met.
Before I knew they’d be starting their life together in circumstances far more uncertain of the future and more unpredictable than generations before them.
And now that I know all that? It just drives home the importance of Showing Up. Never have I ever been more glad I ignored Logic and Fiscal Responsibility in favor of Following My Heart to My Humans.
I feel like it’s fair at this point if Greg is worried I’m going to come out of this pandemic the least reasonable, most irresponsible person of all time, listening only to my heart and my gut and parking my brain on the sidelines for eternity.
But I gotta say, that’s likely.
He’s right to be scared. 😉