Friday, April 8, 2016

On Brides and Fathers and Dresses

For the past few months, I have been trying to show my teenage daughter the movie Father of the Bride - the Steve Martin version from the 1990s.  I was about 18 or 19 when it was released, and it quickly became a fan favorite amongst my family and close friends.  We could recite much of the movie and laughed uproariously at Steve Martin and Martin Short.  It was (and still is) quoted often in our family.  I would watch the movie and think ahead to when I would be the bride - what a glorious day it would be!  When Mr. Right and I tied the knot!

Fast forward about four years. . .and indeed Mr. Right had entered my life and things were getting serious between us.  I brought him home during spring break to meet my family, and my dad, ever the sentimental goofball, instinctivley channeled his inner Steve Martin.  We were at The Sizzler (it was really just called Sizzler, but doesn't it sound a lil more sophisticated this way?), and, per usual, I wasn't able to finish my steak.  My dad, who had been eyeing the remains on my plate, sat ready and waiting for me to offer him my leftovers, as I had been doing for the past 20+ years.  Instead, with a sinking stomach he watched me stab the steak and turn to my new beau and say, "Hey babe?  You want the rest of my steak?".  He told me later that it was at that moment that he knew he was replaced.

So, after a few tries with a scratched rental, I finally broke down and ordered a copy of Father of the Bride from Amazon and we watched it yesterday.  I haven't seen it from beginning to end in many, many years, and my memories didn't disappoint. I held my tongue (most of the time) so as not to recite every single line, but it was every bit as funny as I remembered it to be.  All the kids who were in the room thought it was hilarious.  I translated for Frank (the Kek!  the chipper chicken!  Armani don't also make polyaster! where are those cares? we don't want to looose him - he's a genius and we need his maaand!), calmed Shadow down when the dobermans were barking at George holding the bank book, and wiped my eyes when they were filmy at the wedding scene.  And as I watched the movie this time around, everything had shifted.  Instead of relating to Annie, the bride, I was suddenly relating to George and Nina, the parents.  During some of the movie, I sat on the couch with my 16-year-old daughter's head on my lap, and my heart ached a little.  Soon I will be the mother-of-the-bride and we will be the ones who will be "replaced".  It will be awesome and exciting and everything we've prayed for, God-willing, but it will also be hard to let go of her childhood. How time changes one's perspective.

After the movie, my youngest daughter asked me to get my wedding dress down.  I pulled it out - for the first time in almost twenty years.  And oh!  The memories!  I tried it on (I couldn't zip it all the way of course -I don't always offer the steak to my husband anymore!), and looked in the mirror and remembered the girl who wore it almost twenty years ago.  We took a bunch of pictures to show my mom (who made my wedding dress!!), and then I asked my 16-year-old daughter to try it on.  It fit her perfectly!  Looking at her in the dress made reminded me of how I looked in it all those years ago, and it was a great feeling. I took several pictures of her wearing it too, and then my little 6-year-old tried it on too, and we got lots of pictures of her.

While I don't think either of my girls will choose to wear my dress (enormous bows were the fashion in 1996 - I swear!), the whole process of trying it on with them was special to me.  I recall trying my mom's dress on when I was young and thinking ahead to 'one day'.  Time moves quickly and before I know it, my daughters will be trying on their wedding dresses (and my sons will also be preparing for their weddings), and our hearts will be catching up.  And it will be then, Dad, that I think I'll finally understand how you felt that day at The Sizzler.

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