I recently met two friends for dinner so they could share some exciting news with me. They had just gotten engaged. I suspected as much, and really tried to put on my most positive attitude, but in the long run ended up apologizing for my reaction. I am honestly genuinely happy for them, I swear! It was just that all my maternal instincts kicked in and I wanted to protect my friends from harm, so I felt it necessary to ask lots of questions and see if they had thought through absolutely everything that could go wrong! I KNOW!!! That was the wrong way to go! Of course I can see it now, that it’s too late!
Look, I’m going to be honest here. If you are getting married and you want to tell someone who is going to jump up and down, I’m probably not one of the first people you should tell, not even if I love you lots. Actually, especially if I love you lots, brace yourself for my reaction.
Please try to understand. It’s not that I’m bitter or angry anymore, I’m not. However, picture this! Say I’d survived being mauled by a bear, not once mind you, but several times. Now I may appear all fine on the outside, but you know this has stuck with me. Now you tell me you are going to go live in the wilderness with the bears, in their natural habitat. Don’t worry, you say, you’ll be just fine! Imagine the flashing lights and sirens going off in my head. Well the same thing happens people when you tell me you are getting married! I can’t help it!
That’s pretty much how my last divorce felt, like being mauled by a bear. I honestly believed I was with the love of my life. I believed that we would grow old together and die in each others arms just like in the movie The Notebook. It was like I was walking along in the woods, happy as can be, all one with nature and at peace and then the next thing I knew, I was sprawled out on the forest floor, eviscerated and bleeding, fully expecting not to survive! Four years and two therapists later, I am fine, but seriously people there are scars so cut me some slack here okay!
Now there are exceptions to this! There are people for whom I will actually perform a wedding ceremony (as a notary) and will be glad to do so! In fact, I felt so strongly about marriage equality that I was at Bangor City Hall at 5:30 am last December to be one of the first notaries to perform a gay marriage ceremony (or as I like to call it, a marriage ceremony)!
But see those folks weren’t my children, or friends that I think of and love as pseudo-family. There weren’t people that I feel the need to protect, from lions and tigers and bears!
Another exception is my son-in-law. Now technically he will not be my son-in-law for a week and a half. However, I’ve been calling him my son-in-law for as long as I can remember. He and my oldest daughter have been together since they were 15 years old, almost twelve years. He has stuck by our family, and we have stuck by him, through some really rough times. He has also been there for all the really good times as well. They have both proven, that through thick or through thin, they can hang on. I’m so proud of them and can’t wait to be there for their wedding! It’s a new beginning, and a happy occasion that both of our families truly need.
Clearly, I don’t know what the magic formula is for marriage but I believe that if anyone can figure it out, the two of them can. In fact, I’m counting on them to, really.
There’s lots of evidence out there to suggest its real, that its possible. Sometimes you have to look hard for it, but it’s there. My 79-year-old mother will be at my daughter’s wedding too, and her escort will be her 86-year-old boyfriend. They have been together almost eleven years now and seem to be going strong! I think they are going to give it a few years before they talk about marriage though!
And just when I needed it, I came across an old article this week about a couple who made it 72 years and then died together side by side in the hospital, holding hands. While it’s too late for me to actually spend 72 years with the same person, it’s not too late for lots of other good things and I fully intend to keep trying, to not give up hope, despite the risks.
And there’s evidence to suggest that even the most vicious bears can be trained! Oh my!