Monday, June 9, 2008

A Letter to the Bride

Your wedding was lovely. Your Big Day seemed to go off without a hitch, and was almost everything a wedding should be. The ceremony was funny and touching, you were beautiful, and even the weather cooperated. I was a little dismayed to be hit over the head with the Jesus stick so many times, wondering for a second if I hadn't wondered into an old-time tent revival, but then I saw you all in white and I was okay. Maybe it's sour grapes at my own lost opportunity - just think of how much Amway* product I could have sold at my own wedding had I only had your presence of mind and willingness to take advantage of a captive audience. I admire the courage of your convictions.

The only crumb in my butter was your free-wheeling interpretations of the Ten Commandments, specifically number five. "Honour thy father and mother" it says. Pretty clear, pretty open-ended. However, you chose a very specific interpretation of this verse. If I may paraphrase your interpretation, drawn from your actions over the last year or so, you understand this verse to mean "Honour the guy your mother is currently married to now, and honour your mother, but treat the guy who gave you life and who is your true father like gum you can't quite scrape off your shoe."

I know, dear, that you were carefully molded into this attitude by that paragon of Christianity herself, your mother. She's so obviously holier than us all... I know she is, because she told us so. Because, you know, spite and rancour are very Christian virtues. I especially like how she takes particular delight in savaging the vulnerable underbelly of her ex-husband, which is to say, deliberately impeding and damaging the relationship between him and his children. Jesus would surely approve, cause he's into that whole scene. And I loved how you took a stand and did the right thing at your wedding, which is to say, ignored your father completely. I think you should have had a single line in the program, just after the "parents of the bride" line, saying "sperm donor for the bride", to explain away his embarrassing presence. I think he may have made some of the other guests uncomfortable... "Why did he show up???!"

But that's neither here nor there.

Another thing I love about you, Julie dear, is the fact that you are just young enough to know it all and self-centered enough to think that your actions don't have any consequences. One day in the future something will happen, you'll take a long hard look at your past, and you will realize the pain you inflicted. You will wear the guilt for your actions like a hair shirt, and God help you if your daddy is dead** before you realize just how big you fucked up, because trying to beg forgiveness of a dead man is really tricky.

Your father, who your mother says is going to hell 'cause he doesn't meet her specs, the humble, gentle man whose heart you broke (or rather, break) repeatedly, is a better person than anyone else in your life because he has forgiven you already. Without you asking, without you even knowing what you've done, you have been completely absolved of wrongdoing in his eyes.

I, however, am not that charitable. Don't darken our doorstep until you have sought his forgiveness, because I carry all the anger and pain that he seems to have let go already, and I am mightily pissed off on his behalf.

*I don't sell Amway. I'm so not into pushing products, ideas, or religion onto my unsuspecting friends, neighbors and family.

** Your Daddy is currently in excellent health, but you never know how much time you have to make things right.

(She may never read this, but boy, does it make me feel better to air it out.)


~V said...

*gasp* OMG! :(

(if I'm interpreting this right)

kate said...

Whoa - must have been quite the wedding!

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

Obviously this girl is young and not mature enough to come to her own conclusions about people. But then, years of brain washing can do that to a person.

GW said...

This is so true, so right. And I might add, so well-written.

Thank you for posting it - it makes me feel a little better about our own situation. I feel like forwarding it to my own step-daughters. I won't. But I feel like it.

Susan said...

Kate... I was so mad at how she treated him, I almost didn't go to the wedding. However, I realized I needed to be there for DH's sake, not hers. It may be completely childish of me but I refused to shake hands with the mother of the bride when she came over for her dues. Damned if she was going to get my approval on her actions.

Five Ferns... exactly. And I know she'll get there some day, but until she does, the damage just adds up.

GW... Thank you for your comments, and I'm glad, not that you're in a similar situation, but to learn that we are not in this alone.