The Day Before the Big Day

I lay there in my sister’s king sized bed, the bed she normally shared with her husband, wide awake.

It was the night before my wedding; I was spending the night at my sister’s house and getting ready there in the morning.   R was at my condo with Zach and my father, and would get ready with them both there.  If I squinted my glasses needing eyes just a bit, I could make out the enormous shape of my wedding gown hanging from my sister’s curtain rod across the room.   It was sheathed in plastic, beautiful I knew though I couldn’t make out the specifics of it in the barely lit darkness.

Everything was ready.  I’d taken off of work on Friday to run all of the myriad of errands that needed to be attended to the day before one’s wedding.  I went to the hall and gave them the final count; I picked up my gown; I checked in with the DJ, the florist and the photographer.  And of course, we’d had our wedding rehearsal and the subsequent dinner afterwards.   It was a loud, rowdy affair that we’d invited nearly everyone who came in from out of town to, in addition to the wedding party, R’s parents and my father.  I couldn’t even believe that it was all actually happening.  Three years ago I’d felt like I was in a tunnel with no hope of ever finding a path towards what I considered a normal life:  husband, house, job, kids.  Now, here I was.  On the precipice of all of it.

I knew why I was not able to sleep; I was a worrier.  And I was able to manufacture plenty to worry about, despite having planned every detail carefully.

I was worried about our third song.  The first song, R’s and my dance, would be to a country song that R chose, “I Can Love You Like That”.   The second song, for my father and I, was “This is the Moment”, a song we both loved from the musical, “Jekyll and Hyde”.  The third song I had chosen, for all of the wedding party to join R and I, was supposed to be Celine Dion’s “The Way You Loved Me”.  But I hadn’t been specific in saying which Celine song; I assumed he’d choose the song most recently popular.  But as I lay there, a nagging thought hit me that he might instead choose her other big hit, “The Power of Love”.  I was nearly sure the whole evening would be ruined if the wrong assumption was made and the wrong song was played.

I worried about the priest and what he would say during his homily.  We’d attended a few pre wedding meetings with the priest at our church, but I’d never felt a connection with this one of the three men who officiated at our church.   Was he going to say anything about me being a single mother?  Or how “kind” it was of R to take in damaged goods?  I was sure he wouldn’t put it like that, but still.  What if?

I wondered how I would get through the sign of peace.  I refused to let myself think too much about my mother’s absence on this so important day, but during the sign of peace, we’d arranged to give single red roses to the mothers; this had been done during my sister’s wedding as well.  Except my mother wouldn’t be there, so after we gave one to R’s mother, we’d be giving one to my grandmother.  I was sure she would be so proud and honored and touched; and I told myself to focus on that rather than who I wasn’t giving the rose to.

I wondered how fat I would look in my dress, if my roots would show, if Zach would be upset or excited, what R’s extended family would think of me, if my own extended family would think the treks they all made was worth the event we were putting together. I worried that my coworkers from school would be offended at the lack of diversity in the guest list.   Had I been specific enough on the maps to the church and the reception?  I worried about the cake, the flowers, the weather.  What if it snowed?  What if the flowers looked cheesy? What if, what if, what if?

All of the mundane details crowded out the bigger things I could have been thinking about; the weddings I had envisioned for myself with other people in years past; the pace and speed at which R and I had decided to join our lives, the nagging red flagged worries I had about R and some of his more rigid personality traits, my missing mother, whether or not I’d chosen the right person to help me parent my child, the lack of plans R and I had for the next few years.  But none of those thoughts floated in as I tossed and turned and marveled at how soundly the rest of the house was sleeping.

Finally, as the red digital clock turned a number starting with a four, I drifted off.   When I woke, it would be my wedding day.  The happiest day of my life, I reminded myself, as I felt the edges of consciousness finally slip away.


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