My daughter was a Covid-bride. She and her fiancé cancelled their September 2020 wedding due to uncertainty about the pandemic. In accordance with CDC guidelines, my daughter and her fiancé would be married before an unknown judge and witness wearing medical masks at city hall in downtown Chicago.
The picture I’d held in my mind of my daughter walking down the aisle on her wedding day surrounded by family and friends faded from view. A civil ceremony followed by toasts at a rooftop restaurant with only a few masked guests wasn’t the vision I had for my little girl’s wedding.
This practical mother-of-the-bride secretly began lamenting a fairy tale wedding complete with an orchestra playing Pachelbel’s Canon in D and white doves released the moment my daughter said, “I do.”
I don’t know what got into me, but I was a tad difficult – a real MOB. I credit the bride’s younger brother for snapping me out of it by offering sage millennial advice like, “It’s not your wedding, Mom.”
Yesterday my beautiful daughter married the love of her life, a wonderful man whom I adore. Their wedding day is over, and it was simply perfect.
Let me wipe away my tears of joy and share five lessons in simplicity I learned from the experience.
1. Accept What Is – As much as I wished a pandemic didn’t upend my daughter’s wedding plans, it did. The Stoics embrace the idea of Amor Fati, or love of fate. Epictetus said, “Do not seek to have events happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do happen, and all will be well with you.”
2. Relinquish Control – I admit I’m a control freak. In my mind, I’m only trying to help. The problem is it undermines others’ abilities and shows a lack of trust. My daughter’s wedding day was absolutely lovely without me pulling all the strings. Pandemics remind us how foolish it is to believe we are ever really in control.
3. Manage Emotions – There’s a reason people cry at weddings – it’s freaking emotional. Milestones in our lives, and that of our children, bring out all the feels. When emotions are surging, remember to take a deep breath and make sure you’re not over-reacting to a fleeting feeling.
4. Banish Comparisons – Thanks to social media, Pinterest, reality wedding shows, bridal magazines and a slew of Hallmark movies, there’s no shortage of ideas about the perfect wedding. Actually, doesn’t that apply to just about everything in life these days? As Theodore Roosevelt wisely warned, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
5. Remember What’s Important – There are few people the pandemic hasn’t affected – some much more than others. Yet in many ways, it’s reminded us what’s really important. Health, not wealth. People, not things. The marriage, not the wedding. Sometimes we need to step back, see the big picture, and ask ourselves what truly matters.
From this day forward, do I vow to remember the lessons I learned from my daughter’s wedding? I do. §