Something Old, Something New

My coming wedding wakes this dormant sentimentalism in me.

That is, I am normally a fairly sentimental person, more F than T, crying at the movies, that sort of thing. But there are some things I don’t normally go in for when it comes to the sap-factor.

In my head, there are different kinds of family. There’s the blood family, the ones who can let you down or lift you up, depending on what they feel like that day. We often have ridiculous expectations of them, forgetting that they are individuals with lives of their own. And there’s pack, that small group of spiritually connected people who don’t have to exercise conscious thought to know that they will always do what is in the best interest of their fellow pack member. I’m blessed enough that one of my pack is actually officiating at our wedding, Thor’s hammer and all.

So it came as a little bit of a surprise to me when, during all this wedding planning, I decided to wear something of my mother’s on my wedding day.

I had a really tough time during my teenage years (and a little beyond them, to be honest) separating my expectations from my feelings about my mom and my sister. Somehow, we all got rather enmeshed. I was angry at them for not seeming to see me, a distinct and unique individual, while at the same time denying them the very thing I asked of them. Nowadays, if something happens that feels a little off between any of us, I’m better able to chalk it up to everyone’s little quirks, and how we don’t always fit neatly into the expectations people have of us. And it’s all okay.

Still, I’m big enough on being independent that I didn’t want to match any traditions in the family, didn’t want to wear someone else’s dress or veil or match the readings they had at their own wedding. Mostly I think our wedding will be very unique–I can guarantee that no one in the family has had a Pagan wedding, at least not since the Scots and Irish converted en masse to Christianity. But some small sentimental bone still exists in me, because when my mom lent me her wedding veil to see if I wanted anything from it, I actually took her up on it. I left the majority of the veil alone, but cut three little pearl strands that dangled from the ends. Nothing too fancy, just little bits of flair that spiced up her ensemble.

And last night, I made them into a bracelet that I will wear on my wedding day.

I’m not sure what I’ve learned from my parents’ marriage, what values they taught me, where my ideals come from. My sister and I are very different people–still basically good and kind, but very different. So it’s near impossible to pinpoint anything we have in common that we definitely got from our parents. Even when I think about how my parents have never gotten close to divorce in their 30 years of marriage, I don’t know that the way I approach my impending marriage is at all the same.

I suppose it would be safer to say that I learned about myself and how I wanted to approach my life from books. I don’t know the actual ratio, but it feels like I’ve lived ten times more experiences than those that have actually happened to me. I owe that to books, to the authors who have made me think, helped me shape myself into a strong individual.

And yet…some part of me wants to give a little nod of acknowledgment to that ephemeral something that must have been passed down from my parents. I can’t define it, or isolate it, but it’s there in some form. And maybe by wearing something that helped bless my parents’ marriage, a little of that positive energy will infuse itself into mine.

I'm a big fan of needle-nose pliers when it comes to jewelry making.

I’m a big fan of needle-nose pliers when it comes to jewelry making.

Nothing too fancy, simple gets the job done.

Nothing too fancy, simple gets the job done.

And with a few twists: a simple, elegant bracelet, made from something from my mom's veil.

And with a few twists: a simple, elegant bracelet, made from something from my mom’s veil.

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