2008.01.09 Heart on sleeve wedding attire

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

I dragged out our wedding photos the other night to show Rozee what kind of flower arrangements we had. Rozee is in the planning stages for her wedding in July and I couldn’t remember much of what we had done about flowers more than 25 years ago.

Oy! Not much! My poor mother-in-law! I recall Jackie guiding me through the flower business. If ever there was a totally oblivious bride I was surely it.

I’ve written before about my insistence on buying clothes for my wedding attire that I could wear again and again. Back in 1982 it seemed totally absurd to me to pay lots of money for a dress that I would never wear again.

But even I can’t help laughing now at the frilly lace and cotton white blouse and the bright purple cotton skirt I wore with white tights and lavender shoes.

My wedding protocol ignorance slid right over into the flower department. I don’t see any flowers decorating the church but Jackie made a valiant effort decorating the tables at the reception with little pots of violets adorned with purple ribbon. I had one blossom of some kind of white flower in my hair—which hung long in typical hippie style parted in the middle.

I carried some kind of little bouquet which as Rozee noted while looking at a photo of David and me holding hands at the altar, “If you’d had a bridesmaid, you wouldn’t have had to hold the bouquet while you were holding Dad’s hands.”

I have no memory of that being a problem. What I recalled most vividly after looking at another wedding photo, was how significant it felt to share the bouquet with our mothers. David and I plucked flowers from the bouquet and gave them to our mothers at some point during the service. The bouquet didn’t seem paltry or inadequate; it just seemed like a nice carrier for the flowers we gave to Jackie and my mom.

When I put away the wedding photos I found another treasure—a set of index cards with photos glued on one side and questions written on the other.

 I recognized it immediately as one of the ice breakers I once used to initiate discussion at the second in the series of four meetings (“Baby Arrives: The Family and the Breastfed Baby”) when I was a La Leche League leader.

Oy! My poor brother! He’s featured in one of the photos holding newly born Ben.  Not only did I make my brother Mark wear the disposable blue hospital gown David had worn during delivery, I outfitted him in rubber gloves and a dust mask. I seem to recall that Mark might have had a little cold when he came to visit. Ben didn’t seem to mind a bit; he’s nestled quite contentedly in Mark’s arms.

On the back of the photo of Mark decked out in gown, mask and gloves, is the question: What are some ways to handle friends and relatives visiting?

New mothers, let me tell you: not like that!

I feel like such a heel now when I look back at that photo. What kind of person was I? All I can say is, I must have been a very over-protective silly new mother.

But judging by this set of cards, I think I may have been a pretty good La Leche League leader. I’m quite impressed with myself regarding the quality of the cards which I had passed out, one for each of the women to look at and read the question aloud.

There are some great photos in this pack. Another card features a photo of me breastfeeding Ben and I’m wearing a Boy Scout hat and Groucho Marx nose and glasses—the kind with big bushy eyebrows and a mustache. The question on the back asks, “What should one wear while nursing a baby?”

Hmm, is this why Rozee and Maddie picked out and had me buy a swanky mother-of-the-bride dress way back in October? It’s OK, I promise to do a better job in all the next stages of life—and I’m especially ready for grandkids if only my kids would accommodate me.

Anything I should know about proper grandmother attire?

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