Wedding Dress in the Closet

There are packages being delivered that we didn’t order. We have stocked the fridge and kitchen cabinets full. The house is cleaner than it’s been in a long time. There’s a wedding dress in the guest room closet.

It feels like it was just last week that we got the big news of the engagement. By this time next week it will all be over. This coming Saturday Sarah’s getting married.

It’s been a very busy year as we all try to get ready for this wedding. There was a budget to calculate and coordinate. A date and place had to be set. A guest list to be compiled. And so on, and so on.

I will admit, I’ve had my moments of insecurity during this wedding planning stage. It’s not my daughter getting married, so I wondered what my role should be as the stepmother. I googled and read. I listened and asked questions. Another confession: I have a jealous streak.  I sometimes felt left out of the discussion. I know it wasn’t intentional, and there was nothing for me to be jealous about. And so I tried to help and give advice where I could, hopefully without making myself look like someone who was trying too hard.

Over the last few months we have met with Sarah’s mother (Beth) and Beth’s husband (Dave) once or twice a month for “$2 burger night” at a local restaurant/bar. The goal was to use these dinner meetings for wedding planning and organizing. And yes, we did get a lot done and decided during these “meetings” but the real outcome was a little bigger than that.  Beth and Doug aren’t the same people they were years ago, when they were married and had three wonderful kids. Dave is a man with a wonderful sense of humor, a great guy, and he happens to be in almost the same position as I am: a newcomer in the family (although he’s been part of their lives longer than I have). As a result of spending all this time together, we became a group of friends spending time together. (We went to a concert together a few weeks ago. ) There are still moments when the conversation turns to stories of the kids growing up or of college days in West Virginia, when Dave and I can only listen and laugh. But then someone turns the conversation back to the present and we’re all in it together again.

I know I can over-sensitive and take things too personally. I’m sure I’m not the first step-mother to have gone through this, nor will I be the last. But with less than a week to go, I think I have learned a few things. I’ve learned to give people the benefit of the doubt. I’ve learned not to assume. If I have any advice to give other women in this position it would be this: don’t take it personally if you’re not copied in the hundreds of emails deciding which beer to serve. Just be thankful.

Sarah, I’m looking forward to sharing this day with you and Joe and the rest of the family. You will be a beautiful bride and I wish you and Joe much happiness.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Tina Schell says:

    What a lovely post!!! Your step-daughter and her dad are very lucky to have you and you them. One of the many benefits of a second marriage (mine is a great step-son, lovely daughter-in-law and fabulous granddaughter!). Your advice is perfect and the fact that you’ve become friends with the ex and her husband speaks to everyone’s commitment to being mature and taking care of Sarah for her big day. Good for all of you!

  2. indacampo says:

    Ah, Marissa, I have a friend here who is returning to the Estados Unidos in October for her partner’s daughter’s wedding. We’ve had discussions about dresses and where she fits with the whole thing. I know she is excited but pensive at the same time. Your voice and experience is something that I shall share with her. 🙂

  3. Kathy Othón says:

    would love to see pictures

    1. There are a few on the photographer’s FB page but we should get the rest on a DVD at some point. Look for Aaron Spicer Photography on Facebook.

  4. Things I am not looking forward to: wedding planning.

    Things I *am* looking forward to: grandchildren

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