My Special, Special Day by
(26 Stories)

Prompted By Weddings

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This line from the TV show Bridezillas, was a mocking taunt from a wedding planner about her insufferable client, a bride of the selfie generation, who has the attitude that for one day (not to mention the many months run-up to it) she gets to have anything and everything revolve around her. You go, girl.

Princess Di, I can relate.

My girlfriend and I repeat it to each other as shorthand for cluelessness. But I’m just jealous. I wish I‘d had the maturity when I got married (young and still in college) to demand that the day be about me, but I have no idea what that would have looked like then.

I fell in love with my high school sweetheart, and we just celebrated our 43rd anniversary, more in love now than ever. I know, what a cliché. But in 1973, in certain places, getting hitched was still more about the families than the happy couple. And I was not the right choice for my in-laws—not the right religion and not of their social circle.

I get it now. I might have felt the same way if I’d been in their position. They’d raised their firstborn to be a certain person and live a certain life and I was a threat to that. He was just blinded, they thought, by my awesome breasts—I believe the word hussy was used out of my hearing. Maybe if they expressed their disapproval emphatically enough he’d come to his senses. But we had just been through the ‘60s and had absolutely nothing in common with their worldview. Ours was the textbook definition of a generation gap, one we were never able to bridge.

We moved away, in every way possible. But even with time, distance, and much for them to be proud of (especially in contrast with others in the family), we were never able to mend the rift.

I still feel cheated out of my fairytale wedding day. A parade of nieces and nephews has had gloriously happy events, but this history makes it hard for me to kvell. Maybe on our 50th we’ll do it again. Bets, will you please sing at it this time?

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Patricia is a co-founder of Retrospect, and generally can be found two standard deviations from the mean on most issues. Lover of chef's tasting menus, cute shoes, and the music of Brahms.

Characterizations: been there, funny, moving, well written


  1. Suzy says:

    Wow, this is powerful, and sad. I wrote in my story that I would have felt cheated if I hadn’t had a white wedding (aka fairytale wedding), and now I see that you do feel that way. At least your marriage has worked out well, “more in love now than ever.” That’s pretty rare, and special. I think you SHOULD have a fairytale day for your 50th!

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    I would love to sing this time, Patti! Happy to tell you that my London (Catholic) cousin (I wrote about him, or more precisely, his father and mother, in the essay “Cousin Alan”, has asked me to do a reading at his wedding this Labor Day weekend). Singing the Brahms German Requiem next term in chorus…many of my themes are coming back. IF WE ONLY HAVE LOVE! Thanks for making my Juliet cap, girlfriend! You remain so precious to me. And yeah, your breasts are as awesome as you are!

  3. Oh hell we’ll all sing, loud and proud.

    I’ve had two special days, the first more about my family (I was the first cousin of 18 to get hitched, some of those cousins not even born yet) and the second more about my new mother-in-law (and her relief that her eldest was finally giving her a reason to party!) — part of me thinks that’s just what weddings are — community & family events — not really about the bride and groom — about laws and property and who sits where and way too much money and other nonsense. But the ceremony, the ritual — the attention — the love — we want that, don’t we??

  4. Colleen says:

    Family disapproval is very difficult! And dealing with it gracefully is even more difficult. Kudos to you for following your hearts and having confidence in your love for each other!

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