Several weeks ago, a good friend whose wedding is now just a few days away, IMed me with one of those frantic bridal emergencies that makes other women instinctively pull away from whatever they are doing, create floor plans and outlines, and jump into action is if we are also swathed in tulle and must perform this one emergency act of craftiness or untangle a logistical operation before the cue to walk down the aisle blares in...3...2...You've been there, right?
Tying bows and folding programs and finding a paper store that carries PEACOCK not TEAL-colored cardstock. Holding up a dress while the most delicate and beautiful creature to ever appear in a bubble of perfect cream satin tries to pee without spraying her own dress. Cutting up 400 limes for a color-coordinated bridal shower punch.
Counting wee bottles of bubbles and calling the caterer one more time just to be sure that there will absolutely, positively, for the LOVE of Martha Stewart's Living 17th wedding issue, not be circle mirrors under the single stem of hydrangeas in vases brought from someone's aunt in Florence, Italy just for the evening.
Yes, we've all been there. To her credit, my friend is not that kind of bride. At least, not that I have seen. And since I've spent a few fun evenings laughing and drinking wine and helping her with favors with a few of our other friends, I choose to think she's pretty damn together and centered and ready for this big day of hers. I'm kind of in awe. My own days of wielding a clipboard I might die if I lost before Widor's Toccata began playing, of creating an agenda of the wedding week that was down to the minute, of nearly bursting into tears when I saw circle mirrors on the tables at my own reception despite all my efforts to prevent their placement, were not so long ago that I've forgotten the stresses in the weeks before one makes a sacred union to another person in front of God and their family and all their dad's coworkers they've never before met.
Comparing who I was in those final days of single ladyness and who she has been -- well, I recognize a great deal of Zen in her I do not recall feeling or being or even caring about back then.
The IM she sent was a brief moment of stress in finding the right hairstyle only hours before her practice appointment at the salon. She has special circumstances.
My friend's wedding will combine cultures and she will be wearing a tikka that will be removed and replaced several times throughout the ceremony. There was her groom's opinion to consider and her own ideas about how to do her hair and...oh, you know how things like hair can get all tangled up in opinions and precise systemization of a ceremony.
I, as I have been programmed to do by carrying the genetics of generations of women who have screamed aloud or wept or both whilst creating a seating chart, clicked off of the post I was writing and asked if I could help. I am honestly not sure how or even if she answered. I'm not sure that little detail matters. I was already too busy hunting for hairstyles for my friend. My friend, the roll-with-it, open-minded, calm friend NEEDED MY IMMEDIATE INVOLVEMENT.
Of course, she didn't. But the primal urge was pulling me toward the website that I swore made me more efficient and knowledgeable as a bride and I was sure would help us out of this crisis of the coif degree.
I logged on to TheKnot.com.
You're smiling, aren't you? And nodding? You recall spending one or seventeen hours a day obsessing over the photos of seven-tiered cakes and reading up on what the veil-length trends in Columbus, Ohio are, and maybe even calculating a modestly, completely unrealistic and understated wedding budget to pretend you'd stick to for a whole year? You dreamed of how sad you'd be to say farewell to the other to-bes you recognized by their bridal handles but how fun it would be to move on to the sister home-buying and baby and whatever-comes-next gazillion-dollar-a-day site, TheNest.com.
Not only did I go right back to the site like it was my nuptial planning kidnapper for nine months (OK, longer than that and let's just all understand that I could comfortably navigate the site well before I was engaged), I remembered my user name and password.
To be fair, I'm not that creative about user names and passwords (be kind and hold off on hacking into my online banking account until the story's over, OK?) and so it wasn't too much trouble to work my way back into the magical online land of customized champagne flutes and debates over name changes.
A few false starts and there I was. The soft veil of candlelight and sugared almonds and matching pastel flip-flops and Sister Sledge's "We Are a Family" enveloped me. I felt as if I'd been welcomed back home to the loving embrace of wedding planning and upon the altar of these interwebs was sitting my barely battered binder with the plastic inserts containing every single detail and all the dreams of a girl who dressed up as a bride for three Halloweens in a row. I exhaled.
But before I could really breathe in all of the wonderful weddingness of it all, before I could search on half-up-dos for my friend (remember her? in hair crisis?), I caught site of the banner flashing across the bottom of the screen.
Whoah. That halted me.
And then I started to laugh. Hard. It seems like a lot, 2,782 days. Doesn't it? In fact, it seems like a lifetime ago. But do you know what's really funny? What I'd love to tell the good ladies over at TheKnot.com?
How many days it's been since my divorce.
Then, darlings, friends, kittens, lovers and possibly a few bridesmaids who stood held me up when I walked down the aisle in the church and out of the door at the courtroom, we'd really be adding up the moments of bliss.