Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Are you Ready?
I once attended a wedding where the bride had a panic attack right as she was walking down the aisle. She froze, started shaking, and just kept saying "no, no, no." Unfortunately, this didn't happen until she was already in front of everyone, and her dad decided that the best thing he could do was pull/push her down the aisle until she walked on her own. I was nowhere near being engaged, but when I got home I told my dad about the bride who shook and sobbed her way down the aisle at the urging of her dad and told him, "Never do that to me!"
When I got engaged, my dad would check in with me every now and then about if I still wanted to get married. I would be hastily making paper flowers or coming home from a dress fitting, and he would sit beside me and ask, "Are you still feeling good about everything? This is still what you want? You still want to do it right now?"
My dad was so happy for me, and for Chris. He had given his blessing before Chris proposed, and he was thrilled to have Chris joining our family. But he understood that marriage was about so much more than just a party with all of your friends, and he wanted me to be free to change my mind or postpone such a big decision without feeling like I was letting everyone down. "Just say the word, and I'll take care of everything. Don't worry about money. I'll rent a storage unit and put everything in there until you're ready. If you change your mind at any point, even the day of, just say the word." That's a gift that every dad should give their daughter.
The night before my wedding, at the rehearsal, we were walking through the music cues for the ceremony. My dad and I were standing in the back behind the doors, waiting on the moment where the music would change and they would open. And he told me, "This is your moment. Don't worry about missing your cue...they can play this song as many times as they need to. These doors don't open until you're ready for them to open." He turned to the people who would be opening the doors the next day. "Make sure you don't open them until she says she's ready."
The day of my wedding, the song started, but the doors didn't open right away. Before they did-before they opened and I saw Christopher's face and I walked toward him to be his wife and join him on an adventure I never could have imagined, my dad asked me one last time. In a moment I will never forget, he turned to me-me, so nervous and excited and already crying a little bit-beaming with love and pride, and said, "Are you ready?"
Everyone says you should make a playlist for when you're in labor. Calm songs that make you happy, that take your mind off of everything. I was drinking coffee this morning while listening to my playlist-trying to will this baby out into the world-and the song my dad walked me down the aisle to came on.
Instantly, I was transported back to that moment. How Pachelbel's Canon in D played while the doors swung open and I took a walk with my dad. How I wore the prettiest dress and joined Christopher at the front of the church and promised to love him forever. How we joined together and decided there was no one else we would rather do life with. And how, before any of that, my dad asked me one last time: "Are you ready?"
The answer was yes, even though I had no idea what I was saying yes to. The answer has been yes ever since. And now, two days before baby Jack is due to make his way into the world, as the same song is playing from my phone, I find myself asking the same question: "Are you ready?"
I wish I could go back three years and see myself standing there with my dad. I'd give her a tissue (and maybe a shot of whiskey to calm her nerves) and when the question came, I'd whisper in her ear: "Yes, yes, the answer is yes. To the good and the bad-because they will both come-the answer is a resounding yes. To the adventures and the moving and the late nights and the dreams you will chase together...the answer is yes. To loving each other in sickness and in health and in times when Chris refuses to give you a straight answer about when he'll be home, the answer is yes. To trying to learn how to be a good wife and to ruining dinner at least twice a week, the answer is yes. And to the babe who will unexpectedly be growing inside of you three years from now....the answer is yes. Say yes. You have no idea how good it's going to be."
Yes. The answer is yes.