A few weeks ago I went to a wedding, and at the last minute, my husband and I decided that I would take Liv, our 5 year old daughter, as my date instead of him. He had a cold and was in the sore throat stage, and had to preach that Sunday morning. So an outdoor wedding during a cold snap wasn't a great idea for him. But it was perfect for Liv and me.
I'd actually thought about taking her from the beginning. The bride has been a friend of mine since before Liv was born, and she's loved my kids like crazy. Especially Liv. So it was fun that this wedding was Liv's first. Especially because she's in that phase where brides are like real life princesses.
We had to go shopping for her before the wedding, and picked out a full outfit - dress, shirt, tights, and her "Honey Badger" shoes. She found them on her own, and when I asked where she heard about honey badger, she said, "Oh, the honey badger was on Wild Kratts this morning." Thanks, PBS and not YouTube.
We arrived at the venue and Liv wanted to sit down right away, even though no one else was. Eventually she explained that she wanted to hear the sound her new shoes made on the little foot bridge we had to cross to get to the benches set out on the hill. We walked over and she tested the noise by running sprints back and forth. Naturally.
We sat down and I explained what would happen. First, the family would come sit down while music played. Then, the bridesmaids and groomsmen would come in. We knew several of them, so I pointed them out. Then, the music would change, and we'd all stand up and look for Katie, the bride. I told Liv to look at Katie but to be sure to look at her groom's face too.
Liv waved goofily at our bridesmaid friends as they walked by. Then she giggled quietly as Katie came into view.
During the ceremony I reminded her to be quiet, and explained when they praying, etc. The groom's father is a pastor and officiated the wedding - when he got a little teary-eyed, I told Liv that one day her dad might marry her. I squeezed her little body as we both considered how special would that be.
After the wedding she was excited about the hot chocolate and "the feast." I realized most of her wedding knowledge was based on Cinderella and My Little Pony. We ate southern favorites and got ready to dance.
It turns out, her idea of wedding dancing and my idea of wedding dancing were quite different. I love to dance. I was ready to bring it, and because most great dancing at weddings starts with one awesome kid breakin' it down, I felt like I'd brought the golden ticket. A great song came on and I scooped her up and headed for the dance floor.
I started dancing with her on my hip and my friends were high-fiving me for being the cool mom. Then I realized she had her hands over her ears - she wasn't enjoying this. We left the floor and she said the music was too loud and too bumpy. (I assured her there's no such thing.)
Liv thought we'd all be doing the Fox Trot and similar dances. So I made a point to take her out there during a slow song and hold our hands just like Cinderella and Prince Charming.
Later she got a little more into party dancing, but she didn't want to dance with me, she wanted to dance with the 20-something Young Life leader guys at the wedding. So I ended up standing off to the side, awkwardly tapping my toe and holding her scarf. THAT'S HOW MOMS END UP DOING THAT, GUYS.
I had great ideas about how the night would go, and although we had a great time, it didn't go the way I thought it would.
And that's okay.
As we continue doing this mother-daughter thing, we'll continue to work out our individual ideas of what our time together will look like. It won't always be as exciting as her first wedding; most days it'll be what's for breakfast and what she'll wear. I know some days it'll be ugly, but I also know that there will be plenty of times when we'll be able to listen to each other and work it out. I don't want to avoid things like this because I'm afraid it won't go well; I want our relationship to be real more than I want it to be exactly what I expect.
Now I'm off to teach her how to party dance.