On October 13th, 2012, my mother got married.
In every single way, this wedding was anything but traditional. The irony that shrouded who she was marrying. The resentment that I was holding onto as the maid of honor. The ceremony and reception’s extremely laid back precessions. To be honest, I was not excited for this day at all. In fact- as much as it pains me to say now- I didn’t even want to go.
To really understand this story, let’s start at the beginning…
I had grown up in Palmer, Massachusetts in a two-story house that was transformed into two apartments. We lived on the first floor. (The second story was occupied by another set of Trudells: my aunt, uncle, and cousin.) The house was on sort of a grid that favored a block system; each road came down, wrapped around to another and went back up to Main Street only to wrap around again in a series of connected squares lined with houses. The centers of these squares were backyards that sat adjacent to one another.
Our backyard was separated from another by a busted chain-link fence. Our backyard had a sand box that all the neighborhood cats used as a litter box and a wooden clothes-line that my father had built. It didn’t have very much grass, mostly dirt, but honestly, I can’t recall ever paying that any attention.
My backyard had something else, too. Observers.
I was five years old when we first moved into that house on Orchard Street. I was also five years old when my eyes first met the eyes of three other youngsters. In the backyard that was directly reversed from mine, three kids- all about the same age as my brother and I- played.
For months, the five of us did nothing but stare at each other. My brother and I would be digging up cat shit in the sand box and glance over to see them swinging on their swing set, returning our awkward sideways peeps. For months, this is how our lives weaved together, by watching each other, but never uttering a word.
I’m not sure when we actually first started talking or who the first one was that made the move from audience to supporting players. My parents probably have some story about it, but I do not have it in my own memory to share at this point in my life. However, at some point, the five of us began building cat shit sand castles together… and at the same time, both sets of parents began to build friendships as well.
Over the next few years, my brother Jake and I would become very close friends with Jess, Chris, and Timmy, the three kids that lived next door. We played soccer with a basketball that was so worn all the orange had faded to the black underneath. We spent hours creating superheroes and then flying, shooting lasers, and stopping crime between our two backyards. We jammed spare keys that opened nothing except our imaginations into the handles of our bicycles and pretended that we had a fully functioning road system and lots of stuff we needed to speed around to. We built forts/space ships/bat mobiles out of just about everything: sheets, trees, garbage, snow, whatever our spongy minds could come up with. We shared secrets and talk about how we wished that we were all brothers and sisters. Really, we had a very good, quintessential childhood.
Eventually, their parents divorced and we moved away. The summer before I went into sixth grade, my family and I moved to Vermont to relocate for a job my mother had taken. The five of us- me, Jake, Jess, Chris, and Tim- kept our friendship alive with letters and phone calls and the fact that my mother was such good friends with their mother. They kept in touch so it was easier for five kids, who knew most nothing about the world except what they learned on Saved by the Bell, to remain friends despite the fact that we were so far apart. A few years into living in Vermont, my parents would eventually split up, too.
Cut to adulthood and I’m still good friends with all three of them, especially Jessica, who I consider one of my bests. We still make trips back to Massachusetts to see them and vice versa and talk various ways electronically: texts, Facebook, phone calls.
It is my longest friends’ father who my mother ended up marrying.
Its the kind of thing parents would gossip about in between how many science teachers the elementary school has gone through and what was said at the last PTA meeting. Its the kind of thing my mother probably had a hard time breaking to my little bro and me. My mom had basically lost touch with Jess’s mom and Facebook reunited her with Jess’s dad and rekindled a friendship that turned into a marriage. Boom. (It would seem that I get my magnetic attraction towards the complicated from my mother…)
(Just to really shake the whole thing up and add the spice that I seem to love so much called complication, let’s add the fact that I dated Tim for a month or so right before I began dating Mike. A brief, fleeting relationship that ended in him cleaning out my bank account, eating everything in my fridge, and leaving me no toilet paper or shampoo. It didn’t end smoothly, but we’ve long since past that and I still consider him a great friend… and now also my brother.)
So it seems complicated, and at first, I let it be. But really, it’s not that complicated. My mom loves him. He loves my mom. Although the circumstances seem unlikely and at first it was hard to get a good handle on, it’s pretty obvious it’s not complicated at all.
However, the relationship between my mother and me is complicated. Not too many months prior to the announcement of their marriage commitment and my mother’s request for me to be the maid of honor, I had found out by some investigative measures and a phone call from a debt collector that my mother had been using my social security number for her own shit- utility bills and the like- and then hadn’t paid those bills. This was the last straw on an avalanche of other negative feelings I was harboring against my mother, and it was a big one. Needless to say, I was bitter, resentful, pushed to the brink of frustration in regards to our relationship.
I’m a very passive person when it comes to confrontation. Most people are shocked about that, but I don’t like fighting, arguing, or any variance, and prefer just to walk away. For the most part, this is a beneficial response. However, in terms of one’s mother, there is a lot of underlying factors that only make the hole deeper. I considered calling her and telling her to find a different maid of honor. I was told by everyone close to me I had to talk to her before the wedding or else- true to Becki style- I would end up drinking too much and mid-wedding decide that the best time to sloppily and barely coherently express my feelings was in the middle of the reception with an audience of all our friends and family, right before I puked all over my cleavage and passed out in the middle of a field.
To top that off, I was embarrassed of the choices she was making for her wedding. It felt like she was planning a redneck barbeque for a 14 year old rather than a, um, wedding. Each decision I saw her making by way of status update (because I wasn’t talking to her) caused me to involuntarily roll my eyes and dread her wedding day like I might a root canal. I was completely and utterly ashamed, which now I am ashamed to even say, but it was the truth.
Leave it to the Dalai Lama to sort of change my approach. The morning of the wedding, as told in the last blog, I attended a speech given by him that definitely made it obvious, in this regard I was being selfish. Did I have a right to be upset with my mother? Yes. Did I have a right to ignore the issue and rather stomp around secretly until I left it up to whiskey to express my feelings? Yeah, if I was a five year old alcoholic. Did I have any right whatsoever to criticize a single decision she made for her wedding? No. Not in the slightest, and the fact that I was at all was pompous and self-serving and is more embarrassing than any unconventional idea she could come up with for her wedding.
The wedding was set up with a baseball theme. Our family being Yankees fans and their family being Red Sox fans. As members of the wedding party, we were instructed to wear jerseys representing the team that our family supported. Probably the most casual wedding I have ever attended, no dress code, buffet style eating, a bunch of quirky characters that I call family, made this wedding the sort of event people remember.
And I must say, I had the greatest time. It was the happiest wedding I have ever attended, which made it one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever attended.
Here’s the kicker, my mom’s eccentric choices for her big day are also proof that I’m more like her than I’d admit. Because I’ve always held the notion that I would do something entirely off-beat for my wedding day, too. Maybe not baseball themed, but something.
My mom is married. I have great new friends and family. The wedding showcased everything that a wedding is supposed to. And my mom and I now talk a few times a week, without me feeling bitter. I’ve forgiven her mostly, which has had just as many beneficial effects for me personally as it has for our relationship. Fact is, she’s my mother and I love her.
And if you take nothing else from this blog post, just be aware… Red sox and Yankees fans can coexist.