‘I do’ déjà vu

I have to admit something. I’ve never been to a wedding.

I’ve never watched a white dress trail behind a bride as she glides down the aisle or sways to the first dance. I’ve never seen flower petals tossed by little girls kiss the edges of the pews and gold rings, carried by young boys, slipped onto fingers. I’ve never tasted a fancy wedding cake. I’ve never listened to two human beings commit themselves to one another in vows, in sickness and in health, in those almighty words: I do.

But soon enough, I will have done all of those things, and not just once but twice within one week. Nine days from now, I will be a bridesmaid in my mom’s wedding. Sixteen days from now, I will be a bridesmaid in my dad’s.

Talk about timing.

My parents got divorced when I was in third grade. My nine-year-old self was initially confused and distraught and in denial, as children of divorce tend to be, but that’s not to say the split was less than amicable.

I am lucky in that my parents are generally flexible and respectful towards one another.

But I don’t feel sorry for myself. In the least pessimistic way I can possibly put this, divorce is unfortunately pretty common in this millennium. Just ask Kim Kardashian, who was only joined in holy matrimony to Kris Humphries for a whopping 72 days of 2011.

Over the past eight years, the dream of my parents reuniting on a white cloud to the sound of angels singing has evaporated. It happened so long ago that packing a bag to bring to my dad’s house every Wednesday and every other weekend is second nature, despite the fact that I always seem to forget my sneakers or my face wash.

In the least trite way I can possibly put this, I want my parents to be happy, and thus, I am their number-one supporter when it comes to their relationships with their fiancés.

This spring is, for a lack of more creative words, busy. People aren’t exaggerating when they say junior year is hard. It is.

From the college search to an entire alphabet of exams and standardized tests to everything else that we Greenwich students have written about in these columns all year, it is easy to get overwhelmed with our jam-packed schedules, especially in the final stretch. Everything is actually happening now, and we are so close, we can practically taste the summer in the air.

Therefore the intensity level is already up to high. And when you add both of your parents’ weddings, bridal showers, dress fittings and rehearsal dinners, it means there’s a lot cutting into study time. I have had to reschedule a final exam just to be able to spend three hours at one of these dinners. My life is currently, like many of my fellow juniors, a jumble of emotional stress, academic pressure and major life events all whirring about in a hormone-coated mixing bowl, the beaters picking up speed with every day that ticks away.

So let’s ratchet up that intensity level to very high.

But in the end, I have a feeling that mixture is going to bake something delicious. The end of May will taste sweeter than sugar.

I don’t want to take the month for granted, however. After venting about my AP woes, my history teacher made a fine point to me. He asked me what I would remember more in 10 years, my parents’ weddings or my AP exams. The answer is obvious.

In 10 years, I will remember the trailing white dresses, the flower petals, the rings, the cakes, the vows. I am committed to my classes, but I am committed to my family, too.

Life is a balancing act, and when asked if I think I’m balancing it well, I want to be able to say, “Yes. I do.”


Jane Gerstner is a junior at Convent of the Sacred Heart. 

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