If you don’t understand that title, you likely weren’t born in the 80s and/or have never seen The Little Mermaid (because if you were born in the 80s, you should be able to quote The Little Mermaid).
Just a few days ago I received a lovely envelope in the mail, which contained an invitation for the wedding of my brother to his wonderful fiance, Mandy. Every time I have moved, either out of state or out of country, something momentous had preceded just before my departure.
Just before I was transferred to Seattle, my cousin Kaitlyn gave birth to her first daughter. Kaitlyn lived two houses down from my old place in Newport Beach, and had the transfer to Seattle not been imminent, I would have been able to become the Auntie Jenn who was omnipresent in little Kylah’s life as a toddler. Instead, I became the Auntie Jenn who took several hours to warm up to, because I was a stranger. This was a sentiment I still remember feeling whenever my Uncles/Aunts from Philadelphia would come visit our family (sorry!), and though I knew I was making a good choice for me, it was hard to know that this was the cost of the choice.
So when my brother called me up one morning as I was mentally prepping for my big move to Sydney a month later and told me he was getting ready to pop the question, my eyes inexplicably filled with tears for several reasons, despite being adamantly opposed to public crying:
- I love my brother almost too much, and proposing to his girlfriend meant he was ridiculously happy, which made me ridiculously happy and consequently ridiculously weepy
- They were getting engaged just before I pulled up stakes and moved almost as far away as possible, which meant no engagement party, no bridal shower, and no wedding dress fittings to participate in for my only brother’s bride-to-be
- I wasn’t going to be able to be one of the first to offer my congratulations at their post-proposal brunch
- I was going to miss everything except the wedding itself
Getting hit with this power-punch of conflicting thoughts and realizations at the same usually results in something simple, like tears. I just wanted to be involved in this momentous occasion within my family – the first of the Brown siblings biting the dust to the old ball-and-chain. But I had taken myself out of the running. Being asked to be a bridesmaid at my going-away party was bittersweet (more sweet than bitter, but you get my drift). I was elated to be able to stand up for my brother and the gorgeous woman he chose, but also knew I was going to be the most absentee bridesmaid in the history of bridesmaid-ism.
So as I perused their wedding website and read (for the first time) the story of how they got together, I got a little weepy again. This time for a few different reasons:
- My brother and his fiance are ridiculously happy, which makes me ridiculously happy and consequently ridiculously weepy
- My brother and his fiance are so well-matched it makes me despair and hope in equal measure at the same time
- I have been insanely homesick for my family the last few weeks (mostly due to those same things that I cannot change and the impending holidays)
- I was halfway through my
secondthird glass of wine
This weird mixture of happy and sad at the same time is bewildering and a little disorienting. Add in the weird fits of tears and I’m definitely out of my emotional element. But a deep breath and a good snuggle from a little dog are usually steadying enough to pull me from one day to the next, and I try to focus on the beautiful days, camaraderie with new friends and coworkers, and the fact that life has to be sad sometimes so you can appreciate when it’s happy. And come July, we’re going to have one hell of a party.