This morning I am heading out to meet three women friends for a day of lunch and shopping. And not just any shopping, either! We are going to pick out material for a wedding dress!
I am so pleased and touched to have been asked to go along on this trip. The bride-to-be is my young colleague and fellow fifth grade teacher. She is smart, funny, sweet, caring, beautiful and dynamic. I love working with her because she is a generous friend who shares her good ideas and innovative lesson plans. I fear that I rely a bit too much on her organizational skills and her incredible ability to plan ahead, both of which are areas of weakness for me, to say the least!
But I also love having her in my life because in her youth and inexperience, she sometimes comes to me for life advice or support when she needs a sounding board. The past three years of our friendship have been rich and rewarding, but I have had to be careful not to jump in and treat her like a child. I am usually aware of holding my “Mamma Bear” self in check.
And here is the irony. Today’s little group of shoppers will include the bride, me, the dressmaker (a woman from school who is just a bit older than me), and the bride’s much loved future mother-in-law, fondly referred to herself as “Mamma Bear”. There are no other twenty somethings along on this trip, to my knowledge. And I wonder why.
Perhaps it is the shaky nature of the bride’s relationship to her own mother that causes her to reach out to the elders of the village. Maybe it is her sensitivity and awareness of her important role in our lives, and our desire to be a part of this life experience with her. She might find it amusing to picture all of the older ladies in her life meeting each other and chatting over a salad. I can picture the conversations later, as she recounts the day to her friends (who include my own daughter!)
I don’t know if this is what they mean by “the Circle of Life”, but I feel like I am about to take part in an ancient ritual. The matrons surrounding the young bride, celebrating her entry into the world of adulthood. (She would HATE that description!!) I know less than nothing about material, dresses, fashion or bridal styles. But I know that my job today is to show my joy for my friend, to share my deep and real hopes for her future happiness, and my pleasure at being included in the excursion.
There really are some perks to this getting older thing!