When Simon woke up from his nap screaming for me yesterday, the clock read 3:30 pm.
She’s getting ready to walk down the aisle, I thought.
As I held my distraught and squirming son, I pictured her in the white dress she texted me a picture of, her face beaming as she reached the chuppah where her partner was waiting to take his vows with her.
Once Simon settled and began nursing, I let my imagination wander back to Ohio where the glass was probably breaking underfoot to rousing cheers of “Mazel Tov!” I thought about her guests and the meticulous planning I knew she had done to make the day a reflection of her spirit and her impeccable taste. I had never seen a more delicate and lovely wedding invitation– it was printed in calligraphy on a soft cloth framed with lace.
The second I opened it weeks ago I told Jeff I was going no matter what. I knew our August was jammed and logistics would be hairy. I ignored the limitations and pretended having 2 small kids and a husband who travels was not going to be an insurmountable obstacle.
I wanted to see her get married. She was a trusted friend when we worked in BigLaw together– our closed-door conversations probably saved my job and life more than once. I thought about the toast I would have given her– witty references to Thanksgiving weekend 2005, the guys we both dated from our on-line dating adventures, and our favorite spin bikes at the health club. I would have raised my glass to say that I love the miracle that her life has become and truly always was. I would have said thank you for all she had done for me by climbing ever onward toward her recovery, her health, and her highest self. I would have ended on a tasteful, Kahlil Gibran-ish note that everyone could access and appreciate.
Back in Chicago, I watched the clock after dinner.
I bet they are dancing the hora right now.
This morning, I walked on the rain-slicked sidewalk thinking about her first day as Mrs. M. L. I smiled under my jacket’s hood as I listened to Patti Griffin with a sad heart.
I hate that I can’t do everything. I hate that I missed her wedding. I hate that I have limited energy, resources and time. I actually hate that people move away, but that seemed a little dramatic for this rainy Monday morning.
I talked to a mutual friend who went to the wedding. “It was magnificent,” she gushed, and I know her giddy descriptions couldn’t say it all, but still I wanted to hear every detail.
This feeling of being pulled in lots of directions is not new– it’s actually quite old. What’s new is accepting it and recognizing that my limitations don’t diminish my love for the people to whom I have to say, “no.” In fact, it only strengthens it, because I have shown up honestly and admitted that I cannot do it all, even though I want to.
And I really, really want to.
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Have you had to say no to something you really wanted to do? How do you handle limitations on your time, energy, resources? Are you getting better at this, or is it as hard as ever?