Because my mother never remarried after her 1959 divorce, I have a lifetime of stories to tell about how she comported herself as a single woman at my most important life events. Elementary school and high school graduations are long since forgotten. College commencement was more memorable. It was the first time in 15 years that my parents broke bread together. Dad’s third wife (the one after my mother), ever the good-will ambassador, politely positioned herself between them as a buffer. It went well.
My wedding day was another story.
My parents walked me part way down the aisle together, and continued on without me. Dad reached for Pearl’s arm, like the gentleman he was, but she flicked him away. This gesture is imprinted not only in my mind, but it’s recorded for posterity on our wedding video. That was Pearl. There never will be anyone quite like her ever again.
This is the time of year when divorced people reflect on how it will be for their children at graduation. Will the mother and father be able to sit together and enjoy the moment as a re-united family or will it be tense as it was when they lived under the same roof?
Weddings can be even more trying as you think of who to invite, make a seating plan, and coordinate who pays for what. Then there’s the ceremony itself fraught with emotion. Will your child’s marriage be happier than yours?
To tell the truth, none of this harmed my psyche. The most important seeds are planted in the early days and months of a child’s life. If love is in the air, that’s what counts. In the end, kids are better off with parents loving them separately than with parents who can’t get along together.
Congratulations to all the graduates and brides and grooms! May your days be filled with happiness!
P.S. If your wedding attire should call for tuxedos as opposed to our morning suit (pictured here), this is an interesting article on cummerbund etiquette.