You know that really cool aunt, the one who actually listened to you when you felt you had something important to say and who was the one that convinced everyone that you were too old for the kids’ table?
Or the neighbor who told you to stop wearing so much makeup, not because you were 14, but because you were too pretty for that much eyeliner and then proceeded to give you a mini-makeover?
Or that friend’s mom who let you stay over even on a school night, who listened to your boy problems without judgment and who never once said “I told you that Jimmy was bad news,” when you broke up, even though she totally could have?
And just like those fabulous women in your younger years, it’d do you good to listen to her. (And stand up straight, sweetie.)
In olden days, the days even before I was born, (and there were some days before I was born) women had fires. Later they had wells. Later still, quilts.
These were places to talk, sometimes under one’s breath, about the wear and tear of being female. Or the joys, for that matter. I imagine there was a fair amount of laughing in those circles, some crying, and an enormous amount of useful information exchanged. And yes, I imagine the sassy one.
Then we moved onto farms. Into houses and apartments. Luckily the silent period was brief. Brief, but painful. Brief, but well-documented by Austen and Lessing and Atwood. Now we’re back in a time of talk. Mothers started talking first. Mothers sit in parks, on living room floors, on mommy blogs, talking.
The last taboo is marriage. The last thing you are not supposed to talk about is your marriage. Which starts at the wedding and continues. The only person you talk to, finally, is your best friend. And she tells you you are awesome, even if you’re not. She says it’ll be OK, even when it won’t. Because that’s her job.
We’ve lost the full cast of characters. Most of us have only one best friend to whom we tell it all. A Practical Wedding returns the chorus to its rightful place. Provides comfort, but also chiding when required. Sobbing on shoulders, but also arms folding in disagreement.
I believe this model leads to better decisions.
So, if I’m no longer making these decisions, if I’m on into the next phase, why do I care? Why do I care that you all have the place for this conversation? Because you make me cry. You make me rage. You make me sigh and feel that I am in fact old and wise. You make me hear and feel my own history again in a light I couldn’t see when I lived it. That is invaluable.
Carry on. Older women get a little sentimental, from time to time. But since we’ve been sitting here by the fire all this time, even if invisible, I figure you will scoot over.