Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bridal Shower

Yesterday was my birthday, and I felt melancholy here and there throughout the day. It was my first since Mom passed away. Every birthday after I left home, Mother and Daddy would call me early in the morning and sing to me--most often the first greeting of the day.

Today would have been my Mom and Dad's 65th wedding anniversary. I always felt special, being their "14th anniversary present."

Mother had a "bride's book," which in no way resembles what we now call a "Wedding Album." Or even what my daughter and daughter-in-law had as a "wedding planner." Two-inch binders with places for cards, ribbons, and other mementos. Mother's was the size of one of those black "composition books," only about a quarter as thick, probably thirty pages or so. It is wonderful because it is handwritten by her--her own memories of her wedding.

She had a wedding shower. I notice that now we have several of them: kitchen, linen, personal, couples...she had *one*. She made quite a haul, mostly with linens. Several sets of "luncheon cloth and napkins"--those fabulous 1940's sets that we snatch up at antique stores. "Embroidered tea towels." "Embroidered pillowslips." Don't I wish I had them now? But, naturally, they were given and received in order to be used, and used UP. (I do have one of a pair of guest towels that she embroidered in the first year of her marriage--so threadbare, but it still says GUEST, with a garland of flowers all around.)

When we buy these vintage linens, we always think about the women who made them and used them. We'd love to feel the connection to another time. Women just like my mother, whose entry under "Our First Home," tells of how, after their wedding night, they just wanted to come home, so they "brought groceries home, and [she] fixed her first meal," the second night of their marriage.

So much lay ahead for them--they were married months before Pearl Harbor. They were destined to raise only five of their thirteen children to adulthood. Two cancers. The everyday ups and downs plus the "added dose" of sorrow for their lives, could not be seen when she filled out her "bride's book."

We all share that, in this Sisterhood of women. So many hopes and dreams as we open those wedding shower gifts. Life moves along, humdrum or tragic, year by year. I am so grateful to our Lord that He gave my parents 64 years. A marriage in which their love grew more deeply as every anniversary rolled around. I had a model of How to Do Marriage Well that enabled me to choose a husband wisely, and to be an example for me, for 30 years so far, and is now the model for my children to follow. That is the inheritance I have from them. I would have loved to have the linens from that long-ago bridal shower, but I have the better gift in the example of their LIVES. That gift will never be "used up."

6 comments :

Terri said...

Oh, Barbara, what a wonderful testimony to the power of a godly marriage. Thank you for sharing with us.

Terri said...

And I forgot to say "Happy Birthday!"

Copper's Wife said...

Happy Birthday, and thanks for sharing about your mother's special bride's book. What a treasure to have!

plainandsimple said...

Happy Birthday Barbara!
I'm sorry that this day was a little sad for you, but I'm so glad you shared the story of your parents' marriage. It was very simple and poignant and wonderful to hear that a marriage can be that successful for so long. A Godly inspiration to us all.

April 1930s said...

Happy Birthday, Barbara... what a very special post you shared.

tam said...

WOW! Happy Birthday dear girl..!

This story is beautiful. Touching. Although I myself do not have such a lovely example, you have shown me that I can provide that for my children...thank you for providing a gift to us on YOUR birthday...

I am certain your day was bittersweet...but what lovely, lovely threads you have to weave in your heart...