Today would have been my daughter’s wedding day . . . but as is often the case in life, plans don’t always go the way you expected. Last year at this time, my oldest daughter was just starting her senior year of high school, and at that time we believed she would be getting married on August 25, 2017. That was when she was planning to get married. At that time she didn’t even have an engagement ring yet, but she did have a wedding date. They’d had a wedding date set for a while by then, maybe much longer than I even realized. At least since the prior spring, she had been telling me they were getting married on his eighteenth birthday, even if it meant going to the courthouse. August 25, 2017 seemed like a really long time away then. We would have the whole summer to plan a wedding. That would be plenty of time. We could get through graduation first and then start seriously working on the wedding. That wouldn’t be all that difficult. We would have all year to make bows and centerpieces, worry about details, and figure out catering, and we would have the entire summer to pull everything together. It seemed like a fine plan.
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But my daughter is not getting married today. My day will not be filled with a hustle and bustle of wedding activity. My evening will not include a wedding ceremony and a reception and a very late night cleaning up after it. My week was not a flurry of ribbons and glitter and tulle. Why is my daughter not getting married today on this 25th day of August? Because my daughter was married in high school. (If you haven’t already read that story, you should probably click that link and go back and read it before you proceed any further with this one.) We are not having a wedding today. Do I wish we were having a wedding today? No. Our week was hectic enough without adding a wedding to it. I can hardly even imagine how we could have fit a wedding into this week. Two of the kids are in the middle of cross country right now. Volleyball has just started for the the middle daughter. The newlyweds are in their first week of college. They were on campus for classes for 10 hours on Monday, 8 hours on Tuesday and Thursday, and 4 hours on Wednesday. They’ve had hours and hours of homework every evening and still some more to finish this weekend. All their friends are now scattered to various campuses. Instead of getting married, the would-be groom will be working a 12-hour shift at the hospital. I’ve spent the week running kids to practices, making sure my freshman does his homework, and on Saturday morning I have two different kids (one junior high and one high school) at two different cross county invitationals. I definitely do not wish we were having a wedding today.
I’m glad most of that wedding stuff (some of it still lingers) is finally out of my house! It took over every surface in our entire house. The dining room was full, the living room was full, my bedroom was full of hanging garments, the kitchen island was covered in hot glue guns and jars and ribbons. There were boxes everywhere. There were bows everywhere. There was no where left to sit in some of our rooms. There was definitely no where left to eat because all the tables were being used, and you didn’t want to drop spaghetti sauce or something on a pile of tulle. I don’t know how people carry out the planning of a wedding over the course of many months. Even though we didn’t really expect to have to plan a wedding in such a short amount of time, I’m glad we were forced to because events like a wedding tend to consume every facet of your life while you are in the middle of them, and it’s really nice to have our house reclaimed from that process. I can’t imagine having drug the whole thing out through the entire summer now. At this point, I can only be grateful that the lovely couple was set on running down the aisle as quickly as possible, even if people found them a little odd for it.
The My Daughter Was Married in High School post resulted in many people wanting to know more about why they even wanted to get married so young in the first place. I’ve been trying to think of the best way to answer those questions. We usually refer to the couple as Mr. & Mrs. Merica here, but I’m just going to use their initials today, since much of this is about the time when they weren’t Mr. & Mrs. yet, although it’s difficult to imagine them in any other terms now.
Why did they want to get married? I asked my daughter that question right after the last post ran. You would assume if someone’s daughter wants to get married while still in high school, her parents might ask her why she wants to get married. We never did. We never even questioned it. You have to understand I married my husband a month after our high school graduations, and we didn’t even know each other a full eight months before our wedding. He accidentally proposed to me, and I said yes without realizing he had spontaneously proposed, never having considered what he was doing until the words were out of his mouth. He was kind enough not to tell me any of this until twenty years later. It only became a matter of discussion when J actually made a point to ask permission to marry our daughter. If I had realized my now husband didn’t intentionally mean to propose, I might have been more hesitant. Nah, probably not actually. He’s just like that. I’m the planner. He the non-planner. This is the way God balances households, so that the kids aren’t driven crazy by the environment being overbearingly one way or the other.
But anyway, our proposal was apparently purely coincidental. Though we had discussed marriage, and I already had a promise ring that he gave me for my birthday (when we had known each other for all of maybe eight weeks), we had been talking about it in terms of after college. He was planning to take a basketball scholarship, and I was planning to stay home and commute to avoid going into debt because I already had a full academic scholarship to cover my tuition. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the long distance deal (actually I was quite terrified by it and spent several hours bawling to my mom that he was going to leave me a few weeks before the accidental proposal but wasn’t about to let him know that). We were sitting in my parents van on the way home from somewhere. My parents had run into a store for a few minutes, and he started talking about his possible college options. Most were $40,000 a year colleges, so even with a basketball scholarship, it wasn’t going to cover the whole tuition. There was one Division II school an hour and half from home that was a state college, so it would be much cheaper, but he would not be walking into a starting position there. He said he was probably going to that one because it was close to home. So the accidental proposal went something like this:
He said: Come to IPFW with me.
I said: No because then we’ll both have the cost of a dorm on top of tuition, and that will rack up too much debt for us.
He said: Then we’ll get an apartment together.
I said: No, I won’t live with you until we’re married.
He said: Let’s get married then.
I said: Okay.
Apparently it was then that he realized he had just proposed. So we got rings at a pawn shop and started planning a wedding. Then the coach at that college got fired, but we still got married, and we both stayed home and commuted and came through college with no debt and lived happily ever after. But seriously, who proposes without even thinking about what they’re doing? The same man who puts the clothes in his suitcase five minutes before we load the van for a vacation. That’s who! And you’re probably wondering what kind of parents let their barely 18-year-old daughter marry someone she’s known for less than eight months. Well, funny story there. My parents only dated for two months before they got married, and their wedding was in November of my mom’s senior year. They wouldn’t have even waited that long, but my grandpa made them wait until my mom turned eighteen, so they got married the Saturday after her birthday. Did I mention my dad is a minister? So now that we’ve established that my daughter just comes from a long line of crazies, we can move on with the rest of this story.
Because we come from a long line of
crazy people happily married couples, we never thought to ask our daughter why she wanted to marry a man she had been dating for several months on his 18th birthday. We assumed it was because they were just tired of not being married. When I did finally ask her about four months after her wedding, she said, “I just really like him.” Then her youngest sister said, “Yeah, I think it’s because she has a crush on him.” We did at least stop and have a discussion to let the 10-year-old know that having a crush on a boy doesn’t necessarily mean a girl gets to marry him. But there you have it! They just really like each other. Did you think you were going to get more of an explanation?
Just kidding, I’m not really going to leave it at that. But you’ll have to stay tuned for the next episode of the Mr. & Mrs. Merica Marriage Memoirs where I talk about spiritual discernment, today’s dating culture, and some really funny stuff one school official had to say about the matter . . . subscribe below if you don’t want to miss it.
If you’ve been following this storyline, you will want to read the next installment Married in High School – Now Celebrating Six Months.