For a couple of years, Iris has been obsessed with being a flower girl. As time went by, a number of her little friends and acquaintances were tapped, but the glamour and glory were denied to Iris. When we were invited to a wedding, Iris would insist, "Tell them I'm the flower girl!", and we'd have to explain that it was up to the bride, who usually had a little relative to fill the position. (Sidenote: the Drunken Housewife herself was a flower girl at her aunt's wedding at a tender age, but has never been a bridesmaid. Always a bride, never a bridesmaid. I've had more proposals of marriage than I can keep straight, but I've never been asked to be a wedding attendant. I suspect somewhere in that there is a searing indictment of my personality).
Then last summer, we were talking about wedding plans with the delightful Tammi, whose daughter is the same age as Iris. Tammi's own daughter was, naturally enough, slated to be the flower girl. "Oh, how nice for her! Iris is dying to be a flower girl", I said casually. Tammi, who is one of the sweetest people in the world, had the sort of happy thought which makes her new husband one of the luckiest people around, and said, "I'll have a gaggle of flower girls!" She invited all her friends' little girls to join the ceremony, and Iris and Lola were thrilled.
Iris was excited in advance for ages at finally achieving this dream, and the wedding was delightful. I got quite teary-eyed during the vows and came to the realization that yes, I have grown up to be one of those annoying women who cries at weddings. But Iris found it boring waiting for the ceremony to begin, and the Drunken Housewife was not much of a companion for her during the reception, as the old D.H. was rather preoccupied with catching up with old friends and drinking cocktails. There was a magician present to entertain the smaller guests, and an old friend of mine grabbed me to say, "Iris is heckling the magician!" I almost snorted my cocktail out my nose.
For most of those present, it was a delightful day. But Iris was left feeling kind of empty and aimless. I told her that she'd have to think of some new goals, now that she'd knocked "Be a flower girl" off the list, and she was, unusually enough, without comment. I saw this same phenomenon in associates who became partners at my old law firm. If you hold an ambition for years, and you might slave and scheme and obsess and overanalyze in pursuit of your goal, after reaching it, you can feel underwhelmed and purposeless. "What do I do now?" seems to be the reaction, rather than "I did it!"
Meanwhile Lola, whose dearest ambitions are (1) to be a princess and (2) to get married, is still wearing her sparkly flower girl tiara around the house.
If I ever get married again, you can be my bridesmaid! I'd really like that, actually. And you know you'll get to wear a lovely dress! (Maybe a Vionnet knockoff, how rad would that be?)
Nothing would make me happier or more proud, M! I will be so there!
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