Wedding Chatter — by Jamie Levine
Ever since Jayda watched a Strawberry Shortcake DVD several months ago, in which Strawberry and her friends re-enacted the Cinderella story, Jayda has been fixated on the event which “Strawberella” referred to as a “fancy dress ball.” Sometimes, after dinner, Jayda will suddenly turn her attention away from the TV and put on several glittery necklaces, don a pair of shiny clip-on earrings, grab her birthday party tiara, and announce with a flourish that she’s “getting ready for a fancy dress ball!” Jayda has always been a “girlie-girl”—and rarely leaves the house without a dress on—so I wasn’t surprised that the glamorous part of the Cinderella story appealed to her.
But not long after her “fancy dress ball” fixation began, Jayda started to develop an interest in weddings that did surprise me. Now, when Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel fail to satisfy Jayda with their children’s television offerings, she insists I turn to shows like Say Yes to the Dress and Platinum Weddings…and she sits and watches, riveted. Really. On our trip to Florida last month, one of the highlights for Jayda was witnessing a photographer taking pictures of a bride and her bridal party posing at our hotel. Jayda watched the bride with awe—like she was a fairy princess—and practically followed her into her waiting limo.
Several times when we’ve driven by a synagogue, Jayda has said things to me like, “Maybe someday when I get bigger, I’ll get married there.” And she always adds, “When I meet a prince.” Sometimes I joke and tell her that I’d like to meet a prince, too. She, of course, thinks I’m serious and speculates about us both wearing fancy dresses to our fancy dress balls. Clearly, she’s more fixated on how “princessy” she would look as a bride, or as a wedding guest—than on the party, itself.
The other day, while I was driving Jayda to a play date, she randomly blurted out, “Mommy—when I get bigger, can I go to a wedding?” I responded, “Of course. Someday, someone we know will get married, and you’ll be invited to the wedding.” Jayda then asked, “Will you come with me?” And when I agreed, she continued, “Actually, maybe I can go to your wedding!” So I explained that while that might happen one day, first, I’d have to meet “a wonderful man whom we both adored, and whom we wanted to live with forever and ever.” This surprised her. “Why?” she asked. I explained that when people get married, they plan to spend the rest of their lives together—and that I’d never marry a man whom we both didn’t want to live with for a long, long time. “So, after the wedding, he’d move into our house and live with us and Grandma and Poppy?” Jayda asked. I clarified that “We’d probably move into a different house with just him.” Immediately, Jayda’s eyes welled up with tears, and she sobbed, “I don’t want to move out of our house!” As her cries got louder, she added, “I don’t want to go to your wedding! I want to go home!” I continued driving to the play date while assuring Jayda that we weren’t going anywhere any time soon. I’m barely able to find a man whom I want to go out with more than three times—let alone marry and move in with! But I couldn’t help wondering if I’d killed Jayda’s wedding dreams with my reality-check.
Then, a few nights ago, when my mother was babysitting and trying to get Jayda to go to sleep, Jayda started chatting about weddings again. In an attempt to stall her bedtime, Jayda told my mother that she was going to go to a fancy dress ball and would be getting married soon. My mother played along and prodded her, “So, you’ve met a prince? What’s his name? Who are you going to marry?” And Jayda replied in a huff, “No—I’m going to marry my mommy!” The wedding fantasy lives on!