I lost another brother this weekend.
This is now the fifth time this has happened to me (if you can consider two other people falling in love something that happens to me).
I know, I know. “It’s not losing a brother; it’s gaining a sister-in-law!” I do understand the semantics. But, I have also experienced how different the relationship is after another woman enters the permanent picture. I welcome the adjustment, but will also miss the way it has been for the past three decades.
Regardless, I love weddings… and this wedding did not disappoint. It was beautiful! The bride and groom were glowing, the flowers were amazing, and the dessert was heavenly. I reconnected with lots of friends and family and spent some quality time with my niece and nephews.
I was simply happy! I walked into this weekend with the full intention of supporting my brother. I’m happy for him and I wanted his day to be perfect.
But then, amidst all the joy and laughter, I began to hear those little comments. You know which comments I’m talking about—the itty, bitty, unsolicited digs at my singlehood.
“So, when’s your wedding, Ruth?”
“I guess you’re next, eh?”
“This must be hard for you.”
“You have such a pretty face.” (Yes, this actually happened.)
And then I overheard my sweet mom tell about 47 people, “We’re saving the best for last!”—referring to my imaginary future wedding day, of course. I know she means well, but I could feel my face burning a constant shade of beet red all weekend.
Why can’t we just focus on the bride and groom, people?! Just leave me alone at Table 12 with my white wine and bread basket, please!
No matter what my intentions were walking into the wedding, my demeanor was now tainted by the questions and the concerned looks.
I’m living proof that the pressure to get married never really stops. In actuality, it gets worse. And I’ve got it easy because I’m blessed with a very loving and supportive family! Events like this wedding are difficult, though, because I run into people who aren’t as loving and supportive…
So as I stand by the gift table, listening to another person comment on how I’m the only single one left in my family (as if that fact had somehow escaped me)—I take a deep breath. The mental chant begins: There is nothing wrong with being single. There is nothing superior about being married. There is no set time when one should get married or have children.
But, even though I know all these truths, I still fall prey to the pressures. I still feel lame showing up to a wedding—dateless, 30, chubby—struggling to make small talk with 45-year-old moms/models who look much younger and sexier than me.
Still, I smile. I keep my table laughing between the salad, the sorbet and the salmon. I sneak another piece of bread. And I try to focus on my brother and his new wife, who I am genuinely happy for.
After all, it’s their day, not mine.
I just wish everyone else would stop telling me otherwise.