Weddings, I love sharing in the moment when two people commit to each other for the rest of their lives. Weddings can be complicated, simple, or elaborate. Your involvement can be as a friend, a part of the wedding party, a date, or a family member. I have been to my fair share of all of these. Over the past few years, I have seen most of my cousins get married. Each of their weddings was different but in the same token the same. They all had different venues and visions for their respective weddings and they were all beautiful in their own way. This past few years three of my friends got married. All three were very different experiences and all three shed light on different types of friendship.
First, there was my friend Kayla. We have known each other since second grade. I consider us to be more than friends, we are connected, we are sisters. We can go for long periods of time and not speak which has no impact on when we get together. We pick up where we left off. We support each other from afar, in this case very far. She currently lives in Italy but that hasn’t stopped us from being able to remain connected and part of each other's lives. She makes a point of touching base with me when she is close by.
And they lived happily ever after
Her wedding was beautiful. Set on the Hudson River. Everything was perfect. I was not part of the planning or the wedding party but I felt as though I was important and she wouldn’t have wanted to have her wedding without me present. We danced the night away at Poughkeepsie Grand. She was so excited when she was planning her wedding. She called me and sent me pictures to let me know she had asked about the accessibility piece for me. She made arrangements for the shuttle that unfortunately never materialized but she did her best to think of me on her day. I will forever be grateful that she wanted me there so badly that she went above and beyond.
Chair sandwich time
At her reception, I felt like I belonged, that this was a family member getting married but none of my family was there. She kept true to who she was by celebrating with those who meant the world to her. She even gave a shout to her beloved dog, Hudson by including treats for everyone to take home to their pets. She and her husband just welcomed a baby boy. It is so much fun sharing her life with her through pictures of all the adventures they are having. I cannot wait until she is stateside to spend some time just chatting the night away.
This past April, my friend Nicole got married. Her wedding was ten years in the making. I remember the day she told me she had a boyfriend and was even present when they shared their first kiss. She was my first friend in Middle School. We did everything together, from date nights at Target to sleepovers and road trips far away. We were inseparable, at least that is what I thought. I was not involved in any of the planning or part of the wedding party. At first, I was hurt but now I understand.
Tale as old as time
Her wedding was a fairytale, as old as time. I felt like I was on the outside looking in. I wasn’t sure where I belonged but I did know she wanted me there. There were moments of pure happiness and our old friendship. We took photos together, my favorite was the last one of the evening. It reminded me of our camping and hanging out for the Fourth of July. The wedding was beautiful, the day was perfect. I am happy she had a perfect day. We seem to have lost touch and are not as close as we once were. I’m not sure why but I am hoping that she still wants me to be part of her life. We are only a phone call away. I miss her and I want to be part of her life but I’m not sure she wants to be.
Then there was Julie, my High School friend. Our friendship grew slowly over time. I guess you could say it matured with age. Hers was the first of my friends that asked me to be a bridesmaid. I have only been a bridesmaid one other time for my cousin. I had no idea how much was involved in being a bridesmaid. It was an honor and a privilege to be part of the inner circle. It was exhausting but I always felt that she wanted me there.
I learned something from her. She was so very excited to tell me about how accessible her wedding venue was. She called me to tell me they had ramps. What I learned is that just because someplace has ramps doesn’t mean they are accessible. People see the things I need but don’t always see how I use them. I don’t expect them to. I appreciate that she was focused on making sure that I could still be part of things even though barriers stood in my way.
Danced the night away
Her wedding was magical. We danced the night away. The dance floor was constantly full of people enjoying themselves. I felt like I was her sister, part of the planning, organizing, and participating in the entire wedding process. I belonged because she wanted me there, to share in the excitement of the process. Her fairy tale is just beginning and I can’t wait to be part of what is to come.
What I realized
Funny until I started writing this I didn’t look at the relationships as through the years of school. The easy elementary friend who enjoyed the innocence of your company. The complicated Middle School friend of awkward days of growing up and expanding your friend group. The High School friend was the mature complicated world of being an adult and accepting people for who they are. Friends can be complicated, fickle, and forever. Some are in our lives because they want to be, others because we want them to be. It's sad when people are no longer part of our lives and stay away because of something but it is great to have those friends that stick around. Those people that want you in their lives, the good the bad, and the ugly. The ones that accept you for all your faults and weaknesses. That celebrate your success, offer words of comfort and wisdom. I am a lucky person to have the friends I have. They love me, even though I have made mistakes. I look forward to watching these beautiful women through their journey of life. It doesn’t matter if it is by their side, from afar, or disconnected. I will love them and always hold a special part of my heart for them. I will always be there for them, no matter when they need me. Because they were there for me when I needed a friend.
Thank you for reading until the end!
This is the view from my wheelchair, where miracles can make a difference. Always Strive for the Impossible. Come back next week to see what is on my mind and hear more about my experiences and The View From My Wheelchair.