My good friend Amy is getting married today. She is having her fairytale wedding in Ashland, Oregon, marrying the man of her dreams after 10 years of history and courtship. I have been looking forward to attending the wedding ever since she announced the engagement last year, excited at the prospect of seeing her nymphlike form dolled up in her wedding gown and returning to a magical place that we had visited together in high school during the Shakespearian Festival.
As Friday drew ever closer and Jack’s illness stayed with him, I started to consider the possibility that we would not be able to attend the wedding. I hoped he would start to turn around on Wednesday, and then maybe he’d be ready to start traveling Thursday night. When Wednesday arrived and he was still sluggish and feverish, my spirits sank. I canceled our hotel reservation for Thursday night but kept the Friday night reservation just in case. But then Thursday came and he woke up screaming and still hot and I threw in the towel. We would definitely not make the wedding – traveling 8 hours or so with a sick baby was out of the question.
I had a dream about breaking the news to Amy, and in the dream I cried when I told her that I would not be there to witness her dream coming true. I am thankful for this dream because it allowed me to hold it together when I called her. She took the news in stride, but here I sit with tears in my eyes.
I feel like I’m a failure as a friend, even though I know better than that. Without a doubt, she’ll have a wonderful wedding and I would have been just a bit part in the memory of the day. But still it is difficult for me because not only am I missing my friend’s wedding, a major landmark in her life, but I am also realizing that no matter how I’d like it to be otherwise, parenthood has changed me. It has changed the things I’m able to do and the promises I’m able to keep.
I know I made the right decision for my family; I have no doubt about that. That still doesn’t mean it was easy.