How do I describe the events of yesterday ?
The Charles Dickens line ‘it was the best of times, and the worst of times’ comes to mind.
We attended the wedding of a co-worker yesterday evening – joining him for the evening celebration. Along with some good friends, we put our glad-rags on, hired a taxi, and arrived just as the formal part of the wedding was coming to an end. I gather the toasts were still ongoing as we were greeted in the courtyard of the venue by a waiter brandishing champagne flutes.
The evening was wonderful, and flew by. We danced, we laughed, and we managed to get a couple of minutes with both the bride and groom – reminiscing about our own weddings. The common recollection seemed to be that none of us could remember the evening of our own wedding day that clearly – it’s almost like a conveyor belt lifts you on the morning of the ceremony, and doesn’t let you get off until the early hours of the next morning, after smiling and laughing with endless relatives, friends, and acquaintances. After the months of preparations and planning, it is over so quickly.
We talked about how weddings are really for the previous generation – not for the bride, groom, and their friends at all. As each generation gets older, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and funerals are the only times many of the wider family may see each other. In a strange sort of way, each event becomes a reunion – with a few new faces, and a few missing faces each time.
We arrived home a little before midnight. And that’s when the evening turned rather dramatically. Looking back now, it’s funny how stories unravel so quickly once a single thread is pulled.
As we walked into the house, our eldest daughter appeared, with a friend stood in her bedroom doorway – the same friend that has led her on an abusive journey over the last year – so not really a friend at all. She had been here all day – hiding either within the house, or in town while we ate dinner. Something inside me snapped.
I wasn’t nasty, and I didn’t send her home (I thought about paying for a taxi there and then, but then thought better of it, given the thought of a teenager in a taxi alone late at night). I did tell her she wasn’t welcome in the house though, and unloaded the catalogue of behaviour that had been quietly building up in a mental strike-list. She said sorry repeatedly.
I shook my head at both of them, expressed my disappointment in both my own daughter’s judgement, and her friend’s catalogue of horrific behaviour, and went to bed.
This morning I felt a bit guilty about being so hard on them – right up until I discovered they had tried to bribe our younger daughters to keep quiet about the events of the day before. I also discovered a text message sent at 11pm last night – as we were leaving the party, and after the last train – asking if her friend could stay. An expertly timed request to avoid being turned down.
So yes – the best of times, and the worst of times.