It’s been a stressful couple of weeks.
My good friend’s daughter is getting married soon and I’ve been asked to help them prepare for the wedding – a supposedly blessed and fun event, yes?
I’d always thought that my friend and her daughter were close. Of course, they went through the usual teenage years of angst, but in the last few years they had become closer than ever.
My friend loves – just loves – her daughter’s fiancé. “Couldn’t have hand-picked a better one,” she’s often said to me. Although my friend’s husband also likes his daughter’s fiancé, he’s not quite as enthusiastic – but that’s only because nobody will ever be good enough for his daughter. However, when the engagement was announced, there was euphoria all round.
Then the wedding plans began.
First, there was a “discussion” over the guest list: 400+ guests were thought to be a touch unreasonable, so it was agreed that the list would be whittled down to 200. Except that my friend wanted her relatives and friends there, while her daughter and fiancé wanted their friends to attend. (Please note that my friend’s husband, who’s no fool, steered well clear of this “discussion”.)
“It’s my wedding,” my friend’s daughter quite rightly pointed out. “But I’m paying for it,” my friend unwisely retorted.
This went on for weeks.
“A formal dinner will be perfect” (friend).
“I don’t want a ‘Martha Stewart’ wedding” (daughter).
“Church ceremony” (friend). “Garden ceremony” (daughter).
“All-white color scheme” (friend). “Pastel greens and blues” (daughter).
After a few weeks of all this incessant in-fighting, my friend and her daughter were emotional wrecks – and the rest of us had had enough. That’s when I decided what my bridal shower gift was going to be – a restorative yoga session for mother and daughter.
“A what?” my friend said, who is deeply suspicious of all things she considers “new age.” “I love it ~ thanks so much,” her daughter enthused. (See? They even disagreed on this…)
We finally agreed on a day when I could drag them away from wedding plans and off we went. When we arrived, the instructor greeted us and went through the basics of what we would be doing and what we would hopefully accomplish by the end of the session.
I liked Elisa, our instructor, right away – she had a soothing voice and manner that in itself was calming. She spoke about how many people lead highly stressful lives and become so locked into the pressure of striving for their particular idea of “success” that they forget how essential it is to maintain a balance of mind, body, and spirit by releasing the tension and stress that build up in our bodies.
Elisa had us lie down on mats and gave each of us a bolster for our heads. She then took us through some deep breathing exercises to relax the mind and open it up to peaceful and reflective thoughts. As the session progressed, she gently took us through a sequence of specific yoga asanas geared towards relaxing the mind, body, and spirit.
By the end of the session, my friend, her daughter and I felt blissfully relaxed. They kept thanking me, saying it was the best gift I could have given them (oh good – does this mean I don’t have to buy a wedding present??!) “It was perfect,” my friend said. “Just what we needed to give ourselves a perspective of what’s really important in life.”
An hour later, we were back at the house and…
“Let’s have Ode to Joy as you walk up the aisle.”
“No, that’s way too old-fashioned and fuddy-duddy.”
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
“Who’s being ridiculous?!”
Oh well, it was great while it lasted….