I would describe raising Jennifer Giglio as what I imagine it would feel like to compete in the bucking bronco competition at a rodeo! What a ride it was! But how happy I am now that I survived the experience for she has developed into a wonderful daughter and friend. My friend, Peggy (Jenny’s adopted aunt), quoting Albert Camus, always said that what didn’t kill us would make us stronger and she was right. I’m a better person because of having Jenni in my life.
The thing I noticed about Jennifer when she first starting dating Alex was how CONTENT she seemed. Growing up for her was stressful, confusing and she was always driven, never seeming to be able to appreciate her accomplishments or the moment she was in. And, though she was certainly moving toward a more relaxed view of the world (for Jenni), when she found Alex she seemed more genuinely happy and at peace than I had ever seen her. As her mother, I’m so blessed that she has really begun to see and appreciate the person she, herself, is. It is clear that Alex and Jen really love each other and the fruit of their relationship is evidence of that.
My hope in thinking about your wedding, Jen and Alex, is that you will have the party of your lives! Don’t worry about pleasing everyone else — do what you WANT to do for and at the ceremony and reception. I made the mistake of not enjoying my guests to the fullest at my wedding reception (including an uncle I would never see again), leaving in a hurry to get to the “honeymoon” and I regret to this day missing that special time with the people I loved most in the world (many of whom had traveled to be there from afar). Wear what you want, have the ceremony the way you want it, sit where you want, stand where you want, eat what you want, etc. Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do on this special occasion. Once the planning and preparation is finished (on the day of the ceremony), just enjoy it. Nothing is perfect but if you can truly enjoy the experience, you will take these happy memories with you throughout the rest of your lives.