Walking down the aisle

In most little girls' imaginations, the first time their family and friends clap eyes on how incredible they look, how radiant, how happy, how perfect they are on their wedding day, is when the doors of that fantasy church open wide and the light streams in, and there they are, arm-in-arm with their daddy, beaming with pride, ready to walk down the aisle.

As we grow up, relationships can change. Life can be cruel. Not every little girl can grow up to take that step-together-step with their dad. Not every little girl wants to. Living means growing; changing from a sweet, naive child into a woman who's seen the world, dealt with grief or deep disappointment. It means understanding that not everything can be perfect. But that's life, and that's okay.

On your wedding day, you will hear the words "it's your wedding - do what makes you happy" at least four hundred thousand times. This advice is sound, wise even, but it's not always usable. What do you want? What if you can't have it?

The news at the moment is rife with gossip about Meghan Markle's father. Will he come to the UK for the royal wedding? Why wasn't he invited? Will he show up anyway? I'm no Royalist - quite the opposite, in fact - but it hurts my heart quite a bit to think of a woman a few days from the biggest, most important day of her life, ready to be taken in by a royal family, feeling all the expectation that must be weighing on her beautiful head being given this to think about too. And as the sad owner of one deadbeat dad, I know that she must be considering it deeply. Turning it over, thinking about how she's not sad, just disappointed, but secretly hurting, and angry that she's in pain. And furious that it's being brought up again, and again, and again.

But what do you do, if this is the position you're in? What do you actually do? For the purposes of this article, you cannot, or have not invited them. That difficult decision has been made. What now?

I knew a long time ago that I'd be walking down the aisle solo. It's something I thought about sadly, then got used to, then actually loved the idea of. Growing up strong and independent, I began to see how much sense this made. I didn't need somebody to help me walk towards the person I loved. I could do it myself. Walk from my current life to my new one, once alone, now together. Beautiful realist symbolism.

Then, I had another idea. Meeting my future husband meant I was no longer alone. He was there, always, picking me up, fixing my broken parts, making me nice lunches, allowing me to do the same for him. When I proposed to him, it was because I meant it. No statement, no assertion of relationship power dynamics. I wanted to be with him forever. And he said yes, he wanted that too.

So why would I walk solo down the aisle, when that means leaving him to stand alone at the front of the room, waiting for me? No, that's not us. I always enter the room first. It's an anxiety thing. We're doing this together.

We're already enjoying living our lives. We're stepping through that door side-by-side, supporting each other down that aisle, ready to start the next bit. Like everything else we do, we're doing this together.

Just after we got engaged in Edinburgh <3


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