I firmly believe, and I have often told my children, that my job from the time they are born is to train and educate them until they become mature, independent adults that are capable of functioning on their own and contributing to the world in which they find themselves a part. As they get older, every once in a while a situation arises with opportunities for learning and experiencing new things. I always try to take advantage of those situations because it's my job to make sure my children are as well-equipped as I can make them for life.
Since Matt's the oldest, we always seem to be breaking new ground with him, experience-wise. He was the first to graduate from high school, the first to go off to college, and now--the first to get married.
When wedding talk first started, I suddenly realized that Matt had little experience with weddings. Up to this point he'd been in two. Once as a ringbearer at the age of four, and the second as a groomsman his senior year in high school. Neither time was he involved in planning the wedding. He simply wore what he was told to wear, showed up when he was supposed to and did what he was told. And although sometimes that's all the groom is required to do, I thought he ought to know a few wedding planning basics before his first trip up to Kylee's and their first wedding-planning session.
The thing is, Matt--like his dad--is a big picture guy. Details are not his thing. Weddings are, of course, made up of hundreds of details that have to be decided and coordinated. Kylee is both extremely organized and creative, but I knew she would want at least some input and help from Matt in putting their special day together. So in preparing him for the months of planning to come, I started by asking a few general questions, just to find out if they'd already discussed any details. Matt's answers to most things were, "I don't know" or "whatever Kylee wants".
On the surface that might sound like a very generous guy who wanted whatever made his bride happy. While that is true of Matt, I also saw below the surface. It also meant "that's something I don't want to have to deal with." There were a few things he would have to deal with, I insisted. The tuxes, for instance usually fell in the groom's realm of decision-making.
"Oh, we're having tuxes," he told me, obviously relieved to have one decision made.
"But there's a lot of decisions to make about the tuxes," I pressed.
"Tails, no tails. Color, cut, cumberbund, vest, tie, bowtie ..." I trailed off as his eyes glazed over. "It won't be that hard," I encouraged. "Has Kylee picked her colors yet?"
"Uh, yeah." He brightened at being able to answer a question. "Purple and green."
What she actually has picked is a very dark purple, almost an eggplant, and a much lighter shade of green. The colors are beautiful together. However, the way Matt said them made me think of a certain favorite children's dinosaur.
"Purple and green? You're having a Barney wedding?" I couldn't resist messing with him a little.
"No!" He explained the colors and I nodded thoughtfully. "So which color will the tuxes be--purple or green?"
"Neither!" He answered. A look of hesitation crossed his face, and then more forcefully, "Neither!"
I asked if he'd picked bridal attendants yet, and he stared at me blankly. "I don't know what those are."
"Oh. My brothers."
That was nice. Matt has four brothers. "How many bridesmaids is Kylee going to have?" He didn't know. "You do realize you're supposed to have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, right?"
The conversation continued as Matt told me they were getting married at Kylee's church, something I'd expected, and that her pastor would be performing the ceremony.
Everything else stopped as I almost completely lost it. Matt's father is a pastor. Why would he not have his own father perform the ceremony? How could he do this to his dad? Didn't he realize his dad would be crushed? Surely Kylee's pastor would understand Matt wanting to have his own dad do the ceremony. Surely Kylee would understand that. All he had to do was speak up. His dad would never say anything, but it would just destroy him if his own son didn't ask him to do his ceremony! "How could you do this to your dad?" I demanded.
Matt looked uncertain. "I was going to ask him to be my best man," he answered. "But if you don't think that's right--"
I assured him that his dad would be fine with that.
Sometimes I think we're raising that boy right after all.