The Arizona Daily Star just hosted its twice annual fair featuring products and services for couples planning weddings and for families planning for their daughters turning 15, a 'quinceniera' which is like a southern cotillion.
As I am new to the Star, this was my first up close and personal experience, which was a nice change from two recent events which had rocked our collective worlds: on Thurday, January 6th, our VP of Sales resigned, and two days later, six people were gunned down in the worst mass shooting in our town since...well, I'll have to check the news archives. Shootings in the old west were a hazard of the locale, as were stage coach robberies. We will be covering this all year in our centennial celebration events. (More on that later.)
Today was a balm of healing, a day meant for joy. Nervous brides. Overprotective fathers. "Yes, Dear..." from the fiances. So many decisions. I tasted so many cakes my sweet tooth ached. I saw so many limos I thought I was at the Oscars. And I remembered as we planned and financed our own wedding, hopelessly in love, poor as church mice, having no idea that happily ever after would exceed our wildest dreams. Not the way we thought when we first got married, but through our kids, the greatest joy in the world. To get to 'Happily ever after' there were bumps in the road, detours we didn't plan, and it couldn't be rushed. But 'Happily ever after' can be if you just let it...be.
My job today was assisting the models in the dressing room. SpeedBrides! For the pre-fitting, I helped them choose their gowns, adjusted them with pins if they were too large, took photos for their moms, and befriended many of them. During show time, I unzipped/zipped them while they balanced on one stiletto heel and held onto me for dear life so as not to puncture the silk train and undo the elaborate veils. One beautiful blonde from Scottsdale had just broken up with her boyfriend and vowed celibacy for a year and just treat herself right. Well spoken and very intelligent, she set a goal for herself to write a best-selling novel. I believe she'll do it! Another Latina beauty, somewhat more experienced and with an artistic spirit, clearly covered her bases with a number of jobs and skills. She clearly took nothing she has been given for granted. I admired her work ethic and fortitude. Another 19 year old Nicole Kidman look-alike (I swear she must have been a size zero) was majoring in psychology and minoring in marketing. We talked about sales - she is interested in pharmaceutical sales because it is a recession-proof career with good benefits.
We had two shows, one hour each, three hours apart. Each dress was more beautiful than the last... But the last ones for some reason weren't as comfortable and the models were in a frenzy to get them off, taffeta and sequins flying, tiaras and hairdos now hair don'ts, stilettos swapped for flip flops, and comfy sweats donned for the ride home. I turned around... Where had my models gone? My impish teenagers and twenty-somethings stood with duffel bags over their shoulders, grinning sheepishly. It was hard to say goodbye. So, we whipped out our cellphones, connected on facebook, exchanged hugs and kisses and they were gone.
I thought about every one of them as I drove home. These weren't empty-headed beauties who only had their looks to provide them with a career. These were formidable young women who will be running the world someday. It's comforting to know our future is in such beautiful, capable hands. I just want to thank their moms and mentors who raised them up to be such exemplary role models. If you could have seen the way they carried themselves backstage and in public, they would have made you proud.