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  • The Wedding Portrait

    January 8, 2006

    If you are contemplating getting married, here’s some advice: Skip the 16 x 20 bridal portrait.

    While it will seem like a very good and necessary thing at the time, after the champagne punch wears off, you will realize there is no place you really want to display a picture of that size, of yourself, in that pose, in that dress, in your home, even though it is evidence that in fact, for at least one day, you were a babe — a slim babe in a beaded gown no less.

    But if you cannot help yourself (and chances are that if you are planning a wedding, restraint is something with which you are no longer familiar) and you choose to forgo your future children’s inheritance so that you can purchase the portrait-that-would-blot-out-the-sun, you should know that you will feel obligated to hang it somewhere in your house. And then you will have to look at it every day. And like lint, it will taunt you — especially on those days after you have children and you find yourself wearing, not a beaded gown, but sweats. And jelly — you will very often be wearing jelly in the shape of a tiny handprint somewhere on your sweats. And every time you pass the portrait-that-would-blot-out-the-sun in your jelly accessorized sweats, it will not be an uplifting experience to see your formerly beaded self. And so you might think, well, I will just give this fabulous portrait of myself to my mother, because my mother loves me. But even she will decline, because there is just so much wall space and what with so many pictures of the grandkids. And besides, she will lamely add, we don’t get that much sun in the midwest.

    Anyway, I bring all this up because I have such a portrait. And I wasn’t even 23 when I got married — which if I were, could explain a lot. But I was 38, almost 39 — so it doesn’t explain the portrait or the beaded gown. The portrait is now hanging behind the door as you go into the bedroom (because there is no room in the attic or under the bed) and the beaded gown hangs in the Museum of Ridiculous Clothes, along with a red leather mini skirt.

    Until yesterday, Sean had never taken notice of this portrait. But yesterday, as if for the first time, he spotted it behind the door and did a double take. For a split second, I wondered if he even recognized the babe in the beaded gown. But then he pointed at it and clapping his sticky little jelly hands, he blurted “Oooooooh! Mommy pretty!” And then I had to go get a mop because my heart had just melted all over the floor.

    Skip the 16×20 and go with the 11×14.

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