“How will you pay for ALL THOSE WEDDINGS?” chuckled the NICU hospital volunteer. I was staring into one of my preemie triplet daughter’s incubators as she spoke.
“Well, right now I am most worried about getting them out of the NICU,” I replied. And thus began the millions of times I’ve been asked how my husband and I will pay for our six daughters’ weddings. And I’d bet you a hundred vanilla lattes that if you’re a mom to more than two girls, you’ve heard it too.
Look, I get it. It’s a convenient conversation starter to make with someone who has lots of daughters. But if you want to know the truth, I do not worry about it, and here’s why.
It’s completely outdated and riddled with assumptions.
At the most basic level, the “how-will-you-pay-for-all-those-weddings” question makes so many assumptions.
First, who’s to say my daughters will all grow up and get married, complete with large, costly wedding receptions? So many assumptions going on there that I don’t even know where to begin. Maybe they will elope (but hopefully still invite me). Maybe they’ll have small weddings. Maybe they’ll be self-made millionaires who will take me and my husband to a tropical island for their weddings, where we can lie on the beach drinking frozen fruity drinks while they exchange vows barefoot on the beach. (That sounds amazing and I’m rooting for that outcome for all of them.) Or, maybe, just maybe, one or more of them will decide not to get married.
Second, who’s to say that getting married requires an expensive reception? My husband and I, along with my parents and my in-laws, paid for my wedding. It was a fabulous, drinks-on-the-dance-floor reception, but we didn’t break the bank. An extravagant, over-the-top wedding is a choice–not a requirement–for marriage.
I generally don’t worry about things that are 20+ years from now.
Do you worry about whether your sons will go bald? Or whether your kids will want to have kids? Those things seem far, far away, right? Same with the weddings. It is light years away from my day-to-day challenges of getting all my girls to wipe well, eat some vegetables, and go to bed at a decent hour.
But to be clear, I do worry. About a lot of things.
I worry they watch too much YouTube. I worry about lice. I worry that they’ll never stop making slime (can we please be done with this trend already?). I worry they’ll get cavities. I worry about when they’ll outgrow wetting the bed. I worry about mean girls and whether my girls will feel the need to fit in, at the expense of being themselves.
I worry about the teenage years. I worry about whether they will always feel comfortable in their own skin and bodies. I worry about my daughters learning how to drive. I worry about my daughters having the courage to speak up for what’s right, especially when what’s right is not what’s popular. I worry about all those wild phone apps where teenagers secretly send each other messages.
More long-term, I worry about helping them pay for college. Unlike weddings, college costs are fixed and are rising every year. I worry that, as women, they will think their voices are not as strong or valuable as their male counterparts. I worry that they will face additional challenges in their careers simply because they are women.
And while I don’t worry about the weddings, I do worry about marriage. I worry that my daughters will marry before they know who they are. I worry that they’ll view marriage as a goal to be achieved, rather than the true union and partnership that it is.
So yes, I worry about my girls. I do. At this exact moment, I’m worried about getting their homework done and surviving the witching hours. But the weddings? No, I don’t worry about that. It’s just not worth the worry.