I think I failed to mention something relatively important that occurred in our family a couple of weeks ago. The youngest Twinkie, Wheat, eloped.
As in she left town and got married in a courthouse somewhere in Southern Texas at nineteen years old, and then had the audacity to call me and ask for congratulations. And to rave about how awesome being married was, though she'd only been in the state of marriage for all of twenty minutes when she called me.
My reaction, I am afraid, left something to be desired.
"Chanel, Mo-Mo and I got married!"
It was unfortunate that she called me while I was on my lunch break and I was taking a drink of water. I inhaled in surprised, choked and hacked for a couple of minutes, and finally managed to get out a very raspy, "Are you out of your god-damned mind?"
She sounded pouty and hurt, of course, when she repeated what she said. And all I could say was, "You guys said February of next year. Would it have killed you to wait?"
It wasn't ten minutes after we hung up that I got a text from Relly, Brat, Mother, and Memaw basically all saying that just because I was jealous that my younger sister was married before me was no reason to make her feel bad about it, and couldn't I just get over my own feelings and be happy for her?
And all I could think was "Do these people really know me at all?"
Because if they knew me even a little, they would recall my feelings about marrying young, my own inability to discuss a possible marriage with Padawan in five years, my frequent comments that my parents (who married at eighteen) would never have married each other if they had waited five years.
My problem wasn't that my younger sister was married before me, my problem was (and still is) that my younger sister got married at all. She's nineteen, meaning she's still a teenager. She's entirely too young to get married. And if she had the sense of a goat she would have waited a few more years until she was mature enough to handle everything that comes with the title of wife, especially since she off and married a twenty eight (or was it twenty nine?) year old man.
My only comfort in that entire barrage of insults was the call from Daddy who, when I answered, demanded to know, "Are you was serious about Wheat getting married on your Facebook status or was this just a stupid joke? Because believe me, Chanel Anneggannette Ingram, it is not funny!"
"Yes, Daddy, I'm completely serious. They eloped and got married less than an hour ago."
"What the hell was she thinking? She's too young to get married."
And I completely agreed, but I really couldn't stop myself from saying, pointedly, that, "You really can't be too upset about it, Daddy. You and Mom got married when you were eighteen."
"That's exactly how I know she's making a big mistake! I made the same one twenty-two years ago!"
"Well, Daddy, parents are our first teachers. She learned from you."
"But nothing good came from the lesson I set her!"
"Well, if you hadn't married Mom, you never would have had the Twinkies in the first place."
"Okay, you have a point. The only good thing that came out of that marriage was the Twinkies and the divorce."
Well, at least I wasn't the only one that wasn't thrilled with the news. But Daddy doesn't like Mo-Mo anyway. Neither does my grandmother, come to think of it, but she's just thrilled that she can tell her friends that one of her grand daughters is married.
Like oh-em-gee, ladies, not all of my grand daughters are going to old maid spinsters. One of them got married! And at nineteen, too!
I don't like being asked, "So did you congratulate your sister on her marriage?"
Because I didn't congratulate her, and I won't congratulate her. The best I could do was say, "Good luck with that one, Wheat." And try not to laugh derisively at her exclamations of, "Being married is the greatest!" and "I don't know why people complain that marriage is so hard! It's so fun!"
Yeah, it's all fun and games when you've eloped and been married for a couple of weeks, dear. Tell me how it is in five years, or even after just two.
You know who she reminds me of? Lydia Bennett in Pride and Prejudice.
So damned pleased with herself after eloping and then bragging and raving about how amazing her husband is, and how great it is to be married, and how brilliant her elopement was, and great fun, besides. And oh how I understand Elizabeth's irritation with her sister for her constant chatter about the subject knowing it was the wrong thing to do and wishing she hadn't gone off and done it.
Except that my sister didn't disgrace the whole family because social standards are not nearly so strict today as they were back then, and the only thing anyone says against an elopement is being denied a chance to dress up and have a celebration.
Still, it's all she talks about on her Facebook (unless she's spouting off some hippy nonsense about the government spraying us with harmful chemicals every day and then lying about it) and in text messages and I'm pretty sure she Twitters about it, too, except that I don't do Twitter and I won't ask because she'll hear the mocking in my voice and be hurt all over again. If she had a blog, which I doubt since she's one of those "txt tlk, kll the vwls and mk thm xtnct" people and I'm pretty sure hard core bloggers or even people who just appreciate the beauty of the properly written English language would have chased her out of any blog community for her careless murder of the written word, she would probably gush about marriage all over its pages, too.
And now that she's married, the question of, "So when are you and Padawan going to tie the knot?" keep popping up with more and more aggravating frequency. As I've said before, I feel awkward discussing any matrimony that may or may not be in my future because the "M" Word makes me nervous.
Like it's not bad enough fending off questions about my foolish sister's matrimony, people just don't seem to understand that not everybody wants to off and get married young. I've got my whole life to live, why should I be married now? It's not that I don't love Padawan, I do, and I'm serious about him. But marriage is a whole different time and place and world that neither of us is ready to think about. Now, if he asked me to marry him tomorrow, I'd say yes, but only under the stipulation that we have a really freaking long engagement.
Engaged isn't married, after all. It's just a promise to get married eventually.