Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Friends’ Kids Getting Married?

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on March 15, 2012

Corie and Kirk, friends of Beth, announce that their son, Kyle, twenty-seven, is getting married and they would like Beth and her husband to go to the wedding. “I am not old enough to go to my friends’ kids wedding,” Beth tells me in utter disbelief. The passing of time, the marking of life events, seem to catch Beth by surprise. “What does that mean that you are not old enough?” I ask, wondering what Beth is thinking about. “I just feel like I am a kid and I want to go to my friends’ weddings, not their kids,” she says, again reinforcing her wish that the next generation is not rising up, pushing her aside. “Are you feeling like you have lost your time in the sun?” I ask, thinking about how hard it is for Beth to see that younger people are beginning their lives, signaling to Beth that she has lost opportunities. “Yes, absolutely,” Beth responds with affirmation. “I feel so sad that life has passed me by and that I cannot seem to get a grip on time,” Beth says with tears generated. “I can feel your pain in thinking about the past, and that you cannot start your life again, such that seeing the next generation get married stimulates this pain for you. “Yea, I need to embrace middle-age,” Beth says, reminding me that she believes that half of her adult life is over. “How would you do that?”I ask, wondering why she chose the word ’embrace’. “I need to see this phase in my life as the opportunity to be more self-centered, more focused on what I want to do without the responsibility of taking care of my parents or my children.” Beth says, reminding me that her kids are grown and her parents have passed away. “Transitions are hard, even good ones,” I say, empathizing with her shift from caring for elderly parents and little children, to being released from those burdens and those joys. “Watching people get married can also be hard,” I say, knowing that weddings, although generally happy events, stimulate so many layered feelings. “I hope I get happy when the wedding comes,” Beth says with characteristic humor and honesty. “I hope so too, but if you don’t, you don’t. You will feel how you will feel and you will be well-mannered about it.” I say, pointing out that her private feelings can be whatever they will be, but her public expression will share the joy of the event. “Thank you,” Beth says with uncharacteristic gratitude. “You really helped me today. I mean you help me every time I see you, but today in particular, I felt like you said some important things.” Beth says with a smile. I am not sure what was particularly helpful, but her happiness as she left was uplifting.

2 Responses to “Friends’ Kids Getting Married?”

  1. Shelly said

    Your blog captures exactly the emotions I felt yesterday as I gazed at a beautiful bride whom I remembered as a tiny little girl. The passage of time, remembering when I was a bride and my own hopes and dreams and how they remain unfulfilled, seeing her excitement and hoping that the reality lived up to her expectations. I do understand Beth’s feelings and hesitations about going to the wedding of her friends’ son, but there are also things for Beth to look forward to in the future in her own life, are there not? If Beth has children, she can see her own children get married and have children. If Beth has a career, she can gain satisfaction in it. If she has hobbies, she can enjoy them. Yes, half of her adult life may be over, but there is the other half to be lived too.

  2. Thank you, as always, for your comments. It is not that Beth does not have things to look forward to, it is that the things she looks forward to now, are so different than the looking forward that happens in a young marriage. The innocence, the long (60-70 years) anticipated lifespan, the beginning of adulthood, have all passed for Beth and this gives her a sense of longing and pain. The reality of time passing crunches at her soul. Thanks again for sharing your experience.

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