Archives for: May 2005, 03
The story in the news this week about Jennifer Wilbanks has been on my mind quite a bit. Jennifer went out for a run and caught a bus to Albuquerque by way of Vegas and was gone for four days, then called 911 claiming she'd been abducted. Then she recanted and said that she had cold feet about getting married. Sheesh.
Part of me completely understands her desire to run. Our society conditions women to think that getting engaged and getting married is nothing but joyous and exciting, and that becoming someone's wife is a painless transition. I tell ya, the process IS joyous and exciting, but it is also filled with anxiety not just for the wedding, but for the marriage - lots of questions come up about how to be a good wife, and the roles of a wife are not so easily defined these days, especially when one considers today's divorce rate. It used to be easy - keep the home and take care of the kids. Now? All too often we maintain our careers AND keep the home and take care of the kids. And it used to be that planning the wedding was simpler, too - the bride's family paid for it, and that was that. Since the bride was still living at home, she and her mother could devote their time to planning it. Nowadays, the wedding can be paid for by the bride's family, the groom's family, or the couple themselves. The bride probably doesn't live at home anymore, has a career, and may not live in the same time zone as her mother. Complicates things a little bit.
The last weeks before the wedding are crazy. There's so much to do, so many details to handle, and so many things that can go wrong. I'm currently stressing because last night one member of the bridal party called to ask if we can find a replacement. We have less than a month until the wedding and you wait until NOW to tell us you might not be able to come? And one of my bridesmaids flaked on me for today to go get her dress altered, then called me back to say that we're on again. And it wouldn't surprise me if she calls back to flake again. Grr.
We have three bridesmaids and three groomsmen - imagine the stress if the above involved not six people, but TWENTY-EIGHT? Yes, Miss Wilbanks has 14 bridesmaids and 14 groomsmen. And SIX HUNDRED guests. We'll have about 150. More than enough stress with that!
As much as I understand Miss Wilbanks desire to flee, logic and reason keeps me rooted safely at home, excitedly awaiting our wedding. Her fight or flight reaction provoked the opposite response, and she apparently bought her bus ticket on April 19th, and waited FIVE DAYS to use it. She left for her run with a fair amount of cash on hand, had a taxi scheduled to pick her up and take her to the bus station, and either had, found, or bought scissors to cut her hair before catching the bus.
I felt compassion for her until I heard that she had planned her escape, and until I heard that she is 32 years old. A younger woman I could more easily understand the desire to flee before her wedding - she may not have the maturity to deal with such stress, or the life skills to know how else to handle it. But by one's late twenties or early thirties, most people have better coping strategies than this, and would think "gee, maybe I should talk with someone about the stress I'm feeling" - her mother or one of her 14 best friends/bridesmaids might have been a good start.
I hope that the city of Duluth, GA does make her pay for the cost of the search to find her, and that she learns from this mistake. Her disappearance terrified her friends and family, and I can't even imagine what her fiancé went through before she was found. And then there were all the people across the country who were hoping she would turn up alive. I'm glad she did, but now lots of people are more than a little upset with her. She seems to have a great deal to learn, and I hope she WAITS to get married.