When you attend the wedding of someone you’ve known for almost twenty years, you expect a few things. You expect the bride to be beautiful as she walks down the aisle on her father’s arm, looking at her husband-to-be. You expect the groom to look like he’s won the jackpot, shooting looks at his best man like he can’t believe it’s happening, and also can they hurry up? You expect to cry, fighting over tissues with your sister after you both spent over an hour getting ready, having both recently acquired a serious appreciation for fun makeup tips. And you expect it to be a total blast, regardless of silly details like how the food tastes (delicious), what happens when someone else shows up in all white (yup), or whether there’s a band or DJ (DJ, mama B and I did the Cha Cha Slide). What you don’t expect is for your 6-inch heel to break, after you’ve had a few drinks at cocktail hour, at the exact moment everyone has been seated for dinner, and you have no more than 2 minutes to run to the bathroom before the wedding party comes in. No it’s okay, I didn’t need that much skin on my knee anyway.
Generally speaking, I think it’s good to have expectations. There are the basic ones, like I expect you to let me know if I have food in my teeth, and I expect that I’ll wake up in time for work so I don’t break my heels while running late to the office, 2 days before I’m planning to wear them to a wedding (superglue/apparent fail). And I think it’s also good that some people in your life are set to higher expectations, like I expect you to love me even when I’m complaining for the zillionth time about the same thing, and I expect that I’ll always do the same for you and then some. Setting expectations is like a challenge, a dare to meet standards and be a better version of yourself. Expectations create this exciting future, shaping every little thought, like “maybe this time” and “forever.”
On the other hand, expectations can be a dangerous thing. They can be tricky, leading you into false hope and heartbreak, like reading “I can’t” in a text the weekend after everything was said. But in the same way reaching expectations pushes you to keep setting them higher, missing them is equally as powerful, forcing you to reevaluate what seemed easy before. The evil side of setting expectations is you have to manage them; you have to pull back when trying to anticipate what might happen in even just the next few weeks, like whether you’ll have to pick yourself up after getting swept off your feet all over again. It’s a roller coaster, trying to find a balance between setting and managing things you can’t predict, though to be honest, I thought it was supposed to be easier when you grew up.
It’s officially six weeks until the next wedding, for another lifelong friend, and since we’ve been using initials since high school, her’s get to stay my secret. I’m already deep in the wardrobe planning process, with a particular focus on footwear to save my other knee, and of course, already making a few expectations. I expect she’ll be a beautiful bride, walking down the aisle on her father’s arm, looking at her husband-to-be. I expect to be surrounded by love and music and dancing and love. And I’m also just going to expect the unexpected at this point, for everything leading up to the wedding. I may end up with another broken shoe, or maybe another broken heart. Or maybe, just maybe, everything will be okay.