A bridesmaid at 39 Bookmark and Share

The day I received a beautiful card in the mail from one of my dearest friends asking me to be in her wedding, I cried. She told me how much our nine-year friendship has meant to her and how much she wanted me to be by her side as she married the man she loved. To be her matron of honor is an honor that I have only begun to appreciate in recent years as I’ve learned the importance of strong friendships and happy marriages.

My friend and I both relocated to Colorado from the Midwest in our 20s, and we met at the tail end of that decade. We spent our 30s helping one another figure out who we wanted to be. She saw me through the death of my dearest pets, marital challenges (and celebrations!) and the exquisite fear and joy of becoming a mother. I was her “wing-woman” during her single years and helped her through tough career changes. She is truly my sister and watching her marry a wonderful man, who has also become like family to me, will be one of my greatest joys.

That said I had to warn her. The last time I was a bridesmaid, I got raging drunk and made out with the bride’s brother for hours after the wedding. Lucky for my Colorado friend that she’s an only child.

I’ve been thinking a lot about marriage these last few months. I’m old enough now to have seen many friends go through the heartbreak of divorce. I’ve been lucky enough to see the other side as well.

In August, my parents celebrated their 40th anniversary—a day that as a child I thought I may never see. My grandparents celebrated 60 years last year, and I have many aunts and uncles going strong at more than 30 years of marriage. It’s a testament to my generation (the one that experienced the first huge rounds of divorce) that many of my cousins and long-term friends have rounded the 10-year mark and beyond. The friend I watched get married in our very early 20s is approaching 20 years with three gorgeous children to boot.

The older I am and the longer I’ve been married, the more I appreciate what it takes to maintain a strong marriage and what a wonderful thing it is to have someone to grow old with. Regardless of your age, growing is what life is all about and having someone who supports your growth is priceless.

So even though being a bridesmaid at 39 feels a bit odd to me, I will relish the role. To my dear friends, I wish you many years of love and growth together. I hope your wedding day is a beautiful as your lives together. That said, I cannot promise to be sober. I may not refrain from dirty dancing at your wedding. And, I most certainly hope to have a post-reception makeout session—with my husband, of course.

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