The Wild Flower Girl
A. is nearly twelve years old, and I thought she was a little old to be a flower girl. I wanted her to play a major role in my wedding, but I was preparing for her to be a Junior Bridesmaid, or perhaps even my Maid of Honor. However, A. wanted to be a flower girl, and so I decided to let her perform in whatever capacity she chose in order to be a part of the wedding.
Then, the night before the wedding, I suppose A. got stage fright, as she decided she did NOT want to be the flower girl after all.
I wasn't sure what to do with this information. After all, I'd though A. was looking forward to her role. I explained to her that it really meant everything to me to have her as my flower girl, and before the night was over I had her pinky swear that she would go through the process, despite the fact she didn't really want to at that point.
However, once she heard the jazz melody of the processional song, and once she had the flowers in hand, she got really, really into the role of flower girl. Instead of just calmly and collectively walking down the aisle, scattering a few petals here and there, she threw them in the air with a dramatic swoop of the arm, she twirled around in circles to the music, she acted like a ballerina, and she dumped the remaining flowers on the ground. In short, she let her inner "class clown" nature sign and thoroughly "hammed it up," making everyone in the church smile and laugh - really setting the tone for the entire wedding, now that I think of it. Perfectly sweet and perfectly perfect.
The thing about it is - I had a feeling she would try to do something incredibly dramatic, and I made a conscious decision to allow her to express her theatric flair. I made her wear the dress and the shoes (though I did find a dress and shoes she actually liked) but I let her keep her clashing pink bracelet on because she loved it so much, and I didn't make her paint her nails blue since she'd already painted them multi-colored pinks and purples the week before. In short, I made compromises so that she would still have the freedom to be herself.
This freedom of expression helped A. do several things. First of all, it helped her make the most out of a situation she wasn't exactly thrilled with. It allowed her to creatively express herself and have a little fun with a task she originally saw as a little boring and overwhelming. Secondly, it helped her build confidence, because she essentially got to "put on a show" for all of our friends and family, who watched on lovingly with bright smiles on their faces and laughter on their lips. Finally, as A. dusted the air with her wild flower shower, I got to look around at the faces of all the attendees - and see how they were all looking at her with love and acceptance. I also got to see what was missing out of the faces of my loved ones - there was no judgment. Whatever the rest of the world may think of A.'s idiosyncrasies and oddities, she had a large network of family and friends there in that church that loved her no matter what. She belonged there, surrounded and supported by their love. And you know something else? So did I.