Matt Knutson: Take time to celebrate what really matters

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, May 3, 2018

Things I Tell My Wife, By Matt Knutson

“I don’t think she’ll actually drop any of the flowers,” I shouted to my wife from the other side of the room. This weekend our eldest daughter will make her wedding debut as the flower girl for my cousin, and despite our attempts, has not yet mastered the concept. Thankfully, my cousin is very understanding.

Our practice sessions have resulted in little progress, as Sera stands at the end of the hallway while sending Gracelyn my way. As she walks, we encourage her to drop flowers along the way, which she completely ignores in the excitement to reach me. I should clarify, as we don’t actually have flower petals. Rather, we’re using torn up tissue paper from a recent gift bag. You’ve got to work with what you have, right? Unfortunately, that means our home is left with quite a mess when Gracelyn dumps the container upside down, leaving scraps of tissue paper somehow deep within the carpet fibers for us to continue finding a day later. At least we can say we tried.

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Thankfully, Gracelyn isn’t opposed to being a flower girl. In fact, she quite likes the title. A sly grin comes across her face whenever I mention it. More important to her, however, is the dress. In this case, it is actually more of an outfit. My cousin is marrying someone from Japan, so our flower girl has been requested to wear a kimono. The long, flowing sleeves paired with the dress-like pants immediately inspired our daughter to spin around the room with glee. She insists on trying it on every day to recreate that initial moment. I’m sure she’ll put it to good use around the house even after the wedding ceremony.

Though the attire looks nice, I’m more interested to see what Gracelyn will do on the day of the wedding. She walks a fine line between embracing the attention of others and shy grasping onto my leg when realizing all eyes are on her. You never quite know what version will make an appearance. When I took her on a run the other day, she embraced her Miss America alter ego and cheerful waved at every house on both sides of the street while I pushed her in the stroller. Our plan is to arrive at the venue early enough for her to feel comfortable with the wedding party and the space itself, that way the ice will be broken before the moment she’ll need to walk down the aisle. I figure as long as she makes it down the aisle, we’ll call it a success. Maybe flowers won’t leave the basket, or perhaps will leave the basket at one specific spot, but that’s OK as long as we don’t create a scene.

Of course, creating a scene is certainly not out of the question. One of the joys that comes with any young child being in a wedding is the unpredictable nature of their mood. Coupled with her natural tendency to be emotional, the wedding will likely significantly cut out our nap time routine. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so we’ll likely keep some ice cream in the first row of chairs as an incentive for Gracelyn to perform her duties properly. Maybe even a spoonful before she goes down the aisle will give her enough of a sugar rush to appropriately distribute the flowers as she walks.

The important thing to remember is that no matter what Gracelyn does at the wedding, my cousin and her husband will still be celebrating the beginning of their lives together. That is far more meaningful than any flower she may or may not place in the middle of the aisle. So often in life we get caught up in the day-to-day tasks that don’t immediately ladder up to the big picture. While you may not be heading to a wedding this weekend, take time to celebrate what really matters in your life for a few moments. Don’t worry, the tasks that are so necessary to create the big moments in life will still be there when you return to them after taking a few seconds to relax. We all deserve some time to appreciate the love that surrounds us, and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing if my 2-year-old throws a tantrum in the middle of an otherwise beautiful ceremony.

Matt Knutson is a communications specialist in Rochester.