Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Jig

Last week, I got a birthday card from my friend Natalie.  The front of the card showed a bunch of cartoonish animals wearing party hats in a conga line.  The inside of the card said, "This calls for a happy dance!  Happy Birthday!  Cha-cha-cha!"

She wrote a personalized message which included this final line: "Maybe, if you're lucky, Ryan will do a little birthday cha-cha-cha or jig for you, just to show he cares!"

I laughed out loud when I read that final line.  Natalie was making reference to an infamous family story that a few of you out there probably already know.  It's the story of The Jig, and it's worth sharing here.

One night, many years ago, Ryan and I met on the front porch of my apartment to discuss our wedding plans.  It was late, and Ryan was tired, but I was brimming with excitement about all the latest developments for our big day.  He listened good naturedly as I blabbed about the band, the bridesmaid dresses, and most of all, the reception venue.

"Can you believe we are going to have our reception at the Trail Dust Steakhouse?"  I gushed.  "We are going to be partying it up in a giant barn!  All of the guests will have to do country jigs with the band!  Yee haw!" I shouted and did a little jig in front of him.  "Come on, Ryan!  Get up and do a jig with me!"

Ryan was smiling at my exuberance, but he declined my invitation.  "I can't do a jig right now, Rachel.  I am exhausted.  But you better believe I will jig with you on the night of our wedding."

"Come on!  Come do a jig with me!"  I insisted.

He was laughing as he shook his head in refusal, but suddenly I was not laughing.  In fact, I was no longer in such a good mood.  "Ryan, don't be such a party pooper.  Get up and do a jig with me!" I commanded, irrational panic and anger suddenly flooding over me.

Sensing my change in mood, and not wanting to be ordered around like a show pony, Ryan said, "Rachel, I'm not going to do a jig right now."

I was beside myself.  What did this mean?  Why wouldn't he do this little favor for me?  Was he going to be a good husband after all?  "Just do the stupid jig!!!!" I begged.

Ryan was now completely bewildered.  He looked at me with wide, stunned eyes and said, "I think we both need to go to bed."

At that, I started sobbing.  "If you won't do this little thing for me, how do I know you'll do all the big things in our marriage?"

Can we say Bridezilla???  I must've been stressed to the max!  Talk about overreaction!

I don't remember how the conversation ended.  I do remember walking upstairs with a red and puffy face, and all of my roommates flooding around me in concern.  "What happened??" they asked, probably thinking that my engagement was off.

"Ryan wouldn't do a jig for me," I said and told them the story through my tears.

At the end of my truly sad tale, they looked at each other and smiled in relief (phew--this was not cause to call off a wedding), and then they told me to go to bed because things would be better in the morning.

In the years since, a few of those friends have called me in a tizzy when they were planning their own weddings, wondering if they were indeed doing the right thing, wondering if some tiny "flaw" in their fiance was a deal breaker, and stressing over small wedding details that do not matter in the slightest in the long run.

I'll tell them, "Take a deep breath--everything is going to be okay.  Remember when I freaked out because Ryan wouldn't do a 'jig'?"  This always prompts a good laugh.

Six and a half years in, I am very glad to say that Ryan does indeed do "all the big things" for me in our marriage--and he'll even do a jig for me once in a while when he's in the right mood.

Doing a jig at our wedding


  1. My "jig" was that I wanted Dave to be as stressed out about the invitations as I was. Which doesn't even make sense! Why would I wish that on anyone!??? I didn't wonder if I was making a mistake, but that conversation made Dave wonder what kind of woman he was marrying. We had one conversation soon after that where he suggested that maybe we weren't the good match we thought we were. But I was able to convince him that it was a result of stress, exhaustion, and a reaction to the new experience of birth control. And I no longer try to make him feel how I am feeling! :D

  2. That's a great story! Oh how us girls freak out about the little things. Thank goodness for the men in our life to keep up grounded. :)

  3. That story is just too great!

  4. One of my favorite stories! I remember you telling it to me when you came to see our show at pickleville and Becky whispering to me that you were a little insane. We laughed and laughed. Love you and the jig man! :)

  5. I definitely laughed out loud at this. Love you two!!

  6. I definitely laughed out loud at this. Love you two!!


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