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|