Friday, December 28, 2012

Fulfilling a promise

In my previous job, I had a different blog called "Dirty Laundry," and I had quite a few readers. When I left my position earlier than anticipated, a bunch of loyal fans were sad, because they wouldn't get to read about my daughter's wedding.

They had been following the progress of my preparations to marry a kid off in my back yard, which seemed like a good idea when she suggested. By the time the wedding came around, I had become part of the Radio Works staff. I promised three people I would write a blog anyway and email it to them personally, which I did.

Now I figure its time to share it with the rest of you. Enjoy, and remember, I wrote it back in October:

I’ll admit, I’m a little behind schedule, but I’ve kind of felt that way since mid-July. Hey, it happens.

I promised a few people I would write this, but getting it done was harder than I thought. I figured after my daughter’s wedding, there would be so much to write about that I’d have trouble keeping things under the length of a novella. Instead I find so much of the weekend was a blur of chaos and motion that I have trouble gathering my thoughts.

There are certain memories that I will remember until my mind goes away (no sarcastic comments, I know sometime it’s closer to that than others). 

In the interest of not writing too long, I’ll relay just a couple of those memories. 

My daughter, as usual, was running behind schedule on her wedding day. She has been since birth. I was literally hollering up the stairs to get her going. That is right. On Maggie’s important day, Mom was yelling, “The photographer is here and you’re late! Your hair is fine. Get your butt down here!”  Moving, isn’t it?

When she came into the kitchen, I saw a cloud of white out of the corner of my eye and barked, “Let’s go, Margaret – they’re waiting for you outside.” Then I turned and looked, and my heart and the world stopped.
Oh, how beautiful. She was just beautiful.

Maggie has always been beautiful both inside and out, but that day she was radiant. She took my breath away. All I could do was stare and give her a goofy smile. Then I dragged her into the living room. Her two little brothers in their usher outfits were having a last-minute practice of the song they would sing during the ceremony. Both growled slightly when I interrupted, then they looked up, saw their big sister and both let out a long, drawn-out “Aaaawww.”And they meant it – it wasn’t sarcasm. Wow, there is hope for humanity.

Even though we were running late, I made them line up for a private photo and had to smile when they lined up out of order. Family habit has my kids lining up by birth age for pictures. My brothers and I do it, too. But on that day, my two rascally, rowdy, rough-and-tumble guys gently pulled their sister between them and towered over her, looking down at her in awe and delight. Five years older than Nick and seven older than Matt, Maggie has always been like a pseudo-mommy to her brothers, but on that day, she was a princess for them to protect and admire.

Just in case you’re wondering, that wore off by the end of the weekend.

My next engraved-in-my head memory is one of our other little princess, granddaughter Layla. She was dressed in her pretty gown – hand-made by my dear friend Karen – and looked so cute. Before the wedding party started down the aisle, Layla and I were escorted down by Curtis Lawrence, who is Maggie’s sort-of cousin. Layla looked up, saw everyone looking at her and immediately decided they were all there to be her admiration crew. She giggled and clapped her hands all the way up the aisle.

You have to appreciate anyone that knows how much the crowd will adore her.

During the ceremony, she busily chewed on a program, the ribbons on her dress and my fingers. She grabbed at her Grandpa’s suspenders, flirted with her Poppy (great-grandpa) and added an occasional coo or squeal, just to remind people this was a fun occasion. The best thing about having the Layla Bean on my lap during the whole ceremony is that I was so busy keeping her busy that I forgot to cry.

An hour or so later, I wasn’t that lucky. My sister-in-law had confiscated the baby, and my husband Eric got up to give a speech. And made me cry. 

Mostly from shock. When did he grow up so much? He welcomed everyone to our home “on behalf of Justine and myself.” Weird… He knows the word ‘behalf?’ 

Then he talked about home. He said home isn’t about a place, but about the creation of a family. “Today,” he said, “Margaret and Luke are creating a home.” That was right around the point I got weepy. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t that eloquent a few months ago.

I laughed along with everyone else when he said it was OK to make compromises with your spouse.

“Every now and then it is OK to say, ‘Yes, Dear,’” he told Luke. 

“And every now and then it is OK to have your husband wake up to the smell of bacon,” he told Maggie.

He was charming and sweet and a little emotional, and I kept wondering where the pod people had stashed my real husband.

At the end of the day, when we had sent Layla away for the night with my parents, stashed our sons at the neighbor’s house, ushered the bride and groom away in their chariot and tucked the photographer under a blanket on the couch, Eric and I sat on the back step for a few quiet moments and looked out into the night.

“We did it,” he said. 

He interpreted my look correctly, smirked and rephrased.

“You did it.”

I just laughed and leaned on his shoulder, and uttered a statement I meant with all of my heart…

“I am never ever doing this again,” I said. “If either one of the boys wants to get married someday, we’ll give them money and tell them to go to Vegas.”


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