(I actually wrote this on Sunday, just now publishing)
My brother, Derek, married his beautiful bride, Sarah, yesterday. I’m guessing their experience was a whole lot different than mine.
Any event that occurs during naptime takes some serious planning for a mom of 3 young boys. We had to be at the church at 2 pm, right in the middle of afternoon nap. I gave the baby a long, late morning nap and hoped that it would be enough to get him through the ceremony without meltdown. I had the older boys lie down very early so that they would take a short nap and wouldn’t be zoned out for the ceremony and pictures. They all took their naps and got up and dressed without a hitch and I congratulated myself on my excellent planning.
Brady, Sully, and two of their cousins were the ring bearers and they all had matching suits. They looked adorable. As the wedding was beginning, I stayed at the back of the church to direct the ring bearers and Mark sat in the front of the church with the baby. When it was their turn to go, I sent Brady down the aisle, his cousin followed him. About halfway down the aisle, he busted into a full-out run and then ran out of sight. I had to stay at the back of church to direct Sully down the aisle and Mark was stuck in the pew with Colin. As soon as I could, I ran to the front of church and Mark told me that Brady had ran to the stairway at the front of church and into the basement. I suddenly had a horrifying thought; Brady was going to run down the aisle as Sarah walked up it. I know my child well and I knew that this is what he would do and I almost cried just thinking about it. I couldn’t stop it, he was in the stairwell on the opposite side of church from me so I just stood there, horrified. I was wrong, Mark managed to get to him and avert disaster and the stunning bride got to walk down the aisle without a flying ring bearer. God really does love me.
Mark and Brady made it back to the pew and I heard the priest say, “Please be seated for some readings from the Bible.” I was doing a reading. Is that my cue? I wasn’t sure. I’ve been attending Catholic mass since I was born and I still don’t know the order of mass. I tried to make eye contact with the priest for guidance but he was looking the other way. Nobody else was walking up to the altar so I assumed it was me who was doing the reading. I shoved the baby into Mark’s arms and made my way up. I think I did okay and was relieved my part was at the beginning of mass so that I could “relax” (one never really relaxes when you have 3 kids, ages 5 and under in church.)
Within minutes, Sully’s incessant talking was on my last nerve. I took the baby and Sully to the very back of church for the rest of mass. The priest was hilarious and gave a beautiful homily about marriage. My sister-in-law came and sat with the boys during the vows so that I could go back to the front of church and watch. It was beautiful.
The rest of the ceremony finished without incident. Aside from Sully refusing to be in pictures, family pictures went quickly (just the way I like it.)
The reception was at the Waterfront Park. We drove up to see a big, white tent set up. It was lovely, my mood was not. It was 90 degrees and in all my careful planning, I had forgotten to eat lunch. Between my hunger, the heat, and my children, I was feeling a bit overstimulated. I made a beeline for the bar. I don’t get out much.
One drink in and I was still pretty cranked up and my kids were driving me crazy. When it was time for dinner I was excited to see pasties for the main entrée. If you’ve never had a pasty, you’ve got to try one. They were absolutely delicious and I was no longer hungry.
I mashed up a potato to feed the baby and suddenly the wind kicked up. We looked over the water and you could see the rain coming at us from across the bay, it was about to pour. Mark asked me if I wanted him to take the kids back to the condo. We were planning that he would take the kids back, but not quite that early. I looked at the oncoming rain and I remembered being at the same park 10 years ago. Grandpa had driven me and my sister’s kids to watch the concert in the park one Thursday night. I looked across the bay and it looked just like it did last night, you could see the storm heading straight at us. I told Grandpa that we should go but he said it would just blow over. It didn’t. We got soaked.
When Mark asked me if I wanted him to take the kids back I made the split second decision to have them go. I had less than a minute to get the kids to the van before the downpour. We didn’t make it. I got soaked. I saw my breast pump sitting in the front seat, but I decided not to keep it with me, I thought I would be fine.
Mark and the kids left and I was no longer hungry (thanks to the pasties)or hot (thanks to the rain), my kids were safely back at the condo, and I had a few more drinks. Turns out if they would have stuck around, I might have had more patience with the kids. Life was really good until I realized that I’m old. I used to love to dance, I guess I still do. I wasn’t out on the dance floor long before I realized I know none of today’s dance music. I already knew that, but I felt pretty lame when I saw my four- year-old nephew mouthing the words to the songs. It got worse when I looked up and saw a woman old enough to be my mother also singing along. A few minutes later, my sciatica had me sitting down (and consequently had me up all night in pain.)
At some point last night, I felt as though my left boob was going to explode and I seriously regretted sending the breast pump back with Mark. Within an hour, it was intolerable and I was afraid I’d start leaking, plus it was visibly larger than my right breast. I hovered over a toilet and manually expressed the milk. I’m pretty sure I’m qualified to milk a cow now. All ladies have hovered to use public toilets, hovering to manually express milk is a whole different experience, with your center of mass dangerously directly over the toilet. I didn’t fall in and I bought myself a couple of more hours.
I switched to water about 8 pm because my kids, especially the baby, don’t care if mommy has a hangover, they will be up at 6:30 am. One huge benefit to getting older, is realizing the importance of moderation. Twenty-two year old me would have drank far too much, danced all night (without pain), and been completely nonfunctional today. Thirty-two year old me went to bed relatively sober and popped up like a piece of toast this morning.
Towards the end of the evening, I found my brother and asked him if he was having a good time. He said it was all more than he could have ever imagined. I remember feeling the same way on my wedding day. I wish them many years of wedded bliss.