“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to get through this thing called life…..” I remember those words spoken back in the day listening to Prince on the 80s throwback. It was my sister and I having a makeshift dance party in our family weight room. It was my dad screaming to turn the music down. It was always our escape during forced family time, when my dad controlled what we watched on TV, and the times Skipper and I wanted no part of it.
This weekend Prince died, and Skipper was having her bridal shower. Both are a sign that time passes, and both a funeral and a wedding have odd ways of bringing the crazy out in everyone. Let’s go crazy, eh?
Weddings as I mentioned are stressful, and this event in general was stressful. Weeks before, at the edge of a near breakdown, my Aunt Marie sent me a rambling email about setting up. She advised me to bring a track suit and then change into my clothes there. I replied to her email, but apparently she didn’t get it because she called my mom. Apparently her daughter Kelly didn’t get it because I got another facebook message wanting to know if I would come and set up.
Aunt Marie is my sister’s Godmother. She is well intentioned but sometimes high strung. Then again, of course she would be super high strung. This was a big event, and the opening act to the main event…..the wedding.
Of course I will come and set up. It’s my sister’s wedding. I am The Maid of Honor, aka family member who gets to sit near the bride and act as her indentured servant at all wedding events. Yes, I have only put this wedding on a physical timeline, prodded my parents and sister to complete the guest list, and make people stick to their deadlines. This wedding only haunts me in my sleep. Yeah, I’m there.
The other stress of the weekend was Boomer, my sister’s fiancé, had his parents coming to town to meet my parents. They had to go to some of the wedding appointments with my mom, and make some wedding decisions. However, their flight from Boston was delayed, and my mom was flipping out because they had appointments to go to. It all worked out, but it was one more stressor.
While the parents were doing wedding stuff, I cleaned the kitchen and vacuumed as well as scrubbed and did a load of dishes. I felt like this was going to kill me, and in no way am I ready to be a domestic engineer. My mother was pleasantly surprised, but my father felt it was still too dirty. I freaked out. I had only spent all day cleaning.
Diplomatically my mother informed me that there was always a new level to clean, and the house had to be perfect for the man party. It was in part so my father could show off his newly renovated man cave. So there was MORE cleaning to be done. And kindly she informed me that at a time like this, there was always MORE CLEANING. Nevermind my parents have spent the better part of the year using their weekends for home improvement projects regarding this wedding. And the fact they changed my childhood room around. Yeah, it looks cleaner than when a teen lived there but damn, I have never felt so violated.
Fortunately the Nelson’s turned out to be lovely people. Mr. Nelson is an engineer, and Mrs. Nelson works with people who have diabetes. Gentle spirits, they too were from large families. They too were stressed about this wedding. At least we were all connecting on that level.
The next day was the shower, and to say the lid was about to blow off the stress pot was an understatement. Skipper went to the salon to have her hair done, and I my mom and I decided to have the wedding timeline meeting with her. During the course of the meeting, I found out one of my sister’s bridesmaids, a young woman who is a trauma surgery fellow, cannot get off for the wedding. However, she is coming in days early just to help out and spend time with my sister. As I was planning, my head nearly exploded.
“I need to know about conforming bridesmaids!” I snapped as I began to chart the weekend. My mom snapped back at me. I had other wrinkles to sort out, such as the fact each girl would need 45 minutes on their hair and the hair dressers had to come at 8 AM to get started. Someone who wanted to act rogue was on their own. When I am in a planning phase I am akin to General Patton on the Peninsula. Don’t get in my way, bitches!
Yeah, I know it’s not my wedding but at this point it’s like I am this far in the foxhole, might as well lead the charge.
I got ready to go to the hall, and my cousin Kelly was supposed to retrieve me. Aunt Marie had been planning this event and now we were down to the wire. However, the clock ticked and she was late. My dad and I plotted on what to do, as Skipper was having her final dress fitting. He advised me to stay calm, weddings made everyone crazy.
“Why is that?” I asked.
“It’s because they are looking for an excuse to be crazy and finally have one.” He informed me. Seconds later, Kelly pulled up to rescue me from a possible impromptu cleaning project involving the man cave.
Kelly apologized, she had to pick up a prescription of horse pills because apparently she somehow in her travels contracted shingles. It’s always a question of what isn’t happening when these things go down. When we got to the hall, Aunt Marie was wearing the proverbial captain’s jacket and gave us orders. To say the place looked beautiful was an understatement. She and my Uncle Frank really outdid themselves. I mean really.
They handmade the decorations hanging from the ceiling, and they also handmade the party favor margarita glasses with bath salts and other treats in them that said, “From my shower to yours.” My mouth hung open in pleasant surprise. Perhaps this was going to be a party and not D-Day as initially dreaded.
Guests came in, and Kathi, a fellow bridesmaid and high school bestie of my sister’s, helped me intercept the present as soon as the women entered. That way they could put on their name tags and socialize. While Skipper and I knew some of the people present from growing up, others were relatives coming from afar. This is the blessing and curse of having a huge family because you always have to pose the awkward question of, “How are we related again?”
Everyone was really nice and the event went smoothly. A lot of people came because they had known my grandmothers, and they had come to their children’s weddings. Others to my pleasant surprise actually have been following my exploits on social media. Many spoke about my dad as a little boy.
Of course the second there was an inkling of down time it was back to work aka opening the presents. Yes, WORK. Kathi and Kelly handed the presents and disposed of the wrapping paper and made a bow. Skipper shined like a diamond as she opened them. And I, sitting to her right, painstakingly catalogued everything. The entire time I took copious notes hoping my ipad would not melt down or crash.
Skipper made out like a bandit. She got so much cook ware that with her medical degree I somewhat worried that if she had trouble paying off her student loans she might resort to cooking meth. But then I remembered she was a good kid. However, she got enough liquor decanters to make many an alcoholic in my genetic line jealous.
However, all jokes aside, she lit up the place and was kind and gracious as ever. Sure, there have been times I have wanted to strangle her in the planning of this wedding, as she is not one to make a decision easily. At the same token, she has grown up into a nice young lady and I was so happy for her and proud of her at that very moment. All and all, she’s a good egg.
My gift accidentally had a moment. I got her the cake cutters and matching flutes as per tradition for the Maid of Honor. I also got her a cake topper back in January from the party store down the street. Actually, it turned out to be too big to be a topper, but I had no clue what she still needed let alone who was throwing the shower at that point. My mother and I were worried it was going to be us before Aunt Marie stepped up. Thank God. Either way, I purchased it because it looked like Skipper and Boomer.
In purchasing this, I had no idea that the bag I would put it in would play wedding music. Either way, when I pulled it out, music played. It was a WTF moment. The whole room ooed and awed at my present. Yes, we all agreed it would be used for the cookie table. (the cookie table gets a blog of it’s own).
In any event, the shower was a success. Cleaning up was like climbing the last stretch of Mt. Everest. Skipper, my mom, and I wanted to go. But Aunt Marie and Uncle Frank had really put their blood, sweat, and tears into this event. It would have been wrong for us to bolt. Plus we had mounds of presents to load.
When I got back to the house, I thought I would get to put my pajamas on and crash. No such plan. There were some men folk straggling. I did what I always do when my parent’s have house guests, visit like a civilized human. However, it was also nice to see men. The party was wonderful and everyone was generous, but after a room full of women for several hours you want to see other civilization. It’s similar to when a chick arrives at a sausage fest.
My dad’s friend Dr. Reb was there drinking with Mr. Nelson, and we discussed the election and laughed. Mrs. Nelson told a story about how Boomer had snuck out as a child, and like a gentle soul she read a book on the experience about raising young men. The Nelson’s were different than my parents. We would have been killed dead had we done that. Skipper and Boomer both turned out relatively well, so perhaps everyone’s parents did a good job in their own different ways.
The next day was spent crafting 55 thank you notes. Skipper, being thoughtful but not so practical, wanted to make each one special. I warned her that she would get tired. She did as I dictated each gift from my master list and my mom addressed and then handed it back to me to steal and stamp. Just when we thought we were done, we had failed to account for the gifts that were shipped to the house, aka shadow gifting. And then Skipper had a few envelopes with gift cards she forgot about in her purse.
There was added drama when there was a gift from one woman named Nanette. She had come with a group of my dad’s family members and no one knew who she was. So we had to call my Aunt Marie who was still in her glory over the shindig she threw to find out. It was a daughter in law of one of my dad’s many relations. Sigh…..
Just when I thought my day was over, my dad wanted me to teach him how to use social media. As I gave this sixty something year old a lesson as we sat in his man cave, I wondered which of the fates I had pissed off. Explaining twitter to my dad was interesting to say the least. He needs it for his job, and I wondered why no one else had bothered to explain it, but why ask?
All this was in between Skipper chronically facetiming Boomer as he spearheaded their house hunt, and her making sure he didn’t fall asleep in the car. Face to palm, these people had taken my last kernel of sanity. If I saw the color white, heard wedding music, or even the word wedding I was going to scream……..
Just then my dad proposed we watch Bridge of Spies. As usual, there he was controlling the TV clicker. The radio stations were all playing Prince. My sister and mom were on my last nerve. Maybe I could dance to Prince alone.
However, weddings are like funerals. You begin to realize you won’t have everyone forever. It’s just not the way it goes. Skipper was getting married. While I would be gaining a brother, we would never be able to hang out like this again really and truly. And if anything happened to any one of them, I would be devastated. The good part is, Prince’s music will live on but these moments won’t.
So I watched Bridge of Spies with my family in my dad’s newly fashioned man cave. My mom fell asleep half way through the movie. Skipper hogged the blankets. My dad and I actively talked history. We all agreed it was Tom Hanks at his best.
During the film my mentor texted wanting to talk. I told him he would have to wait a bit. The movie was just getting good and we were all detoxing from a long and stressful weekend. At the end of it all, they are crazy people, but they are my crazy people.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.”