Thursday, June 21, 2007

First Family Vacation: Saturday

The big day! There was a non-scheduled plan to hang with Marlene while she dressed, but of course we were slow getting out the door, particularly since we needed not only to shower and breakfast, but dress up in our wedding finery. We made it to campus by noon, and the wedding started at one. Jarrah was in a mood, so David took her into town to get some sandwiches while I scurried upstairs in the student union to join the women. It was all very exciting, and I ended up getting to distribute boutinieres, carefully snap some amazingly complicated panels on Marlene's antique dress, offer lipstick advice, and generally behave like a bossy person of imagined importance, which is one of the things I do best. ;) Eventually, Gina and I carried the box of programs down to the rows of white chairs in front of the library steps, where I pinned white roses on the musicians and then greeted each arrival with a smile and a "Program for you?" That was fun. David had snagged some prime seats under a maple tree canopy, from whence we might have enjoyed the lovely ceremony except that Jarrah lasted no longer than it took to spot Teresa in the first few moments of the processional, occasioning gleeful shouts of "Teresa Parade! Teresa Parade!" before David was obliged to whisk her to an undisclosed location. I noticed that while the Dearly Beloved included many toddlers and babies, every last one besides Jarrah maintained a vaguely soporific state throughout the wedding, slumped on their parents shoulders as if sedated. After a while, I began to wonder if they were sedated, and wished someone had tipped me off to this handy wedding trick so that the three of us might have enjoyed the ceremony, too. David had to miss it, and I felt bad about that. I also felt bad that Marlene and James's first moments of greeting with the minister were partially obscured by Jarrah's departing screams. Sigh. It was a beautiful ceremony anyway, and I noted that one of Marlene's readers had chosen (been requested?) to read e.e. cummings's "I Carry Your Heart," which I myself have chosen when I was a wedding reader. Either Marlene and I have a psychic connection, or both of us saw In Her Shoes last summer. ;)

The reception was rockin', with a band called Lazy Boy and the Recliners jamming away when we reached the room, the center of which was adorned with a high tower of cheese and hummus, and all the crackers and fruit you could eat. There were bowls filled with something called "Mock Champagne"--no clue what was in there, but it was lip-smackingly refreshing. I loved that you did not have to wait to dance at this reception, nor interrupt your revelry with a slow sit-down meal, but could nosh and boogie in alternating bursts for several hours. I got to dance with the bride a few times, and I danced with everybody else a few more. I even cut a rug with a phalanx of toddlers, who wiggled their hips and were agog at this person who didn't seem to know she was a grown-up. ;)

Jarrah enjoyed herself, too, ate a great deal of the appropriately-named "Dream Cake," chased Jacob, and may have been dipping into the champagne if lifting her dress to flash her diaper was any indication. Hey, at least she had one on! The only tragic moment was seeing the older toddlers plotting to escape her relentless attentions, running away whenever she came near, or flinging her hand away when she reached for theirs in "Ring Around the Rosie." It hurt me to see how she could not be deterred, but lifted that little hand again and again as if there had been some mistake, clutching for nearby fingers, and finally moaning "Nooooo!" after the third or fourth or fifth time she was shaken off, but still didn't stop. My heart fills with love for her at times like these when I glimpse her unquenchable spirit. I understand intellectually that four-year-olds are toddlers, too, and there's no good reason they would want to play with a two-year-old, let alone consider her feelings, but it's still hard for a mommy to watch. Life is full of disappointments, and I am amused when she acts like the week is ruined because we're out of Yogos. Being rejected by people, though, is a very real hurt that never gets any better, no matter how old and logical you become.

We stayed until Jarrah seemed almost shell-shocked with exhaustion, and indeed she stared into the middle distance with her mouth hanging open the whole drive home, unable to muster speech. I'm sure she would have slept three hours, but we had to wake her after two to get ready to meet Teresa and Gina for dinner before our evening event. You know that Jarrah is really tired when she watches four adults consume hot rolls with honey butter and never even demands a bite, but she perked up when her mac and cheese arrived.

The post-wedding festivities kicked off at 8:00 at Brews Cafe in downtown Granville. You know a town is vigilant about preservation when even the Subway looks like the historical society. There was no one at the bar when we arrived (and we were late) so we strolled out onto Main St. in the sunset of a balmy June evening and joined the line at Whit's Frozen Custard, which was even mentioned in the Frommers. To call it ice cream would be to do it a disservice, so creamy and unctuous is its texture. We lounged at a wrought-iron table with our treats and people-watched, gabbing about the wedding and how happy we were to be there. Soon we were joined by another couple who had also found Brews empty, and our lively party expanded to six. I lay back and basked in the delight of being far from home in a beautiful place, laughing and peaceful.

Where was Jarrah in all that peace, you may ask? Back at Cherry Valley, with yet another perky Denison babysitter, Erin. Jarrah adored Erin, but I'd have to say she's the least experienced of all the babysitters we've experienced to date. When we returned at nearly 12:30 a.m., Erin cringingly noted that Jarrah had only recently gone to bed ("She said she didn't want to") and that she'd "had to use the restroom." That last part was unfortunately obvious from the stench in the room--apparently Erin had been overwhelmed by my diaper-changing instructions and had flung the dirty diaper into an open trash can. In the morning, I discovered why Jarrah's pajamas were all wet--her diaper was on backwards. Still, Jarrah liked her, evidenced by her plaintive call in the wee morning hours: "Babysitter? Babysitter?"

But back to the adults. Eventually, we all made it to Brews, friends new and old, followed by a rather strong Whiskey Sour since it was the last night. Marlene arrived still in her blusher veil, bearing an entire tier of wedding cake, with giddy, good spirits and a handsome, new husband. Much rejoicing and merriment ensued. We stayed until midnight and then raced to the car, fearing Erin might turn into a pumpkin and Jarrah would be unsupervised save for an autumn vegetable. I got a little teary saying goodbye to Teresa and Gina, who were leaving "at the ass-crack of dawn," to quote the always-eloquent T, but was consoled by the knowledge we’d be having breakfast with Marlene and James in the morning.

4 comments:

Jess & Yea Yea said...

What a day in the adventures of parenthood! Marlene was a beautiful bride and you looked fabulous!

Anonymous said...

Hey now, "ass crack of dawn" is GINA' expression. I MAY have picked it up from her . . .

;)

xoxox,
Tee

gkarmstrong said...

Thank you for kindly leaving out that it was childless GINA prompting the lovely Miss JDust with "do you see Teresa?" that caused the talking during the wedding.

And, yes, Tee is correct. "Ass crack of dawn" is originally mine. I have corrupted Tee in SO many ways.

Mary and Paul said...

What a fun day! I love the photos. The ceremony part sounds a lot like our experience last summer. Joy had to be wisked away at the last minute, too!

OXOXO,

Mary