She hears her cousin’s daughter is getting married and thinks, How nice. It’s been a long while since we’ve had a wedding in the family. Writes date in calendar: a long way off.
Gets invitation to wedding. Thinks, I don’t have to think about this. It’s still a long way off. Puts invitation in towering stack of get-around-to-someday-paperwork. Completely avoids imagining taking three little boys and a baby to a large social gathering of an official sort.
Comes down with a rare case of get-something-done-itis and goes online to RSVP. Starts breathing a little erratically when she has to choose a meal for each family member including the baby. Notices the words ‘formal or semi-formal attire requested’ and has a mini panic attack. Frantically Googles “appropriate wedding attire.” Reads the description of semi-formal and formal attire. Stops breathing.
Has a million other items on the must-do-today list, but has to come up with wedding attire right. now. Figures she ought to start from the ground up. Stares dejectedly at the shoe pile: play flip-flops, “church” flip-flops, and rubber boots. Remembers that there is a bin of hand-me-down shoes under Luke’s bed. Against all odds, there are black ‘dress’ shoes in all 3 of the boys’ sizes. She says a little prayer of blessing on her sister who didn’t let Drake go to church in flip-flops. Lines up the black shoes on the floor where they can gather dust and nerf gun bullets for the next four weeks and smiles a happy little smile.
Remembers the boys will need to wear something besides shoes and immediately loads the children in the truck to head to Kohl’s. Hasn’t been there in a very long time. Finds a dress outfit for the 4 year old, black dress pants for the older boys, and black suit pants for Russ—all on sale or clearance. Hopes her husband won’t mind. Goes home and finds white oxford shirts and ties to finish off the older boys’ attire. Not semi-formal, but certainly a step up from ‘the good jeans.’ Coaxes youngest son to try on snazzy new outfit. He flops around, sulks, and says he won’t wear it. She’s sure he’ll change his mind when the big day arrives.
Looks through Lola’s dresses and wonders if the no-white rule applies to babies and whether anyone would notice if the baby isn’t wearing any shoes at all…
Russ lets her out of the house without children, so she goes dress shopping when she is supposed to be getting groceries. It is much more difficult than she imagined. Buys four dresses at two different stores. While she is shopping, she picks up dress socks for the boys and a real tie for Levi (as opposed to the clip-on variety to which he has been previously subjected on rare occasion). Goes home and tries on dresses for husband. He eliminates one, she eliminates another. It’s down to two dresses.
Decides on the more casual of the two dresses. Goes to sister’s house to beg, borrow, or steal some bling so she looks a little fancier. Sister eyes the other (more formal) dress, asks if she can try it on, looks fabulous, and decides to wear it. Sighs. Wonders if the bling will be enough to make her look less like a tired mom.
Goes to Kohl’s again. With all four children. Returns two dresses. Picks up dress socks and shoes for hubby.
Talks to hubby about schedule. He can’t get off in time to drive the 45 minutes home, get dressed, and leave with the family. He’ll get dressed at work and meet her there. For the reception. She irons his clothes and gets everything ready for him to take to work at the crack of dawn the next day. She’s on her own.
The morning arrives. She takes off the blue toe nail polish and adds hot pink.
Thinks she has all day to get ready for the wedding. Checks email and sees that 10 books are overdue at the library and accruing fines. Frantically goes through toppling stacks of library books. Asks boys to quickly read the ones they missed. Chooses to feel good about supporting her local library.
Has a telephone conference with parents. Realizes she has to leave her house more than two hours before the wedding starts in order to get there in time. The boys need to start getting dressed at least a half hour before that in order to get out of the house in time. That means 2pm. Drat. Wonders how to feed them and keep them clean for hours once they are dressed.
Heads to the library drop slot. Stops to get a 32oz Dr. Pepper. Swears to go to confession later. And do another Whole30.
Puts baby down for a nap. Prays. A lot. Dusts off the boys shoes with a wet rag. Removes nerf gun bullets from inside. Gets all the clothes together for ironing. Sees a, um, foreshadow pass over her youngest son’s face. Irons and irons and irons. Rustles up lunch for the boys. They don’t want to eat it.
Packs Lola’s diaper bag with bib and baby food. Panic sets in. Wonders what on earth she was thinking when she RSVP’d.
Other unmentionable stuff. You’ve got to be kidding. Desperately searches for chocolate. Finds it. Eats it.
Remembers she needs a purse. Crawls in hot attic to find sister’s bin of purses. Voila! A little gray one with bling.
Takes one look at the boys. Pink sidewalk chalk. Really?! Throws them in the bathtub. Again.
Feeds baby. Fixes hair and make-up (hers, not the baby’s).
Starts the mad dash to get 5 people dressed at once. Buttons, tuck-ins, belts, ties (realizes Daddy isn’t around to tie Levi’s real tie), shoe laces, diaper and dress, dress and jewelry. Youngest son has a meltdown. Want an undershirt. Pants are too loose. Shoes are too tight. Tough cookies, son. Slips on the heels, grabs a scarf, and out the door.
Drives down the road to parents’ house. Poppy ties Levi’s tie. Bambi snaps some pictures of the momentous occasion. Sister (in fancy dress) hops in truck.
The drive (following Dad, Mom, and Ben) begins. A very relaxing, gorgeous 1.5 hour ride through the countryside. Green grass. Orchards. Vineyards. Wheat fields. Rolling Hills. Blue Sky. Scattered cotton-ball clouds. Adult conversation. Little boys singing VBS songs with hand motions. Lola angel.
Arrives on time at the vineyard atop a hill. Spectacular view. Spectacular setting. Uh. Ma. Zing. Weather. Uncle Ben and Aunt Shan help commandeer boys. Everyone behaves through a lovely ceremony. Lola falls asleep. Russ arrives. Family galore. Amazing food. A kid table and evening games with adult supervision.
At the end of the evening: sweaty, dirt-smudged, grass-stained, bare-foot, candy-filled boys load back into the truck. A jammied Lola snuggles into her car seat. Quiet sister talk in the darkness. Daddy and Uncle Ben carry sleeping boys to bed. She feeds Lola and sets her in crib. Falls into bed….
(P.S. I have an incredible close extended family on my Dad’s side (his 6 siblings on down). I wouldn’t have missed this wedding for anything. I’m off to family reunion today and will later share more pictures of both occasions.)