I shouldn't be here at Starbucks typing a blog post. I should be at home packing clothes and pajamas and hair bows and heels and jars of baby food. I should be making lists and piles and getting organized. But I'm not a fan of should.
I am a fan of weddings though. A big fan. (When the couple is in love and should be getting married, that is. Ugh, that world again. Should.) The problem is that the vast majority of my friends got married at the same time. One after the other over the period of a few years. And now everyone is happy and committed and popping little babies out of them or contemplating the commencement of this baby-popping-business. Which is wonderful. It's just that I miss weddings. And I'm in withdrawal.
But I have some good news. This weekend, I will finally get my fix! In just a few hours, we will hop in the car and drive to Cape Cod for a family wedding. Finally!
The last wedding I went to was almost a year ago. On my thirtieth birthday. I was nine months pregnant with Baby. I was big and round and happy in that pomegranate colored gown. I was the only bridesmaid, that fabled matron of honor. And I waddled down the aisle of that magical little church, clutching Toddler's tiny hand. She was a flower girl. She did a commendable job, my baby, smiling and skipping down the aisle, running to her Daddy when the time came. Up there, to the side of the altar, I stood, swaying, balancing on swollen feet, weathering the odd contraction, fighting tears, watching my oldest and best friend in the world marry her man.
And though I couldn't partake in the champagne revelry, and I couldn't dance much, the party was perfect. In the backyard of her childhood home, under a cozy tent. We sat at long tables decorated in fall fruit. We listened to speeches that ranged from emotional to inappropriate. We laughed. We cried. We smiled. We smiled a lot. There was a poetic and promising chill in the October air.
Amidst the flurry of activity, my focus was trained on two things. One, my friend. The bride. She was stunning in her blush gown and pearl earrings. Under the magical moonlight, her skin, dusted with joy and childhood freckles, radiated. Throughout the evening, she oscillated between her silly and serious selves. Throughout the evening, she clutched the hand of her new husband, a good man, a forever boy. I watched them. I studied them. Their commingling smiles. The affection and attraction and understanding palpable in the inches between them.
But I was also focused on another thing. Baby. Cozy in my big belly, fidgeting about, preparing to make her debut. (After a few false alarms, she would arrive two weeks later.) She was particularly active that night. Maybe it was the lively music or the electric conversation swirling about her. Maybe it was the unbridled happiness pumping through the blood we then shared. Maybe, she just wanted to join the party.
That night was gold. Not because it was my birthday. I barely thought about that. It was gold because of the family and friends and smiles and party dresses and music. And because of the love. It was gold because I gave my best friend away to a good guy. It was gold because Baby was there with me, reminding me of life, learning ahead of time that this world, this big, bad world can be a happy and friendly and celebratory place. It can be.
This is why I love weddings. I love the fact that time stops and worries fade and people smile and dance and for one night or one weekend allow themselves to be happy. Foolishly, fearlessly happy. I love that there is one day on which everything else begins.
Writing this post, remembering this night, has infused me with a potent optimism that causes undue reliance on exclamation points.
Exhibit A: I will go home now and pack! And try on party outfits! And remove cat hair from the car seats! I can't wait to hop in the rental! And sit in pre-Labor Day traffic! And listen to the melodic cries of my girls as they fight the sleep they need! I can't wait for a weekend of family fun and flowers and celebration and smiles! I can't wait to see the wedding gown and the bridesmaids gowns! I can't wait for the silly stories! I can't wait!
What do you love about weddings? Other than your own (if you're married), what weddings were most memorable for you?