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Monday, October 11, 2004

Weddings, Homecoming Dances, and Rainbow Flags

So much activity this weekend, it's hard to know where to begin. But I'll start with the wedding. For months, the anticipation for this big day has been growing. Our good friend and neighbor's daughter, Erin, has been engaged for the past year, after a seven year courtship with Joe. I have to give it to them; they've been together since their senior year in high school, and have always known what they wanted. They graduated, went on to colleges on opposite coasts; he on the east, she on the west, maintained a long distance relationship throughout, got their degrees, started their careers, and now, were finally getting married.

A year ago, at the engagement party, Erin asked Caris if she and her best friend Taryn would sing at the wedding. Caris was honored. So now, for the past 5 months, Caris and Taryn have been practicing. This isn't something that's new to them, after all, they are performers. BUT, this is the first time they're singing at a wedding AND the first time they're singing in another language. When Erin's mother asked them to sing "Ave Maria" (Gounod), their faces turned ashen. They smiled politely, and then got to work quickly.

Erin comes from a rather large Irish-Catholic family. One of her uncles is a priest, and her great aunt is a nun; now retired. And then there's Aunt Mary. She's the loud, brash, aunt that doesn't have any trouble speaking her mind. She drinks like a fish and swears like a longshoreman. Despite all that, Mary's the family matriarch and when she says "jump", everyone says "how high?" Caris and Taryn were worried about whether Erin and her mom would like their singing and I remember reminding them that they didn't have to worry about Erin and her mom, they should worry about Aunt Mary.

Saturday comes, the day of the wedding. The girls are nervous. Charlie and I are nervous for them. But I've been listening to them sing this song now for months, and I'm confident they have nothing to worry about. They sound like angels; literally. Sure enough, Aunt Mary is in the front row, on the bride's side, and she wastes little time reprimanding roudy cousins in the pews behind her. Every now and then, she reaches behind her to put a deathgrip on the knee of Erin's uncle Patrick, who is laughing and smirking about something. She gives the pewful of other uncles the stinkeye if they so much as snicker. After the bride and groom take their vows and approach the alter to light their unity candle, Caris and Taryn step up to the podium to sing. The cathedral quiets and the girls begin to sing in perfect, beautifully blended harmony. When they're done, Aunt Mary turns to me and says "Exquisite!" I didn't realize until that moment that I had been holding my breath and thankfully, upon her approval, I let go. I looked up at the girls and winked at them. All was good.

After the ceremony, outside the church, Aunt Mary came over to where Charlie and I were standing with the girls and said.."Girls, I was worried...but you pulled that off beautifully. It was just perfect. When I get home I'm going to call Aunty Rita and tell her how exquisite that was!" Aunty Rita is the retired, 90 year old nun, now living in a retirement convent in Virginia. Later at the reception, the bride and groom both gushed compliments at the girls and thanked them for their part in her special day, and then she exclaimed, "I just talked to Aunty Mary and YOU KNOW that if Aunty Mary loves you, then all is right with the world! She loves you, and she doesn't like ANYTHING!" Well, that about says it all.

While all this was going on, the Grommet was attending the Homecoming Dance at school. His first high school dance date. I had co-ordinated his clothes before I left, ironed his shirt and slacks, bought his date's corsage, briefed him on dining and tipping etiquette, gave him money for pictures, and then lovingly left him in the care of his date's mother. Still, I was sick at the thought of missing out on seeing him off. He didn't seem at all phased by it. "There'll be other dances Mommy. Don't worry about it." Later that night, after we got home from the wedding and reception, I asked him how his night went. He glowed and said he had a BLAST! "How did your date like it?" I inquired. "I dunno. She ditched me as soon as we got there. But I don't care. I danced with EVERYONE! Next time, I'm gonna go alone!" Lesson learned.

On Sunday, Averie went to the swapmeet and while she was there, bought four new charms for my Italian Charm Bracelet. I had four "blanks" on my bracelet and had been wanting to fill those empty spaces. But Averie knows that I'm pretty picky about my charms. I don't just buy anything to fill blank spaces. They REALLY have to hold special meaning to me. There are 20 charm spaces on my bracelet and it's taken me almost two years to collect the 16 that I already have. I listened as she explained why she chose the ones she chose:

A castle by the sea: Because you dream of having a little house on the beach in Mexico someday.

Abalone Shell: Because you love mother of pearl and it looks so pretty against your skin.

"I love Hockey": To go with your "Hockey Mom" charm, and I couldn't find one that said "Drama Mama".

But this is the one that REALLY made me smile:

A Rainbow Flag: For all your Blog Buddies. Cuz I know you love them.

How perfectly fitting. I can't think of a better charm to complete the circle of love around my wrist. She's such a smart girl.


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