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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The little tuxedos

About six months ago we were delighted to learn that Don's younger brother was going to get married. To be honest, we had always hoped for this but never really thought it would happen. Not because he is ugly or a player, he is just a loner.  So we (especially my mother-in-law) were thrilled to learn that not only was he getting married, his future wife was awesome and a perfect match.   I don't recall the day that I learned that she wanted all four boys in the wedding, a wedding four states away and a 12 hour car ride. I could have, quite possibly, blocked that out of the forefront of my mind.  I think I still had PTS from our Arizona trip.  Eventually the time came when we had to get them fitted for tuxes.  I have to admit, it was a big huge pain in the butt, but once I saw them sporting a black suit and tie I melted.
We called in their measurements to the tuxedo shop and hoped for the best.
I took a week off of work. That may sound excessive but packing for a hotel stay for 6 people (yes I pack my husband's stuff too) is panic enduring. Who else would coordinate all of our outfits?  I tried to think of every possible scenario, blood, food, shart, which intuativelly all happened.  Road trips have changed since I was a kid.  My parents would set up a bed in the back seat for me, which covered up all access to seat belts.  After learning I couldn't read in the car, I usually brought along my walkman and the cassette tape I had made by holding it up to the TV during several shows like "You can't do that on Television".  After about an hour I wanted to die and I made sure to let everyone in the car know that.  My boys had their iPod touches, personal movie screens and any snack or drink they could ever want. Not to mention all the toys I let them pack. (Parker may re-think his lego set next time).
Don and I even joined the 21st century and bought a adapter to our iPhones.  When the guy at the Apple store asked me what kind of car I drove, I actually turned red and whispered "mini van". He asked me what year. I asked him, "Does it really matter?"  It was compatible.
It was easier than one would think, at least for the kids. For the adults, not so much.  After about 9 hours we were going crazy and decided to get a hotel. Despite our efforts we can never drive strait through.  I think its an urban myth that Don has created in his mind.  We have never done it, regardless to what he thinks.
Unloading all of our stuff requires two of the little hotel carts. Why? Because at least one child insists on riding on one.  Once in the hotel room, they do what every kid does, stand in line to poop.  Once that is over, they jump on the bed and want to go swimming.  I conveniently forgot my suit but remembered to pack Don's. ;)
After a sleepless night with some kid sleeping horizontally on the bed, we went down to the free hot breakfast. Parker had to hold his glasses up because he forgot to put them on the nightstand and Fin rolled over and smashed them.  I feel that we are a side show. People stare at us and I honestly don't know why. I  made my way to the coffee first, while Don searched for a high chair which was never found.  The sweet southern lady said " I see you have four little blessings".  I laughed. First because it sounded so cheesy, second because I was slap happy, and third because at that moment they felt more like a curse.
After they loaded their paper plates with food they wouldn't eat we sat down to a family breakfast.  It isn't hard to notice that we never do this. We sit down for dinner together, sometimes lunch, but never breakfast and now I know why.  Maybe its the early morning or the excessive togetherness, but the boys are fighting over bacon and cold hard boiled eggs.
Don seems to be ignorant to the yelling and whining and decides to make himself a waffle. He doesn't even like waffles, but that waffle maker gets him every freaking time.  He returns only to set a frenzy of waffle envy and 4 little mouths that also want waffles and guess who got to make them?
Once we made the 45 minute task of getting back in the van, we eventually made it to our destination. First we had to stop at the mall to purchase new glasses for Parker, which naturally were not under warranty and we couldn't "tape" them for the wedding.  The brides mother had prepared for us. She had a hospitality suite with every food they could want and games and toys.  Oscar preferred to run up and down the hall ways and despite my pet peeve for children who do that in hotels, I let him.  He loved it, and only got on a vacant elevator and pressed the up button, once.
The next few days were a blur. The rehearsal went as I expected it to. If I had a dollar for every dirty look my father-in-law gave the boys I would be able to support my Starbucks habit. Now I know where Don gets that "look" from and even I was a bit intimidated by it…unlike my sons.  After watching them skip, hop, moonwalk down the aisle in rehearsal I was worried about the next day. Very worried.  I wondered if she now regretted her decision.  My mother-in-law decided to have the rehearsal dinner at Dave and Busters. Good idea..in theory.  This place is like an adult Chuck E. Cheeses.  I don't possess the strength to keep the boys away from the hypnotic pull a video game has. And I am talking about Don too. * I will touch on this in a second.
Finally the wedding day came. We decided to have the little boys try on their tuxes. Jack's was ok.  Oscar's pants were more like capri pants.  Back to the mall we went.  What is odd, is that he isn't really in the wedding, he is only in a tux for the pictures, seems like a lot of work for a picture.
Prior to the wedding, we had several pep talks and at this point I was promising them anything they wanted. A new $500 app? Sure! Build-a-Bear? Absolutely!
I hired a sitter to take care of Oscar during the wedding and reception.  The best decision I have ever made in my life. I was able to chat with Don's best friend and Fraternity brother and learned some things about Don that I wish I hadn't. * In college, he did a 3 day non-stop video game playing binge only to stop to tie his bandana tighter around his head and to pee.  I also learned that no matter how convincing I think I am, Phillip was not going to fill me in on the secret fraternity handshake either. The wedding was outside on a beautiful golf course overlooking homes you only see in movies.  I was seated in the second row, conveniently located right behind where the boys would be seated.  The music began. Don walked down second followed by the other groomsmen and bridesmaids. I must admit, my husband looked pretty hot and I kind of regretted flicking him off at the free hot breakfast this morning when he decided (yet again) to make a damn waffle.  I suddenly had butterflies as there was a brief pause in the procession. And then I saw them. Single file, each holding a ring bearer pillow. I was overcome with emotion. They looked so handsome and they were doing such a great job. Nothing like the rehearsal. By the time they reached me Parker glanced up and winked and I simultaneously started crying.  It hit me that in just 15 or 20 years that could be them.  That can fly by. It has been 12 years since my wedding and I can tell you every detail, including what my Dad said to me right before we stepped out, or the feeling I had when I met Don by the alter.  I wondered if they would still get excited to talk to me after school or in that case work. How will I feel when there is another woman at the top of their list?   All of these thoughts clouded my mind and before I knew it, the wedding was over and they were headed back down.
The reception was great. Fin was the first one on the dance floor and the last one off.  Oscar did his version of a moshpit with a woman's leg which resulted in a bloody lip, and a bloody tux.  Jack fought with Parker and Fin about who got to slow dance with me first.  Jack won and we danced, which is more like a hug but rocking back and forth. I made a couscous effort to never forget this moment in time when I can hug them in public and when I am their leading lady.
Out of the corner of my eye I could see my mother-in-law dancing with the her youngest son who was now married. They too, looked like they were hugging more than dancing and I saw how happy she looked.  There seemed to be a sense of pride and contentment in her smile as she realized that her work was done. The long hours, or homework, baseball games, road trips and a million lunches has brought her to this point, dancing with her son at his wedding and retribution that it was all worth it. She doesn't have any doubt that her son will treat his wife with respect and unconditional love. Her second son certainly does.  It is a love he is familiar with because she has been showering him with it since the day they met. A day, to her that seems like yesterday. I glanced down at my youngest who, at this moment was seated at a table with his brothers eating cake. I took a snapshot in my mind so when its his turn to take a bride I can revisit this moment. Confident, knowing that if he brings her just a quarter of the happiness he has brought me, she will be the luckiest girl in the world.

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