Sometimes when I look into the future and I envision sending my children off to college or on a mission or watching them get married, I tell myself that I will embrace each milestone with grace. There is little reason to be clingy or get teary-eyed, I tell myself. It's not like the child is disappearing. And if I can survive living away from my mother, my children, too, will survive living away from me.
But this is all nothing but talk because I've never experienced such a big milestone.
I have, however, cried about packing away baby clothes, so if I'm being completely honest I will most likely cry when I'm packing up my baby's bedroom. They won't all necessarily be sad tears, though I'm sure a good portion of them will be. They will also be tears of happiness, I hope, at having raised a good, fledgling adult. They will be tears of worry, knowing that while my child's mind is full of hopes and dreams, their future will also contain a lot of trials and hardship (but definitely also beauty and joy). And, surely, "something more than [tears].... silvery blue, neither gas nor liquid..." there will be a flood of memories as well (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, chapter 32).
My niece Rosie got married on Friday and while I was mostly thrilled for her to start her new life, I caught myself thinking, "Darn it all! Now we have to share her!"
RoseMarie is a phenomenal person. She was born with a cheerful, discerning spirit, and, absolutely overflowing with the spirit of Elijah, she is passionate about her big, messy family. She is fun and helpful and patient and I have always enjoyed being around her.
She's found a rather impressive partner for life. I approved of Austin the moment I met him (not that they needed my approval) and was so happy when they got engaged! So I had to remind myself, in that moment of selfishness, that we're not losing Rosie. We're gaining Austin!
We're all so glad Austin chose to be a part of this crazy family.
At Christmastime, he and I shared a rather awkward moment together when I basically proposed to him for Rosie. I was just asking him a few questions, trying to get to know him a bit better, and I asked, "So, how many siblings do you have?" and he said, "I have three. Two younger brothers and a younger sister."
Then I replied, "Oh, how fun! I married an oldest child as well!"
And then he stared at me like a deer in the headlights and I was like, "Uhhhh...not that you guys are getting married or anything. Not that it wouldn't be cool if you did decide to get married. That would be fine. But I know you're not engaged. Whatever. It's fine. How about that sky? Talk about blue."
Somehow our conversation recovered without Austin running off to hide from me and then a couple of months later he did ask Rosie to marry him so everything worked out just swell.
Their sealer (last name of Hunter) remarked about what a beautiful, sunshiny day it was and told them that he hoped their marriage would be full of beautiful metaphorical sunshiny days and that it was all in their attitude. If two people have beautiful, sunshiny attitudes then their relationship will feel beautiful and sunshiny even when times are hard. It was really such a wonderful ceremony to attend. Andrew and I haven't been to a sealing since, I believe, Emily got married (in 2010), so it was fun to reflect a little on our own special day (doing proxy sealings aren't quite the same).
We got married in December, however, which had the potential to be miserable weather-wise (Emily, for example, had to contend with a bit of a blizzard on her wedding day (which was also in December)) but it was actually quite a lovely day out! A bit nippy, sure, but over all rather pleasant.
We were trying to decide if it would be better to chance having awful winter weather and get married in December or if it would be better to be almost guaranteed a sunny day but be melting to death at an August wedding. It was so hot for pictures (which I took quite a lot of because my kids were so cute in the outfits Naanii got for them)!
Josie, who got to be one of Rosie's bridesmaids, thought it would be best to get married in the spring or the fall, but I told her she'd probably end up getting married whenever it was the most convenient. It's not like I ever fell asleep dreaming of a December wedding when I was a little girl, but there are school schedules and work schedules to finagle, which can make timing things difficult. But we'll see, I suppose, what happens when her time comes.
|Zoë and I are fighting over what should happen with Alexander's hat (she wouldn't leave it alone so I just took it off of him, exposing his poor bald head to the sun)|
|It was so sunny we could hardly open our eyes...|
Here are my little kids without their aunt and uncles:
Later I'd insist on taking another picture of my kids together and my mom asked why. It was because Alexander was howling the whole time! He really is a happy baby and I wanted my pictures to show that!
Here are my little girls (who need to work on their posture (come on, ladies)) with Scarlett (my great-niece and their first-cousin-once-removed):
Here's one of Andrew and Alexander (with Uncle Patrick photobombing):
And here's one of Uncle Patrick's awesome hair:
Here are my girls feeling hot, hot, hot:
Rachel, Miriam, and Zoë got to be flower girls for the wedding, so they felt like it was a pretty big day for them. They couldn't attend the temple ceremony (only adults are allowed in the temple for that unless a family is going in to be sealed together), but Rosie and Austin had a ring ceremony later in the day where all the flower-throwing happened.
Here's my mom with my sister Kelli (Rosie's mom):
And my mom with Josie:
When I saw these pictures I said, "Oh, man! I didn't get a picture of me with my mom!" That's what you get for being the de facto family photographer, I guess. Many pictures of others, but not many pictures of yourself. Though my mom did call Patrick over to take a few pictures of our little nuclear family:
Here's Auntie Josie waiting to be called over for pictures:
Rosie was so well organized and had a list of all the different shots she wanted to get, but the parents of the small children in the bridal party kind of upset her list and insisted that we take pictures with the little kids early so we could get them out of the sun because they were all getting grumpy. Rosie's little brother James was the ring bearer and he was anxious to get going, too.
For how much work Rosie put in to planning her wedding, she really was willing to be rather flexible with things (even if she remained particular about other things). I wouldn't consider her a "bridezilla" at all. She was very mature about the whole thing, I think.
We left as the bridesmaids were gathering for a few pictures together:
And then we took just a few more pictures of our kids before hopping into the van and cranking up the air conditioning! I didn't feel like photoshopping smiling heads together into one photograph so instead you get multiple takes of the same photograph (you're welcome (also: how hard is it to smile on the count of three?)):
Rosie's reception was at Highland Gardens in American Fork, so it was a bit of a drive from Payson, but we got to drive past the Timpanogos Temple (where Andrew and I were married), which was fun. We also got to drive past the American Fork Hospital (where Benjamin was born). We used to drive past the hospital where Zoë was born quite frequently in Durham and every time we did we'd call out, "Say hello to the place Zoë was born!" and all the kids would say, "Hello to the place Zoë was born!"
Now that we live here, we pass the Utah Valley Hospital in Provo every now and then and we say, "Say hello to the place Alexander was born!"
But I think this is the first time we drove past the American Fork Hospital since moving here and Benjamin was rather excited when I said, "Say hello to the place Benjamin was born!"
The reception was beautiful. It was catered by Brown Brothers, the company Rosie has worked for for several years now. They did a pasta bar, which was delicious. They had a couple of skillets there with a bunch of stir-ins that they'd fry up for you on the spot (spinach and mushrooms and chicken and sausage). Benjamin surprised one of the servers for asking for mushrooms.
"More. More. More. A little more," he prompted.
Benjamin loves mushrooms (cooked mushrooms, to be precise (he doesn't prefer them raw)). Whenever he gets sick he begs for us to get mushrooms for him ("because they're healthy, that's why!" he told me one day). He ate all his mushrooms and then went back for seconds.
We killed some time before the ring ceremony by taking some glamour shots (technically just Andrew took them) for Josie's dating profile. She is so glamorous!
These picture are probably not going on her dating profile, but let it be known that she's a super fun auntie:
Andrew also took some pictures of me, but I mostly ended up looking just plain tired instead of glamorous. Oh, well.
We didn't take any pictures during the ring ceremony (we'll just have to see the pictures when the photographer gets them ready) but we did take a few after the ceremony. By this time Rachel really wasn't feeling well (so Grandma had come out to the reception so that she could take her home), so we just get Miriam and Zoë.
I had told the girls to ration their petals a bit, to make sure they were throwing a fairly even amount at the beginning, middle, and end. Rachel took her job very seriously and at the end of the aisle she stopped, turned her bucket upside down and hammered on the bottom of it (and I almost died of laughter, but kept things together).
Then the girls didn't know where they should sit down (and I didn't know either (it would have been a good idea to have had a rehearsal of sorts)) so they came back to find us in the audience and I had to pull them into our row as Rosie was coming down the aisle with her dad.
And then Zoë threw a little conniption fit because hadn't managed to throw all of her petals. In fact, her bucket was nearly completely full. I placated her by ensuring her that she could finish throwing her petals after the ceremony if she could sit nice and still until the end.
Once it was over, Zoë ran straight to the back so she could start throwing her petals. But first we had to take a few pictures of the girls chewing on rose petals.
Back in, oh, February, when Rosie asked the girls if they'd be her flower girls they asked us what, exactly, flower girls were supposed to do. I figured that at least the older ones would have known already so I said something about having to eat the flowers at the wedding. They believed me, in part probably because Josie, Patrick, and Andrew all agreed with me. And then Josie texted Rosie and Austin (who were on their way over) and they confirmed what I'd said.
The story took on a life of its own and developed a mythology. It was an ancient tradition of fertility to have young maidens eat the petals from the bride's bouquet, we told them. They were lucky Rosie chose roses, a non-toxic flower! Most brides these days do because we're aware of the risks (now). In the past people tried daffodils and things, but then the flower girls would get sick and die and it was awful. So nowadays we stick to edible plants.
The girls were practicing eating flowers without gagging all spring, mostly clover and dandelions (but I think they sneaked a few rose petals as well). Had our nasturtium ever sprouted I'm sure they would have tried those flowers as well.
They kept asking about having seen girls, perhaps, scattering flower petals in art and on television, but we told them that was a short-lived intermediary tradition that developed in the hopes of saving young flower girls' lives when we realized they were dying from ingesting inedible plants, but that now that we know what plants are good or not, the tradition is swinging back to its more authentic form. So, like, we don't really believe that the health of the flower girls after the ceremony is auspicious for the couple's life (if they stayed healthy it was good luck, if they got ill it was bad luck), but we do have the flower girls carry out the traditional rite of eating the bouquet.
Rachel didn't even think to google it until the morning of the wedding and she was like, "MOM!"
And then she quickly agreed that we shouldn't tell her sisters until the very last minute. They were both a little disappointed that they wouldn't actually get to eat their flower petals (though Rosie told them that they were more than welcome to try a few; she admitted that when she was a little girl she used to go outside after it had rained so she could sip fresh rose water and sample rose petals).
Anyway, here's Zoë scattering her flower petals after the ring ceremony:
She was following Rachel's example at the end...
Here's a picture Uncle David snapped of the cute little flower girls:
And my little sweetie baby:
I suppose this is a good place to interject the story of Josie's stint as a flower girl. When our sister Abra got married, Josie was around 3 or 4 and I was about 13. She got to be a flower girl and I got to be a bridesmaid. We'd had a rehearsal dinner, so we got to practice walking down the aisle and we both knew what was expected of us. But then Josie decided, for whatever reason, to cut her bangs!
So she walked down the aisle, scattering her flower petals in a beautiful dress our Grandma Layton had sent up from the States (finding dresses is much easier in the states than up in Alberta), with these stubby little bangs sticking up in the front. She was still cute.
And to think that I'd been a little frustrated that Zoë had somehow managed to get the velcro strap of her shoes stuck in her hair the morning of Rosie's wedding, mussing it all up. At least she hadn't cut her own bangs!
Here's Uncle Patrick, my nephew Matthew, and Josie holding Alexander, at the reception portion of the day (wedding days are long):
Here's Uncle David with Miriam:
And here's my mom saying, "I can't believe you're taking a picture of me again! I always look goofy in pictures!" To which I say, "Yes, Mom! You do look goofy in pictures...if you do that!"
But when you act natural you look beautiful!
My mom wore my cousin Mindy's prom dress. It's from the 90s (did the sleeves give it away?). Rosie's dad's girlfriend Alicia wore a dress that she'd found in a second-hand shop in China while she was travelling for work. It's from the sixties (and it was gorgeous).
Poor Alexander is working on getting yet another tooth, so he was chewing on everything:
Zoë spent a lot of time colouring with Scarlett:
|Scarlett, Zoë, Amy and Stephen|
But once the dancing portion of the evening started, the kids were all determined to dance until they dropped. Rosie and Austin were good sports and allowed Benjamin to dance with them quite a bit.
He made Rosie a beautiful card (which we forgot to take with us; it's just sitting here on the counter) on which he drew several "couples" doing various things. There's a couple surrounded by a heart, a couple holding hands, and a couple on a rollercoaster.
I asked him to explain his card to me and he said, "That's me and Rosie in a heart. That's me and Rosie holding hands. And that's me and Rosie riding a roller coaster on her wedding day. I'm just so excited for Rosie's wedding!"
"Well, what about Austin?" I asked.
"I don't know what he's going to do that day," Benjamin said. "Rosie and I are going to be busy!"
He held her hand as much as he could.
I danced over on the side with my girls (and Alexander):
Josie doesn't particularly enjoy dancing, but she was a good sport and participated in the bridesmaid dance flashmob and then stuck around for a bit (she danced with our nephew Stephen and twirled around with some of the little kids) before returning to her table.
Eventually Benjamin left Rosie's side to dance with Scarlett for a little while (they sure were cute together):
David and I danced a swing number together (and oh, boy, am I out of practice) and I convinced Andrew to slow dance with me as well (why does he think I married a dancer—to be a wallflower?!) but mostly I danced with my girls: