Monday, February 25, 2008

Do you take (insert name here) to be your husband?

Mac Daddy and I enjoyed a glorious weekend away...sans kids! Thanks to Nani and Aunt Ginny, we were able to go to Florida to see our friend Chris wed his one true love. Chris is quite possibly the nicest human being on the planet. Not in that he's funny looking with a crooked nose and too full upper lip kind of way. He's actually just genuinely nice. And awfully attractive. I mean it. Cute. Downright hot even. He and his bride make a lovely couple indeed. You almost expect to see them as wedding action figures atop every lemon chiffon cake in every hotel ballroom in America.

We all know that weddings host a colorful cast of characters. Only an airport departure gate affords better fodder for the Olympic sport of people watching. This wedding was in Tampa, providing different color than the chicken dance Midwestern receptions, preppy Palm Beach weddings, and stiff British affairs I am used to attending. Tampa offered a certain fromage factor that I hadn't expected. Some of the cocktail dresses were skimpier than the tankini I've resorted to wearing since my stomach never regained its pre-baby tautness (at least according the modicum of hotness that I think is required to be appropriate for human eyes at the beach). I have dangly earrings longer than one chick's dress. To top it off, she had Crystal Gayle hair, and I kid you not, the hair was as long as the hemline.

I can't comment on the male guests because I can't say I noticed them. A bunch of suits and shiny shoes. No white socks or zoot suits that I noticed. It's strikes me as silly that the E! fashionistas even bother with best and worst dressed men from the Oscars. Black tux. White shirt. Shawl collar. Vest. Armani. Dolce and Gabbana. Whatever. George Clooney in a tux is the exception. HOT. HOT. HOT.

The wedding gents looked resplendent in their tailored-to-order Men's Wearhouse penguin suits. The bridesmaids were downright superb. First of all, the girls were lovely. Really lovely. The bride must really, really love those friends for choosing a dress with a universally flattering cut and color that the women can actually wear again without screaming, "I wore this in a wedding once, but the bride promised I could get more use out of it, and dammit I will!" It goes without saying that the bride was perfection. No back fat or cottage cheese arms spilling out of that fitted lace sheath gracing her trim figure. Quite the opposite as she looked divine.

I was a good 12 years older than any of the women I befriended. 12 YEARS. A generation apart. They were suckling newborns when I was sporting purple hair and lace tights a la Cyndi Lauper. Nonetheless we had a blast yucking it up, but I fear that at the end of it all they'll remember me as the old drunk chick who was trying so pathetically hard to be young despite a pending 40th birthday. Maybe the fact that this was only our fourth time away from our children (Ever!) was all too apparent. Funny how weddings bring out the immaturity in us, while marriage is one of life's biggest marks of maturity. Blame the open bar for that irony.

One touching exchange I was privy to by sheer happenstance was during the ceremony when the bride's mom reached her hand behind her and found the bride's father's hand rest in hers for a tender moment. The clasp was longer than a heartbeat but shorter than a lingering grasp. You see, the bride's parents are divorced and remarried. In that moment they shared their love and pride for their daughter, and that transcends all. My parents too are divorced, and I can guarantee that there has never been so much as a handshake since their split ages ago. I'm pretty sure that apart from conceiving me and my brother, there was no hand holding or embracing going on. All that baggage makes for shaky ground when it comes to my own marriage and raising my boys.

All in all, the trip was SO worth it (and not just because Mac Daddy and I could sleep past 8:00, enjoy the decadence of room service, and eat dinner later than our usual 5:30). We made new friends, laughed at the mating rituals that I don't miss partaking in, and luxuriated in wine, cafe con leche, and lots of laughs.

A memorable moment was when young, handsome Grant was questioning taking hitting-on-the-ladies advice from bald Dave and grayed Brandon (both of whom are handsome guys themselves). We got the inside scoop on air traffic control from a guy who's served two terms in Iraq and is poised for a third. One highlight was the 2-year old ring bearer who was adorable in his mini tux, though he was totally uninterested in bearing any rings. He was a champ despite staying up waaaaaayyy past his bedtime all weekend. When he was approaching meltdown mode I could have lent a helping hand...but I didn't. I was enjoying my time away from Bird and Deal too much to step in to manage someone else's toddler. Go ahead, call me selfish. You know you'd shirk the duties too.

And then there were the Ivy Leaguers who could be spotted the proverbial mile away. No uncharacteristic boozing going on at their table, only erudite conversation and quiet lulls. Meanwhile our table next to them was full of friendly bickering, catty conversation, and wine sloshing. The Ivy Leaguers were PhDs who left before the band played the last song. I guess there's a reason those guys are so smart.

Lastly, the minister was the big surprise hit of the weekend. She was earnest and fun, mind you, but damn, she was the most brazen, snappy woman of the cloth I have ever encountered! The Birkenstocks threw me for a curve. She was so candid and free spirited with Amstel Light in hand. I expect I'll never again discuss the topics of lost virginity or homosexuality with a minister. Hats off to her for being human!

Mac Daddy and I have vowed to take more time away from our kids. We came home feeling refreshed. We've been back for two days and haven't lost our patience, temper, or car keys once. We realize that we missed our silly family rituals and appreciate each other so much more than when we were in the midst of our Sisyphus life. It's the familial, group hug version of absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder-sex. G-rated, of course. And don't even think about bursting my bubble.

Happy Endings, as Neil Diamond says!
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