This weekend, we used our house as a hotel.
The Jedi Bed and Breakfast, if you will.
I had hoped for a room overlooking the ocean. I had hoped for freshly baked scones and strawberries picked that very morning laid out on a downstairs buffet for my breakfast. I had hoped for a maid to come in to our hotel, to make up the beds and pick up the towels and fluff my pillows and use a putty knife to scrape the layer of hairspray off of the bathroom sink while she whistled a little number from Cinderella. AND I would have been more than happy to overly tip the woman had she seen fit to throw a load of jeans into the washing machine for me.
I didn’t get any of that.
What we got was a nonstop, action-packed weekend with enough adventure to make Indiana Jones exclaim, “Wow! I just need to take a Tylenol and sit down for a moment, because THAT is a WHOLE LOT OF GOING!”
Henley, you see, got herself married this weekend.
Back in the days before Hubs and I had the boy, we had Henley. She was a sassy, adorable, full-of-spunk-and-grit, dark-headed eight year old girl when she came into our lives, and we fell head over heels in love with her. Her mama (our dear friend, Lynn) built the most incredibly beautiful furniture a soul has ever seen, and, because she was a single parent, she needed somewhere for Henley to stay when she headed off to Antarctica and Africa and the Netherlands to DELIVER her furniture to buyers.
(And really? I think I exaggerated a titch, because Lynn tended to sell her pieces a little more locally.)
Hubs and I gave Henley the extra bedroom in our house, and she spent AT LEAST one week with us EVERY! SINGLE! MONTH! Hubs and I loved our “on” weeks as parents, because low! Henley is one of those girls who CANNOT SIT STILL, so, even at the age of eight, she was always BUSY GOING.
And by busy going, I mean that Henley did our dishes, cleaned our bathrooms, vacuumed our floors, scrubbed out my microwave and let me know when the yogurt containers in the refrigerator had expired. We loved her, and not just because she was the best child labor either of us had ever seen.
We loved that kid because she was perfect, and she made our very young hearts swell with happiness. We fondly called ourselves her second set of parents. In a way, she was our firstborn.
Henley was twelve when our boy was born, and he could never decide whether she was his sister or his mama, because she did BOTH JOBS so well. She changed diapers, she rocked him to sleep, she gave him bottles and strained pears, and she fought with him over the remote control to the TV when she had no desire to watch The Wiggles on video for the seventy-second time in a row.
Back in the day, these were our kids.
And then, as all kids do, Henley grew up on us and took herself off to college. She continued to send the boy postcards from school, along with collegiate sweatshirts and T-shirts and stuffed animal mascots.
And this weekend, Henley married JP, and they asked the boy to be their ring bearer.
On Friday night, we had the rehearsal, so that everyone could practice getting married. Hubs and I took Way Cool, Jr. to the event.
The groomsmen welcomed the boy into their midst with lots of handshakes and high-fives and inappropriate jokes for an eleven-year-old, which he was thrilled (PLUM! THRILLED!) to repeat to Hubs and I later.
What made ME giggle at the rehearsal is just the differences between boys and girls. The bridesmaids didn’t NEED to practice the wedding; they ALREADY KNEW where to stand, and how they’d hold their flowers, and how they’d elegantly raise their champagne flutes at the reception for toasts. Girls just know this stuff. It probably comes from all the years of marrying Barbie off to Ken, while Skipper stood nearby in her fanciest dress. THE GUYS were the ones who kept asking, “Where do I stand? What are we doing?” Maybe if they’d brought GI Joe in and courted Barbie a bit, they would have been a little better at understanding their roles in the wedding.
Henley and JP practiced what they’d say to one another when the REAL wedding rolled around. I think JP said, “And I promise to love you in sickness and in health; and I promise to give you a back rub twice a week, and never leave empty soda cans on the floor by the recliner. I also promise to help carry in all the big loads of groceries and fix the dishwasher when it makes that crazy sound and never try to change the television channel while you’re glued to The Bachelor.”
After all the practicing was done, the wedding party split for the local golf course, where we sat on the patio, right in front of the gas fireplace, and sipped wine and ate fajitas and talked and laughed until our sides ached and our facial muscles had cramps and the night was very late.
Plus, Henley and JP had wrapped up a hardbound book on Star Wars for the boy, which he enthusiastically ripped into. And then he whispered, “Henley always knows what I like!”
So really? Wine. Fajitas. Good friends. A Star Wars book. It was the perfect evening. And then we came home and realized that NO, SIR! The maid had ABSOLUTELY NOT cleaned our bathroom sinks.
On Saturday morning, Hubs was up early to head to our church, because we were having an enormous outdoor service and pig roast the following day. He and Sister’s Husband and our good friend, Scott, were busy setting up gigantic tents and getting the roaster ready. So, while they were otherwise engaged, Sister and I snagged our darling friend, Riley, who was in town for Henley’s wedding, and we headed on a fifteen-mile road trip to visit a local antique shop, because understanding the fine art to tent post placement and smacking a pig in the head and throwing him on the roaster is not exactly our cup of tea.
But shopping? Sweet mercy, but I can shop!
And then…THEN! We were back at the church, and Riley and Sister were off for their next activities (which involved a hair salon), and my darling friend Christy and I sat by ourselves under the tents at the church and chatted for two and a half hours, while our boys played in the weeds. We talked and talked and talked; we laughed hysterically; we teared up and cried. It was everything a conversation should be with a fantastic friend.
And then! It was a mad rush to get through the shower and get dressed and cram the boy into his tuxedo, because we had to be back at the golf course for wedding photos.
And look! Just look at the dress that Henley said YES to!
And my adorable friend, Riley (who just happens to be Henley’s cousin) was in town for the wedding, with her husband, Roberto. It was so, so, SO good to see them and hug their necks. Plus…Roberto is from Italy, and Roberto has impeccable Italian manners, so he NEVER, EVER lets your glass of sangria run low.
It was on to the wedding with the cutest ring bearer EVER.
And Hubs made a comment later, too, while he was very, very quiet. He looked at me and said, “Man! My heart hurts with a little sadness right now, because our little girl just got married.”
Oh, Hubs! I felt the exact same way!
Walking in the grass with them IS PURE TORTURE! The bridesmaids didn’t waste any time kicking them off, because they are very smart girls.
While he was busy smiling and posing just so, Patrick waited for him in the grass.
Henley wanted pictures of everyone jumping, but no one could remember…
…do we jump ON two or ON three? Is it One, Two, JUMP? Or is it One, Two, Three, JUMP? It was more difficult than figuring out the stock market.
Finally, the professional photographer said, “Who is this crazy woman behind me with the camera, who keeps getting in my way?” And after that, he said, “I’ll say, ‘One, Two, THREE,’ and THEN you jump! Don’t jump ’til you hear the word THREE!”
The boys? Oh, they understood that they should be GETTING READY TO JUMP when the photographer said the word TWO. On the word TWO, the boys were crouched and ready to spring. The girls, on the other hand, never did figure it out. Silly girls; they just jumped whenever the mood struck them.
And then it was off to the reception, which was, hands down, the MOST BEAUTIFUL PARTY I have ever, ever, EV-AH been to, because Lynn and Henley know all about AMBIANCE and MOOD LIGHTING and A BUFFET THAT WILL MAKE YOU WEEP WITH FOOD GOODNESS.
And by food goodness, I mean that there were some stuffed mushrooms there that had me at HELLO. And also? Roberto kept filling up my sangria glass!
And neither did the boy and Patrick! They had a blast dancing around and using the disposable cameras left on the tables to take umpteen thousand photos of the crowd.
Hubs was only at the reception for a bit, because he had a pig to cook. He and Sister’s Husband sat in lawn chairs in the field next to our church ALL! NIGHT! LONG! and added briquettes to the fire and only talked about (as far as I understand) hunting and football and pigs.
Can you even imagine HOW MANY DIFFERENT SUBJECT MATTERS would have been covered if GIRLS had sat beside a pig roaster for ten straight hours?!
More than three.
By 9:00 Sunday morning, Hubs was exhausted but happy. Here he is with Sister’s Husband. I’m fairly certain that they both have a mouth filled with pork fat.
And then, because we really like to shove just as much action into a single weekend as we can, the boy and I hopped on over to Christy’s house for a while. Our boys swam, and Christy and I picked up our two-hour conversation from the day before.
We didn’t even mention hunting, football or pigs.
Happy Monday night, people.