Monday, August 4, 2014
In the wee hours on the night of August the 2nd I caught a quick glimpse of a shooting star soar across the sky.
The element of surprise was there for a micro second.I was sitting in my lawn chair in the back yard tilting my head back watching the night sky and allowing myself a pinch of solace from recent hours gone by, when,
my thoughts after the shooting star event began to seep into the quiet pockets of my mind-where the gate keepers stand withholding to anyone else but me.
There would be no wishing upon a shooting star tonight as it would be, I thought, into the silence of the night. Not because the opportunity of a the wish was lost in the speed of the offering, but, because it simply...
came too late.
The wedding ceremony started on a quick note, panicking me as to where I should be.
A holler of "the mother of the bride!" echoed suddenly on a summer gust of wind that hurtled through the club house and on up the stairs from where I stood.
I ran down the stairs in my black strappy heels praying not to twist my ankle and, not rip my gorgeous pencil gray dress with the speed of panic, meeting up with a driver of a golf cart who drove like a ninja to the awaiting groom and his mother.
There he stood, all six feet of him looking handsome as ever along side his smiling mother, offering up his other arm for me.In the seconds that we stood as three my mind raced the prior years with deep heart and images of strength and love between our families, and of the times together holding one another through hospitals with heartache and hope, and desperate spirit.
In that moment as if I hadn't felt it before....I knew ever more that I wouldn't want to stand next to any other family than this one.
And so, we began our walk as three, full of emotion along the path with aging fir trees hugging either side of the path and up past all the smiling faces of family and friends, upon a grassy hill in white chairs over looking the majestic flow of the river and in front of the picturesque mountains and, under the bluest of sky and summer fanning winds inviting one more guest....the soaring hawk.
Music began and the grooms men followed the path to a James Bond song as they joined the groom and JP at the flower laced arbor facing the river and the mountains.
The music starts up again, only now it is of such beauty and harmony.Lil, my daughter, leads the way for the bridesmaids, with her coral dress flowing in the wind and her long red hair and smile, moved my soul-I was almost reduced to tears right then, but, suddenly we all stood and watched my oldest daughter glide up the path with her father holding her hand, and with them, holding my daughter's other hand, was our two-year-old grand daughter in all her delightful glory,wearing a white dress of lace and a silk flower hallow of pin roses from which, ironically her own mother once wore at our own wedding-moons ago.
To know all that she's gone through in the last few years, my daughter and her own brushes of death, and then to see her walk with her own, young and healthy daughter with her father at her side...."ah," reduced to me to tears.
And with no one at my side to hold onto, I gazed the rows of faces for sight of my mother, who rightfully should have been sitting in the front row with with me, caught my crying gaze......
and returned her own tearful gaze with a heartfelt smile~
The beautiful ceremony ended as quickly as it began, a family ever bonded as a whole, though no matter, has always been.
The bride and groom exited the ceremony sight above the river to the song, "tonight's going to be a good night!" where everyone cheered and followed toward the club house.Which reminds me, a moment where I found amusing-the clan of golfer's in the foreground watching the wedding ceremony clad in Scottish looking golf attire.I wonder how many of them we'll laugh over in any of the wedding pictures!
There wasn't a stone unturned when it came down to my daughter planning this wedding, much like the beachcomber she was as a child-no rock was left unturned.
And no matter how much we all tried to help she took it upon herself to organize and make almost every aspect of this big day, giving us trickles of odd jobs and reason to sit and craft pinterest ideas with my mom while sipping coffee on numerous occasions.
Not only was the music chosen perfectly along with the DJ friend who later all taught us to dance to certain songs, but, my daughter also made a complete candy table full of clear bowls on stands full of every candy one could think of, delighting some of the most unsuspecting candy eaters lingering with full candy bags.
Outside the club house, on the wrap around deck was a photo booth, well, so to speak, with a box full of wild and crazy costumes and an old picture frame to take your picture with.This particular activity was very popular later that night, as you would suspect.
Sometime through the evening I walked back into the reception area to a charged up crowd of guests playing one of my daughter's planned out games.Each guest table was a team.The DJ would ask for a certain item and one or many for that matter, peeled like lightening from they're tables across the dance floor to the DJ.It was hilarious! just about as fun as watching the great many single male and single females vying for the guarder belt and brides bouquet! The images alone still make me laugh!
As the sun went down behind the surrounding mountains and the trees became images of black cut outs, many like myself, took to the balcony for the movement of the nights cooler breeze, leaning on the railing in conversation and the occasional look out over the darkening green.
It was good to see old friends again, we all reminisced the days gone by when we all were only setting out in life! We had some real hell raiser nights! that's for sure! ripping up the dance floors to bands like Bon Jovi and Poison all over Vancouver and laying cities! course, those days are gone, though, oddly enough I see those days return when our own kid's blare tunes the likes of Acdc and Kiss, to my ever so youthful heart.
Whoever hadn't left soon after sundown, or after the dinner and first dances and slide show, were up on the dance floor and mingling on the patio.
My brother had gotten his wish later in the night upon his exit to the parking lot, he set off a few hand held sparklers to ring in the marriage to many watching and cheering from the balcony.
As for my grand daughter....I'll always be amazed at how much she appears to be quite the little host of events.
Nearing the age of three, she danced the entire night away, dragging anyone and everyone off their chairs to the dance floor.She even followed my brother ( great uncle) clear across the room and into the men's bathroom before he noticed her behind him, or that I could catch up before the bathroom door closed behind them both! (ha!) He then scooted her out in a quick hurry to me.
Soon the dance floor was only but a few guest's left, whooping it up with the bride and groom.
I could see the little one fizzling out, sitting on the dance floor playing with her glow stick necklace.It was clear she danced her last moves of the night, just like her momma used to dance when she was little, to the end of the night.
It was time to rustle up the posy and head to our motel for the night.We had the grand-daughter, my other daughter, Lil, and her boyfriend, which was a sticky situation of which Lil's dad didn't like, however, we brought him with us, and I felt while his mother was away out of town a responsibility to look out for him, so, I brought a sleeping bag so he could sleep on the floor.
The motel we stayed at was one out of a chain of motels along a main road of a small town nestled against the mountains near the river, where, all the highways spread in different systems leading into the BC interior.
Many family members and close friends, including the bride and the groom were staying at our motel, others stayed at motels in the area, like the grooms family.All of the motels were full in town, in fact every place to stay was full from here-clear on down the freeway to laying towns and cities, being that of our long weekend.That being said, the great many of us were relieved for pre-booking months in advance, and were looking forward in laying our heads down for the night with the plan of gathering in the morning in the motels breakfast room for coffee and something to eat.Course, that wouldn't happen in the end.We were so close! so close to ending a perfect day unscathed, breaking a curse.
On the way to the motel the little one fell asleep in her car seat, to my relief.I hoped to gently roll her into Lil's bed once we arrived at the motel, but (sighs) she woke as we arrived in the parking lot, chattering it up like a grasshopper into the late night.
Needless to say I spent an hour in the motel watching cartoons with her while Lil and her boyfriend walked up to the Mac Donald's and back-a stones throw away.
Lil's dad finally arrived, catching a ride back from the wedding reception by our good friend's who were staying in the same motel.
Lil and her boyfriend came in just after him, jabbering about something I couldn't put my brain around, when, suddenly my husband flew out the room and slammed the door.My stomach scampered and tightened as I looked to Lil and J for answers.
Lil said, she had passed the bride (her sister in a heap of tears on satin and lace) and the groom in the lobby and found out the motel had given away their room.
And so the saga begun.
It was late.The TV chimed with wacky cartoon noises where the little one was drawn in, thankfully, munching on a granola bar.Lil and I ( my greatly mature seventeen year old) tried to figure out a plan to save the bride and groom and calm the father of the bride down, now in the lobby ripping a strip off of the old guy behind the counter.
Both Lil and I came up with several scenarios seconds later, though, neither was affective unless we just went home, leaving the room to the bride and the groom and opting out on the morning breakfast with everyone, which we were all looking so forward to.
In the end it was a no brainier, we gave up our room, though not before leaving with painful images locked up inside my head.
My husband had came in and out of our motel room at least two times puffing like a dragon, then disappeared.I had to become the matriarch of the family and gather up the kid's with a stiff upper lip, which I should be used too! but a farce it really is, I'm jello inside.
While I got Lil and J to keep little one occupied, I ventured outside to see if I could find the bride and the groom.Parked at the edge of the gravel parking lot of the motel, under a street light, shone a candy apple red, older model car from which my son in-law borrowed for his wedding.
I found them both sitting there, my daughter, still in her beautiful wedding gown, knees drawn up on the dash board and her face in a white tissue.My son in-law was on the phone to every motel and hotel around, finding everything booked up from here to Tim-buck-two for the long weekend.I did everything to convince the kid's to take our motel room, but they couldn't answer out from seemingly being struck in the moment of shock, much like a deer caught in headlights.
It was now nearing midnight.
The kid's had booked their motel room like everyone else three months ago.In fact, my daughter stayed in this same motel with her bridesmaids the night before, with no problem and well wishes upon her wedding day.
So what, really---was the problem that ended a perfect day?well, the kid's credit card number was punched in while we were all at the wedding and declined after one try, with no phone call, or phone call to any number of us bearing the same family name staying at the same motel.
I couldn't find him at first until my daughter mentioned she'd seen him walk towards the back of the motel.The bride and groom followed me, my daughter dragging her beautiful wedding gown twinkly in the night light and being dragged behind her over the gravel parking lot, until we reached a set of stairs behind the motel where we found her dad sitting, and looking rather spent with emotion, running through the anger and now, finding the defeat of it all, and placing it on his face with the glint of tears, where his daughter, the bride, crumbled in his arms.It was such a sight I could hardly bear, though I spoke softly in an effort to convince him to go home, that nothing more could be done.
It was his last puff of defiance, fueled of course by the beer in his hand as he trotted back to the motel lobby to say his last words.I sent my son-inlaw straight after him while I ran to our room and packed Lil and J and little one in the car, and drove slowly over to the entrance of the lobby.
I found my daughter sitting on a tiny step in front of the lobby while I could see my husband waving his arms around inside as if he were exasperated, the groom with him looked seemingly unsure what to do.
Tee, my daughter with this large gown I keep speaking of, was a vision of sadness you might have seen in a movie, under the motel lights, sitting there with her petite arms wrapped around her knees and her dress billowing out over the pavement with the odd sparkle, glinting through the now dirtied lace, was a vision from which broke my heart.
I walked into the lobby to see what I could do about getting my husband to go, when I heard him ask the man behind the counter, "how many times did you punch in my kid's credit card?" the man looked up and said, quite defeated like, "once...."
I could tell by this mans face he knew he had done wrong.My husband then said to him, in an earnest sales rep kind of way, "who punches in a credit card once and doesn't think maybe the numbers may of have been punched in wrong?" The man said nothing, he just lowered his head.
The fact was, the kid's (did) have room on their card, there shouldn't have ever been a problem.
In hindsight, of course, I should have booked their room for them, as a gift, however, the wedding was expensive and had stretched us to the point of weariness, but nevertheless, I silently beat myself up over it, and I know my husband did too.
In a last ditch of words that echoed through the lobby, with my husband now throwing up his arms dramatically, I hear him say with great emotion and tears, "thank you for ruining a perfect day for my daughter! and a perfect morning he could have had with his elderly father and step mom from out of town, for now I have to go home."
And with that we all stepped out into the parking lot, where once again, poor Lil stands in the middle of all the mess with wide eyes and silence.Oh, how I feel for her at times-getting lost in the shuffle again, like tonight, standing guard at the car with the now sleeping little one inside.
Before I got in behind the steering wheel and chanted I could do this, what with the forty-five minute drive home along the mountains through the unforgiving darkness of the lonely freeway out into the valley, I watched as my husband grabbed his daughter (the young bride) in a hug that would send chills down your arms and pierce your heart and mind forever.Then he turned to the big guy, the groom from which we saw grow into an honorable man and marry our daughter, and grab his hand with such gusto in a handshake I couldn't try to explain away with images, but to say the hug that ensued between them right after moved our hearts.Just as the big bear of a hug the groom gifted me, sending my mind down a fast elevator with the images of him and I on each floor sitting in front of hospital beds night and day.He is a good man, a very good man.
The kid's accepted our offer of our motel room, later stretching the many wedding cards out on the bed to distract them from the earlier hours.
As for us? we headed toward the mouth of the dark freeway and embarked on a white knuckle drive in complete silence, with great relief on my part that we were going home.
And so there we were, sitting at home out around the fire pit looking up and around into the early am night, Lil and I and her dad, neither tired, but expelling the hours into the dead silence of the neighborhood still air, feeling a bit less emotionally charged when I see out from the corner of my eye, a shooting star,
a little too late.
We received a phone call from my daughter in the morning.She said, while having breakfast this morning at the motel the old guy behind the counter from last night found her, and apologized to her and the groom, then wanted to say how much he was very sorry for putting her dad through what he did.
My daughter then witnessed the mans tears as he spoke, she then too, began to cry, at the sight of his emotion, which then she tearfully accepted his apology.
Soon after that Tee went looking for the distraught man, and found him in the laundry room weeping while folding laundry, she then hugged him.
I've done right somewhere.I've done right.She's made it right.
Needless to say all the families rooms were free, as you would suspect in the end, but not without the great feeling that all this shouldn't have ever happened, but did, unfortunately.And so in that simple mistake from a simple man nestled among the mountains in a quiet town with summer winds, the ending feeling from us all... is, lay it to rest-lay it to rest, the man has been through enough.