Friday, June 27, 2008

I married BigD

Friday, June 27th, was our wedding anniversary. A few years ago we went to the church, amidst a lot of hoopla, and had a wedding. We were like the main event. It was a lovely affair, you can ask my mother, plus we have a book of pictures to prove it. Every time I stand at the front of the church, I think about that day. I also think about the days we baptized all our babies in the same spot. Also the day that our eldest son, who was in the Cherub Choir (age 4) leaned into the strategically placed microphone and sang an unplanned solo that began "Maaaaa- eh-reee had a bay-bay-bay-bee." during the precious little Cherub Choir's Christmas program during 'big church.' Those are all fleeting thoughts.

On June 27, in whatever year that was (BigD keeps up with those details), we had no idea at all what we were doing. None, or nil (international soccer talk). We said things like "I will love, honor, comfort and keep you." Keep... where? Keep what? BigD thought we would get married and then he, as KEN, would keep me, as Barbie, in a dream house. On the other hand, I was overwhelmed with the thank you notes and consumed with the desire to make better lasagna than his mother made. I won.
I now realize that the 'keep' means 'keep on' - much of being married is centered on 'keeping on.' AND. . . sitting in a lot of fields, gyms, and auditoriums, for years. That's not in the vows. Of all the things that BigD is, he's the DAD of this brood, and it's good to have him walking this children - laden road alongside.
He's a strong guy - most likely, BigD is physically holding them in place to get that picture made. Not only did we get married on that single day, we have decided to be married every single day since then. As a wedding planning woman, I have stood at the back of many churches for hundreds of weddings. Every single time, I think..."Whoa, you have no idea what you're saying right now."
Take these two - Chili and his Lovely Bride - I'm feeling OK about them, since they seem to know how to listen to each other. But still, they have no idea what's ahead. That's a very, very good thing, the not knowing what's ahead...because seriously, how would we have prepared for what it was like when my frail and increasingly confused in-laws were living in this house with us and our many small children, all of whom resumed thumb-sucking in that time period. Or how easily and willingly he slid into the role of 'dad' for our bonus child. Or what it might be like to huddle in the dark in the bathroom during a wicked storm that sent a tree midline through the house.Yeah, you're laughing now, buddy, now that nobody is in diapers, and you get to sleep all night, and the rain is no longer pouring through the 5 holes in the roof and you're all dressed up in your new Easter tie.

Should we have said things like...I'll cut up the meat, in sickness and in health?How about... I'll set out the luminaria, the most miserable job in my universe, for better .... ....or for worse, we'll both get up at 5 a.m. to take the young ones to the buses leaving the church for the beach trip, because at 5:30 a.m. anything's better together.For richer (garden soil) I'll move the compost to the flower bed.

...for poorer....I'm at "the store" - Saks on Fifth in NYC at Christmas - on BUSINESS, so it doesn't count - but here's a picture. This is an aside, but when BigB, our eldest, was in about 4th grade, he had miser as a vocabulary word. You'll never guess who he gave as an example of miser. It was NOT his mother.To love and to cherish ...and we've already talked about the sunglasses...but OK, whatever, it's our anniversary. Buckshot likes to have serious conversations with him. BigD actually knows what Buckshot is saying.

My favorite line of the wedding service is probably "With all that I am and all that I have, I honor you." That's easy to say when you're all dressed up, and there are flowers and music and candles.... but, the real honoring comes every single day.

And TODAY, BigD, I am going to honor you by NOT putting in the picture of you snoring on the couch.But, from this day forward, I'll bet PPP is more careful about making faces at the camera.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chili knows what he wants - quick.

Chili knows what he wants. He was probably telling his Lovely bride right there what he planned to wear to his wedding. Let's cut straight to the heart of the matter, Chili moves faster than his Lovely Bride. We started at 10 a.m. on the wedding tuxedo mission.This demi-guy mannequin is right at the door. Chili walked in saying things like shawl collar jacket and satin lapels. Immediately, no hesitation. The knowledgeable tux-hostess could barely get the options out on the table.
These are the delightful people who served at THE Engagement Party. And they look dashing and professional in the bow-ties and vests.Cumberbund. I'm not wearing a vest. I want cumberbunds, black. First tux-related words out of his mouth. And cumberbund it is. It is now roughly 10:07. Our tux hostess said "This faille- edged lapel is a little dif..." I want the satin lapel. Black. 10:07 and 30 seconds."There are a couple of options on the shirt collar, the wing..." The collar that lays flat, the small tucks on the shirt. Trouble ahead, crooked tie. "Pre-tied bow?" Yes, absolutely. Hang on, a murmur from the Lovely Bride. Wait, Chili is puzzled. Not so the Lovely Bride. Sweet voiced yet firm: "I like the bow ties that you tie yourself. They look better, not crooked. " Chili wonders - So, who is going to tie them? because none of the guys I know can tie them. Someone will be there just to tie the ties, no problem. Black silk, self tie bow ties it is. Chili is a wise, wise man. Look who's smiling.OK, just to make sure we have considered the options - also so we can call it 'shopping' - let's just look at these silver ties. So the tux-hostess did hurriedly re-dress some mannequins in the silver ties with the cumberbunds, and the white ties and cumberbunds too. I think she was afraid he would just walk out the door if she didn't move fast enough. That took a solid 6 or 7 minutes. I want the black cumberbunds and the black silk ties, that you tie yourself. "Do you need shoes?" Yes, not loafers, not shiny. Where's the paperwork?And, we're done. By the clock on the wall, it's all of 10:47. Purely, for reference , to find the wedding-day attire for the Lovely Bride, 5 stores across 2 states, 2 road trips, and this is an estimate, trying on 127 gowns . . . get to this smile. It was all about the dress at the top of the stairs. She knew exactly what she wanted too. It just took a little longer and a few more stops.And here you have it, one store, one stop. This is the tux, only the tie will not be crooked. Two button jacket, modified notch satin lapel, ivory shirt with flat collar, black cumberbund, black silk bow-tie (self tie) non-shiny oxford tux shoes, no pocket square. Add a white tee-shirt underneath and black dress socks.

Chili has spoken, in roughly 32 minutes. The rest of the time was spent on the paperwork. And some conversation about baseball, while waiting.For the record, we could have chosen this, but we didn't. It might have been the lack of the cumberbund. And . . Chili's going to be watching tennis while we talk about the flowers.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What we know about MEN'S lacrosse

This is what I know about men's lacrosse. It is a 'spring sport', which means it starts in the dead of winter. When they play, it is most often very cold, or very hot. There are sticks and a small, very hard ball. They wear shorts and some meager pads, and throw the ball from stick to stick. They whack at each other with the sticks. Obviously, we aren't talking about women's lacrosse today. Another day.
As a mom, what I know is that before the games or the practices, Young Son had best get plenty of fluids, days ahead, and eat a protein rich diet. Otherwise, between the running, and the sweating, and the breeze, and the sweating...he will fall out, get dizzy, get light headed, something short of passing out. Also, I know that the uniforms have to be clean, and we need the mouth guards.
They stand around and talk to each other, while holding the big sticks, and wearing the fierce looking uniforms. Not 'fierce' like Project Runway; 'fierce' like big and mean looking. When the game is over, they are very sweaty, but smiling. Happy boys have just played lacrosse and had fun. This must have been a HOT day, look at those shirts. But they are smiling because they prepared for the game by eating a high protein diet all day, drinking plenty of fluids all day long, generally preparing their young and agile physiques for the task at hand. They prepared well and did not faint. They played a good many games, ended up looking this happy many times, and the varsity team won the state championship. Then they had a party.Here's Young Son watching the varsity celebrate the victory with his friend, Big Russ. Watching is the operative word. Non-varsity did not participate visibly in the celebratory events at the party. I don't think they even ate protein. Not so smiley, this night, were they? They watched. AND, I thought it was over.

WRONG answer, Mom! It's never over. Now we're in SUMMER LEAGUE LAX. Not the airport, Silly, lax is the abrev. for lacrosse. And I'll use it, because it's so much shorter and easier.Of course, the standing in the field, holding the big sticks. And some running around with the sticks... and of course the whacking.
And the talking...and intense game-watching. In summer league there are neither set teams, nor uniforms. It's somewhow more summerish.But what's this? Young Son is sitting down? On the table? Red face?Big Russ is taking a break too. Not to worry. Everyone is hot tonight. Also the talking. Big Russ is on his feet. Evidently some compelling summer lax action....that did NOT cause Young Son to rise to the occasion.
Something compelling enough for Big Russ to go looking for his helmet. Heat or not, it's time to get back to the running and the hitting and the whacking. Young Son is interested, but not moving.Pretty Pretty Princess and her friend Stargazer....did not notice a thing.
This was Young Son, for the rest of the game. WHY is that, Young Son? What might you have eaten today? Didn't you get plenty of fluids on board ahead of time? In preparation for this hour of lax on a hot summer night, Young Son had - all day - a bowl of cheerios, a blueberry muffin, and about 9 brownies. PPP is on a baking binge. Oh, and he had some water. So, for Young Son, sitting on the table and chatting casually with his friends is WAY BETTER than falling face down in the dirt - sorry, the turf - so, that's what he did - he sat and talked. After he played a fierce first half...or so. The manly kind of fierce.
They sweat a lot and talk alot in this other sport too. Is it just me, or did they grow a lot between September and June? Just asking.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Grace under Sunglasses

In bygone days, women wore veils. They wore veils to be married, and veils to bury. Jackie Kennedy probably embodies the whole veil to sunglasses thing at its stylish best. It's a very humane thing, to be able to hide behind a veil when one's not quite at one's best. And she pulled this off with grace.Well chosen sunglasses may hide about half one's face ...we can thank Jackie for that.

Not all of us have the excuse of extraordinary public grief or relentless, marauding papparazzi. At least not in my little world. If you are in either of those other worlds, get the biggest, darkest sunglasses you can find, and never take them off. Or a veil, if you want. But the rest of us MAY just be using the sunglasses for another purpose.
The purists among us choose sunglasses on utility. "It's bright, thus I am wearing my sunglasses. The same ones I have been wearing since the early '90s." EARLY '90's...did you hear that BigD? Long time ago.Hey, BigD! *N.B. (who remembers what that means?) You are not a professional athlete. Yes, many bike racers and NY Yankees wear this style. You are not one of them. Time for some new sunglasses. "I always wear these. They're plain, they're classics." OK, I can live with that BigB. You look classic.
You too, Cubbie. Classic. The Sophisticate appears to be sunglass-free. IF she wanted to wear sunglasses on that bright porch, she might be demonstrating any number of reasons the rest of us wear sunglasses, that have little to do with the sun.
  • I am very, very rich and can buy very, very expensive sunglasses. Impressed?
  • I want you to think that I am rich, so I bought knock-offs. Impressed?
  • I stayed out way too late last night. What's your excuse?
  • I have pink-eye. Seriously. Want to hold my hand?
  • Yeah, my eyes are puffy. Jealous?
  • I don't want to make eye contact with you. No further questions.
  • Just quit looking at me, dammit.
Sometimes I think . . . OK, hope . . . that the right sunglasses can make one look thinner, or tanner, or whatever one might like to be. For some, they are a tool to make it less obvious whom we are looking at directly, when we might be in the midst of a group of young men.
WHO is she looking at? Who is making her smile? Who?

These moms are demonstrating that same principle. The game is going on somewhere....out there behind them; however, with the sunglasses, who can tell where they are looking? Surely they saw the SCORE! the SAVE! the GREAT PLAY! Moms see everything, even when facing the other way, as long as they are wearing sunglasses.
Works for dads, too. This particular dad is incognito, due to his ultra- sensitive profession. It's all in the mirrors. "You don't know who I am watching, it could be your kid, it could be mine...and please don't talk to me, just for a minute or two. I'm intensely into this game."The rest of us believe that the bigger the sunglasses the better. (Also "the bigger the handbag...." and even 'the bigger the.... earrings!' ) Why big sunglasses? To hide more face. And to divert attention from...everything else. See, that's Ru-mi with The Sophisticate. She likes big sunglasses too. We like black around here, and faux tortoise, and we like to score a bargain - TJMaxx, Off5th, Ebay - big dark sunglasses, to hide behind. Instant anonymity.
Sunglasses on the head works well for me in terms of keeping up with them. PPP uses this method also. It is much easier to find them on one's head than in that big black hole of purse detritus.

The sunglasses also keep the air blowing in the car from turning my contacts into crispy little polymer cookies while they are in my eyes. Which would make my eyes red, so pre-emptive sunglass wearing works for me.
Yes, we have been known to wear them in the laundromat - it's overly bright, plus the lint blowing around. I pretty much wear them -summer, winter, spring and fall - rain or shine, for better or worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. . . Seriously, if you can't pull out the sunglasses when you're sick, what's the point? But don't wear them at night. That's for rappers, which we are not.
We are NOT rappers, see? Those are some vintage sunglasses, straight out of the vintage house of my vintage faux grandmother, who PPP does not remember, but was willing to model. (Not today's story...wait for that one).

Anyway, that wearing-them-anytime-anywhere is borderline humiliating to my children, but I don't care, because I am not sophisticated any more. I have moved past sophisticated, in fact I may have skipped it entirely.
Which is painfully clear, considering that I spend my day putting sunglasses on my dogs and taking pictures.
Emma is modeling my big white sunglasses. I used to have a different pair of white ones, when The Sophisticate was a mere 14 year old Mini-Sophisticate. Her friend claimed to LOVE the white sunglasses, and still remarks about them today - 8 years later ( also very sophisticated.) An alternative version of that story is that these young ladies found the white sunglasses hilarious and so -in front of me - they "LOVED them" rather than "Can you believe she is actually wearing those things?", in order to get me to wear them more, to provide more fodder for 14 year old 'humor'.

Anyway, I found some white ones in the winter, - at TJMaxx for less than $10, don't tell anyone - and put them in my purse. I saved them, and did not put them on until after Memorial Day, assuming that the same rule applies to white sunglasses that applies to white shoes. SUMMERTIME: official boundaries Memorial Day and Labor Day. I know the white shoe thing can officially start at Easter, but Easter was so early this year that the white - shoes or sunglasses - didn't feel right. In my arbitrarily ruled world, I saved the white ones until Memorial Day. And on Labor Day night, I will remove them from the top of my head and put them away in a very safe and special place, if they don't get lost before then, which I hope I can prevent by wearing them on my head as much as possible. And then, when Memorial Day rolls around next year, I will....not be able to remember where I put them, at all, and then they will turn up next year about November 12, AFTER white-wearing season is over.