June 06, 2012

Autumn's First Wedding

We took Autumn to her first wedding a few weekends ago.  My friend Lauren was getting married in Indianapolis.  The wedding was outside at a beautiful nursery with creeks and ponds and lots of flowers on display.  It was a hot day, like 88 or 188 or something like that.  

We arrived about 15 minutes before the start of the ceremony and lobbied for the box seats (in the shade), but my kid's sweaty heads and somber faces weren't convincing enough to make the groom's family move.  

We dragged ourselves back about five rows to the Hades seats (appropriately named by us because they were somewhere in close proximity to the white hot gaseous fire-spitting blazes of the sun).  Lauren's invitation said to dress for the weather, but I didn't think it was appropriate to wear our bathing suits.  

Steve and I took turns walking the kids over to the shade about 15 feet away from our seats (actually walking to the shade was more for Steve and I and if I'm really honest, more for myself because Steve only took one turn).  The couple sitting in front of us offered the kids Tic-tacs.  The man held out a handful and I told the kids to each take one.  The boys each took one, and then Autumn took the remaining eight and threw them in her mouth.  The couple laughed and said they had a three-year old at home...AT HOME!

The seating of the grandparents started and I looked down to see J-Man laying in the grass at my feet.  He was flat out with his arms behind his head like he was sunbathing or taking a nap.  I whispered for him to get up and sit in the chair, but my wide eyes had a more threatening tone. 

He got back to his chair as Autumn began wandering back to the Tic-tac couple. She reached her arm between the man and woman, holding her palm up, implying she was ready for a second handful.  I pulled her arm back gently and tried to explain that they were all gone, which was a big fat lie because she could see them as clear as day, but I didn't know how to say, "you can't have anymore," in Chinese, I could only say, "all gone."  She made three more Tic-tac attempts before the ceremony was over, and one time I caught both Autumn and J-Man, on separate occasions, looming in the wife's purse that was wide open showing off the Tic-tacs.  They each leaned in to take some before I grabbed their arms.

Holy crap it's hot! ... can I get a Tic-Tac?

The bride was ready to enter, so everyone was asked to stand.  Both boys started complaining loudly that they couldn't see anything, even though Lauren was coming in through the side, a perfect view from our seats.  As I saw other children, sweetly sitting on their mother's laps or in chairs next to their parents I started to wonder what kind of manners classes they were sending their kids to and how in the heck did I miss out on them.  Because clearly, the homeschooling version of Manners 101 is significantly lacking.

With our seats in the sun with no breeze, the temperature, at that point, was something like 212 degrees.  I think I saw bubbles rising in my bottled water.  But this wasn't the hottest wedding we'd been to by any stretch.  In 2007, my cousin and Steve's cousin each had weddings in separate states on the same day.  Steve and I split up so we could each represent.  I took Sheehan with me.  It was over 100 degrees for both weddings, one in Minnesota, the other in Virginia (we still try to convince each other that the wedding we each attended was the hotter one).  Sheehan was only two and he stripped off all his clothes down to his diaper in the middle of the ceremony.  Classy.

After the bride was given away we were asked to take our seats.  I began to sit down and heard a sudden yelp a few feet away.  I looked over and Steve was jumping up out of his seat.  Apparently Autumn moved her water bottle to Steve's chair while we were standing.  It was one of those small squatty bottles and was standing upright...until it met Steve's rear end.  Thankfully, only the eight rows behind him noticed.

Steve explaining to Autumn why a wedding is 
not the time or place for a proctology exam.

The ceremony was hot and beautiful.  Afterwards, we walked through the gardens to the tent for the reception.  They had different flavored popcorn as appetizers, which I thought was really creative, and kid-friendly to boot.  (Although, you could tell which flavor Sheehan chose because his white shirt was streaked all over with orange fingerprints.  We're still working on that whole napkin thing.  Who needs a napkin when you've got a shirt?  Same goes for a tissue.)

As we waited for the bridal party to arrive after pictures we took the kids out to the creek to look around and cool off.  J-Man began moving large rocks around from a display to build a dam.  We explained to him that the rocks were part of the landscape display and shouldn't be moved.  You'd think that we never get out of our house by the way our kids act.  I really shouldn't be surprised by their behavior - I mean, they're just kids - but I always am.  My mom still shares the story of when I was a teenager (a teenager!) and we went to a Christmas program at a church, and at the time we didn't do church, so my mom was feeling a little uncomfortable.  Well, there was a sweets table after the program with cookies and cakes and other goodies.  I got a plate and piled my cookies and cakes and truffle balls up like Mount Vesuvius.  My mom was mortified.  And if that wasn't bad enough, as we walked toward the steps to leave, with everyone watching, Mt. Vesuvius erupted and my rum balls and truffle balls rolled off the plate and bounced down the steps.  My mom couldn't get to the car fast enough.  I don't think we ever went back to that church.

By dessert, Autumn was running around like a little maniac that only had a five minute nap (which is all she had).  I suddenly hit a point where I thought, "We have to leave.  I can't do this anymore."  Steve is always - ALWAYS - the one who wants to leave anywhere first, but I've found that with three kids and one as active as Miss Autumn, I'm ready to leave a place sometimes as soon as we walk in the door.  I am perpetually exhausted.

Before we left, I found myself hanging out outside the men's bathroom like a wedding crasher (I was waiting for one of the boys) and a man came out, that I'd never seen before, appropriately dressed in wedding attire.  He looked at me like I was a wedding crasher.  Then he asked me my name.  I thought, "this guy thinks I'm a wedding crasher...and who is he anyway?...sizing me up like he wants to know what I'm doing hanging out outside the men's bathroom at a wedding.  With a little "I'm NOT a wedding crasher" chip on my shoulder, I told him my name and shook his hand.  Then he introduced himself as the Father of the Bride.  How could I not know that he was the Father of the Bride?!  He only walked Lauren down the aisle two hours prior.  He was in the Top 5 Most Important People at a Wedding, and I didn't have a clue who he was.  Plus, I had met him before at a party for Lauren a few years ago.  I backpedaled and explained that I used to work with Lauren "at the church" (which I stressed to show that I did indeed know Lauren and wasn't just some weirdo out for free popcorn), and that I had been to his house for a party, and blah, blah, blah.  I looked like I was lying, like I really was a wedding crasher.

As we were leaving, we found Lauren to say good-bye.  During the goodbye, J-Man disappeared and when we turned around to look for him he was on top of the railing of the gazebo. If we had stayed any longer, we probably would have caught him leaping from table top to table top like a gazelle.

In the parking lot, one of the women I was talking to at our table mentioned how hard it could be with three small children (she has three that are 11, 10, and 9) just from the sheer exhaustion of constant multi-tasking.  I said, "That's it!  That's exactly it!"  She said, even if all you're doing is watching them, they're all going in three different directions and you're trying to keep track of all three at the same time.  She hit the nail right on the head and what makes it even harder is that we're still transitioning with Autumn and are still learning what she may do next.  There are so many situations where we can't even predict how she's going to respond or act.  We just move forward and see what happens.  And then sit back in total exhaustion at the end because we've spent so much of that time chasing her.

Ahh...guess we won't use this one for the 2012 Christmas card
...or maybe we will.

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  1. my goodness, I think I would have cried the entire time:)I have to say I am too at a constant state of exhaustion these days. Madeline is so very jealous of her sister and repeatedly tells me she wants her to go back to China. Oh these wonderful transitions, maybe we will laugh some day??? I doubt it!!!

  2. I'm glad to know its not just my kids!

  3. Anonymous3:25 PM

    You, my dear friend,are not alone in the 'nightmare' that motherhood can be:)
    But you do tell the BEST stories!! I cry laughing at your writing!
    -JOY B

  4. Anonymous4:38 PM

    Kate -
    Even though I was up at the front :) I wish I had been sitting behind you to see Steve sit on that water bottle - I was dying laughing when I read it!! :) I thought your kids looked charming (for the brief moments I saw them!) and it was such an honor to have you there - thanks for induring the heat!! We really have to hang out sometime when we are in Chicago... seriously I will try and make that happen!!
    Love you!!!
    Lauren :)

    1. I was totally embarrassed about the whole thing with your dad. LOL!

  5. Just love your story telling. I was looking at the picture at the end. I thought, Kate, look nice the boys look good....oh my Autumn. Made me laugh

    1. That picture could not be recreated if we tried. Hilarious!

  6. Anonymous8:02 AM

    The exhaustion theme reigns! That's me with the 3---I would never have believed how adding the 3rd could put a mom over the edge until I started the fall over the side. It's tough. I DO think every mom reads this and has the Thank Goodness It's Not Just My Kids moment. Thanks for sharing. h

    1. Now that we have three I'm starting to hear more and more people say how hard it is with three. I must have just ignored people when I heard these stories before!

  7. Anonymous8:51 AM

    The pics remind me of Robbie and Kelly's wedding...HOT! HOT! day....While checking out your pics and Josiah's video--Jon and I laughed our heads off. Our grandbabies are soooooooooooo funny....love mom

    1. Robbie and Kelly's wedding was the hot one I mentioned where Sheehan took off all his clothes. Don't you remember that?

  8. Anonymous3:33 PM

    I have to tell you my mom, and sister really enjoyed this post. You are a very funny writer!--Tammy


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