Anna and I met in Williamstown back in 1999. We were friends from the first, she was more alive than anyone I’d ever known. Wild black curls, dazzling brown eyes, a deep soulful laugh filled with gasps and squeals and a kind loyalty that has never wavered. She was the maid of honor at my wedding and her toast left the audience collectively swooning and falling more in love with Sean.
A few months ago Anna sent me an invitation to her wedding. My heart soared, my friend who most believed in true love (but who never thought it would find her) was getting married. I marked the date on the calendar and had my heart set on going. As happens, life kind of intervened, a deadline here, a tantrum there, and it began to look grim. We cancelled our hotel room and arranged for the girls to be watched, with the plan to be our leaving for the wedding at noon and returning home by 10.
We would have been on schedule, but that pesky little life thing got in the way. I was prepared to leave the house a certain way, the way you leave it when you are going away, closing the door behind you and knowing that while you are away no one but the little spider up in the corner and the cat are going to see your mess. I found out at the eleventh hour that someone would be staying in our back room, you know, the summer lair of the intern? But it wasn’t as simple as that, this person would be staying at our house after a party, a party that would end by 6. This meant that at least 3 people, more likely 4+, would be at our house. Hanging out. Whatever.
I vacuumed, tidied and scrubbed. The unfolded laundry went upstairs, the dirty dishes were washed, the splatters of juice and ketchup in the fridge were rubbed away (and while we’re on it, WTF with ketchup? I don’t squirt it around in there and yet it’s everywhere. Always!) Sean put up a sign “No shoes inside” and we asked that the dog stay outside, this to prevent the inevitable excited piddling that occurs.
We had intended to leave by noon. At 11:55 I was an unshowered, frizzy haired, gummy, scum faced wreck wielding filthy, limp Clorox wipes, the girls were still asleep and neither of Sean nor myself had ingested anything more than coffee in the time we’d been awake. I ran for the shower and did my best to shave my legs and underarms so that the effect of the dress I purchased at TJ Maxx the night before at 7:30 was not marred by stubble and fuzz. Sean popped his head in after 15 minutes and said with as much tenderness as he could muster while still sounding credible, “I am kicking you out of there. It we don’t leave in fifteen minutes we will be late.”
There was a moment of divine intervention because 99 out of 100 times that my shower is interrupted or shaving my legs is compromised before a special event I go into 100% meltdown mode. It’s not something I am proud of, and luckily this time, showering-devil-bitch stayed away.
I finished bathing and dressed in minutes. Then it was downstairs to make snacks for the girls and go over last minute details with Jan. The girls made it relatively easy, so delighted were they to have Nana over and focused entirely on them. I prepared a paper Dora plate with goldfish and cheese. This was followed by sippy cups of juice, pear slices and finally peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat.
“Better make something for us.” Sean cautioned. He was right, I was threatening to bark and my hands were trembling. While he went and got the AC cranking I started sandwiches, gratefully heeding his suggestion to hold the condiments. Our last name isn’t Murphy, but we could have a law all unto ourselves with regard to the probability of stains by condiment spillage.
I kissed the girls and Jan as I dashed out the door, my cabernet colored toe nails sparkling from where they flirtatiously peeked out of my patent leather peep toe heels. Sean smiled as I walked to the car, my dress swirling seductively around my legs. I made the 20 feet from house to car without breaking a sweat in the 93 degree heat.
“Hi.” I said happily.
“Hi.” Sean was smiling approvingly, a wicked glimmer in his eye. “Fuck!” Not what you think, this was me, I had gouged my foot, the rich nail polish smeared, the center of my toe nail ugly, glaring white. “Shit, shit, shit!”
“What?” Sean was stricken, breakdowns like this are bad…we were on our way to another wedding and I was pregnant. Stepping into the car the seam of my pants split. It was loud and unforgiving and I should have lost my shit, but, I didn’t.
I explained and he calmly smiled and encouraged me to go in and fix it. No threat about our time, no judgment.
Two minutes alter we were on the road.
And, because hungry + trapped in a car = miserable,
a bag of chips.
The wedding was at 3:30. We arrived at 3:25. I had to pee. I held it.
And a celebration of a most magical day.
Wishing you a happy life with laughter and love. And babies, lots and lots of babies.