Going to a wedding as a parent

This weekend, we were lucky to be invited to a family wedding, and our children were welcome, as well. I love weddings, and I really love family weddings. The kind where I get to see my family (that is spread across the nation)!  The kind where it’s a joyous occasion and all parties are thrilled!

Mike and I packed up the kiddos, drove 8 hours and celebrated with family. It was great fun, but weddings are way different when you have kids.

Sitting at the wedding, Mike and I were separated by 4 children and a grandparent. I had another grandparent on the other side of me, as well. Usually during a wedding, I’m thinking a bit about my vows, what they mean now, what they meant then. I’m thinking about the fact that I still like my husband (and love him, too!) Sometimes I would lean into him, celebrating our nearness. During this wedding, I was looking across the pew wondering how he was. I was focusing on making sure Bits didn’t use the pen provided to destroy the bible or anything else. I was focused on Bug getting the snuggles she seemed to need right then! Fielding questions from Peanut about why it was different (Lutheran vs Catholic).

At the reception, we were focused on making sure my kids didn’t take out the gorgeous cake. That they were reasonably well-behaved before supper. That they didn’t eat ALL the chocolates provided or spilling the water in that *gasp* breakable glass!

My favorite part of the reception (and I’m mad I didn’t think of this for our reception) was when they asked all the married couples to dance. As the DJ called out years of marriage, you had to be married that long to stay on the floor. My girls saw us leave before 10 because its a few more weeks until our 10th anniversary. They saw their great-uncle help his wife out her wheelchair and hold nearly all her weight so they could dance to nearly 30 years of marriage. They saw their grandparents dance till 45. They saw another great-uncle dance his wife until the very end. (And if you don’t think he was thrilled to be the winner, you don’t know our competitive streak!) Before girls, I would have thought that was cool. Now, it’s so much more. I hope my girls see just what kind of legacy they follow. What a marriage means (not just a cool wedding dress and princess night!) Old age and bad health. Fun celebrating a grandkid’s wedding. Like each other’s family enough to drive 8 hours for a wedding.

We spent much of that night separated watching the girls. Working to make sure they were loved and supervised, fed and more or less unsugared. I got to dance that one dance for about 10 seconds with my husband because this is where we are right now. We’re raising young women who need us more than we need each other.

I know that this too will pass. And some day I will not have mini-humans who need me as much. Some day, it might be me watching my child marry the love of their life. Or trying to help them contain their kiddos in a church during a different marriage ceremony. I treasure the time we had this weekend to be with family and help support one newly  minted marriage on it’s way.  I’m grateful that we could go, that life worked out.

Picture by the amazing Megan Stans at meganstans.com!

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Peanut is 9!

In the ongoing series of telling my kids about their awesomeness at least annually – Peanut is 9.

It’s hard to forget 9 years ago when I was so ready to meet you, and you weren’t ready to come out. I remember if I sat too close to the desk, you would reach out and kick or shove the desk and you could actually move us. I should have realized then how strong you would be, and how independent you would need to be.

In the last year you’ve tried travel softball. You ran your first (and currently only) 5K and finished strong. I hope you learned we always finish strong. It’s okay to struggle in the middle and wonder why, but you finish strong. You are working so hard in softball right now to get better, struggling a little, but finishing strong. Please don’t ever forget you can always pick yourself up and keep going. Just like in softball, Dad and I are here to help you. We’ll help you get better at any dream.

You fought for your rightful place in the reading groups and then you excelled at it. Your teacher constantly told us how wonderful of a kid you were; getting along with everyone, being thoughtful always. You would always make sure to tell her good-bye every day. Peanut – you definitely can be a thoughtful kid around others. Sympathetic to a bad day on someone else.

This year, we had a transition too. You became the de facto big kid. Kiddok went off to college and was home rarely. It was a tough one, as you missed her, too. I get that, we all missed her. You would reach out to her for conversations on a bad day. I love that. Please keep remembering she’s there for you, even half a continent away.

Meanwhile as the big sister, you cheer your sisters on whether it was when they did their first almost-cartwheel, read their first words, or hit their first pitch. As the big sister, your little ones do look up to you and mimic you. Remember that. You always have your eyes on your big sister to learn, and so do they. And in this case, you’re the big one. You’re the one getting to do things first. Keep their trust.

Peanut, we love you. We think you are pretty special, and we look forward to another year of adventures with you!

** Pictures courtesy of the amazing Megan Stans at meganstans.com.