With Love, From Your Future Conscience

‘Tis the season.  The season for weddings.  I have a lovely collection of invitations at home for upcoming weddings this year.  Some are taking place close to home, while others are at least a 6 hour drive away.  All of them are family weddings.  Coming from a large family means that I shall be receiving invitations for a long time to come.  Initially it was cousins’ weddings and now their kids are getting married.  The celebrations continue.  Family get-togethers abound and and there is always the “OMG I haven’t seen you in forever” which, by the end of the night leads up to, “we MUST stay in touch” phrase.  Indubitably, this does not occur, but the desire for it is honest and true.  All this brings me to ponder wedding celebrations and what brides (and/or grooms) consider to be most important.

Wiseguy and I had an interesting wedding.  It began with the intimate proposal.  It was so passionate.  We were in the kitchen of our apartment and Wiseguy looked at me and said, “Wanna get married?”  My equally romantic reply, “OK.”  (See, we are huge romantics aren’t we?)  Wiseguy picked the date of the wedding.  “How about April 1st?”  LOL!  (April Fool’s Day!)   That would’ve been awesome!  So true to our personalities.  But then he changed his mind.  He pondered and asked, “how about Valentine’s Day?”  Now that was sweet.  Then he continued his thought:  “That way I won’t forget our anniversary and you won’t have to kill me.”  I love that man.

We had just over a month to plan our “perfect” wedding.  It wasn’t going to be elaborate.  In our eyes, the most important thing to us was that the kids were part of our wedding day.  Wiseguy actually thought it would be even better if we asked them for their approval before proceeding with any plans.  They agreed that our getting married was a fine idea.  We were initally just going to hop a plane to Vegas, but not having the kids be part of it was not what we wanted.  Family was always very important to us.

I had a wedding gown that had been given to me when my SIL was closing up her wedding gown consignment business.  Brand new gown and only 5 years old.  Still not too old to be in style.  We got Wiseguy into a cool tux with a funky purple, pink vest.  (The Princess still remembers the special, pretty dress we bought her for the occasion.) We got married at high noon (shot gun wedding right?) at city hall.  Our reception venue…a little odd.  I had a friend who was vegetarian and at the time I had no idea what venue would be best, foodwise, so that everyone’s pallets would be happy.  Then I had a brilliant idea!  I reserved a section at a well known restaurant.  The Mandarin…Chinese buffet.  Yup, I wandered around the buffet line in my beautiful gown.  Did I care?  Nope…I was having the time of my life because I was there with my new husband.  It was great!  Just some family and friends and some great laughs. We had our picture taken by one of the wait staff.  It was given to us in a “Happy Birthday” frame.  Neat right? Memorable?  Absolutely.  (I still have that polaroid picture and the frame it came in.)

If I was to do it over again would I change anything?  Maybe I would, maybe I wouldn’t.  Definitely not your typical style proposal nor wedding, but for me, it was perfect. I have been to extravagant weddings in halls with huge chandeliers and a harpist playing as you entered.  The food was gourmet and there was French service for the dinner.  There was a 5 piece band playing.  I have been to weddings in less extravagant halls.  All decorated by the bride and her crew of bridesmaids and ushers.  The food was delivered on platters and you served yourself.  There was no band, but there was a dj providing the entertainment.  I have been to many a wedding and many a different venue.  What was the most important part to me about each wedding?  I enjoyed myself the most when the bride and groom were enjoying themselves. 

Here is a small note I would like to dedicate to future brides and grooms: 

Dear brides and grooms.  Your wedding day is special.  Brides, you will feel like a princess because the man you love is there beside you, waiting to become your husband.  As long as your family and friends are with you, you will feel the love and happiness that they are sharing with you that day.  You have your bridesmaids and ushers there to help you out and make the day a wonderful occasion for you.  Use them.  They are a vital part of making your day fantastic.  The most important thing about your wedding day is to love every minute of it.  Enjoy your day.  Laugh a lot.  If anything goes wrong…laugh it off.  It will make for great stories later.  Your wedding day is a one-day spectacular and special event.  Make it a memorable one.  Love…your future conscience.  XOXO

Family Innings

I am part of a large family.  My mother was one of 8 children and my father was one of 9 children.  On average, each child had 4 children.  That is a heckuva lot of cousins.  You do the math (I am not a math whiz so really, you do the math). 

Wiseguy comes from a large extended family.  Many aunts, uncles, cousins.  Meeting all his relatives for the first time was a bit awkward as it was a funeral.  The only easy part, which was quite intriguing, was that every aunt’s name was Mary and every uncle’s name was Joe.  Honest.  I can’t make this stuff up. 

As a child, I never realized how fascinating it was being part of a large family.  Every Sunday after lunch we would venture to an aunt or uncle’s house or their families would come over to our house.  There was always giggling and laughter. We kids played in the basement.  The adults hid out upstairs.  We made up very creative games as we did not have a lot of toys.  We played school and took turns being the teacher.  We played desert island where we would lay cushions on the floor and jump from one to the other because if you touched the floor then the crocodiles would get you.  We played hide and seek and tag and red light green light.  We played restaurant.  We put on shows for each other.  We played soccer and badminton.  Sometimes the day would end with someone being really mad at someone else and “un-cousin-ing” them, but by the following weekend it was GAME ON! 

As we got older, we somehow grew apart.  Everyone got busier with school and part time jobs (and dating).  Years passed and then we would see each other at weddings or funerals and we would promise to visit or write.  Even with facebook and e-mails and texting and so many other types of media available, there just doesn’t seem to be time.  How did that happen?  How did our parents always find time? 

My first thought was distance.  Even with my siblings, the closest is 20 minutes away and the furthest is an hour and a half drive.  Ok, but even factoring in the drive time, it seems that everyone has so many extracurricular activities, either that they do or that they drive their kids to.  I don’t recall having so many after school activites as kids nowadays do.  Work schedules are different now as well.  Retail stores are now open later and Sundays too.  I remember when stores were closed on Sundays.  Restaurants and other food places are now open all the time.  Statutory holiday or not, they remain open.  Even trying to create family outings, prices have gone so high that it’s hard to arrange for a good day or night out.  Even going to the movies you need about 30.00 per person if you would like a popcorn and drink with the show.

So, is that really the reason why there are fewer family visits?

It wasn’t until The Wiz and The Debater both said to me, “I love it when it’s just us.”  Hmm.  Just us. Just us would be myself, Wiseguy, The Wiz and his fiancee The Baker, The Debater and his wife The Artist, The Princess, and little Kennie.  Just us.  Why is that better?  Huge family functions are so much fun!  So many stories to tell and funny past history tales.  Yes, as we get older we just remember the fond times.  What about the family feuds and battles?  Even planning weddings has become more difficult because you need to know who is not talking to whom and who can’t get along.  Coming from a large family, we dealt with all situations and many times we did wish that we weren’t part of  large family because we would have so much more time for ourselves and our immediate family.

I have stopped trying to plan a huge family get together with the extended family.  I am looking at how wonderful my life is and what wonderful kids we have and how blessed and happy I am that no matter how busy everyone is, we all take the time to figure out how we can all get together for a  wonderful sit down meal and playing games afterwards.  It’s nice to know that they do still WANT to come over.  So many parents end up not seeing their kids for months or even years at time.  We have the honour and pleasure of having their company a minimum of once a month but sometimes even twice a month.  SCORE!  How lucky are we?

So, family outings can be fun.  It’s true.  However, I’ll take my family innings any day of the year.  Love you guys!