Saturday, May 14, 2011
Potpourri: Date Night Surprise for Mother's Day
Went into Mother's Day weekend wondering how I was going to work in Mayfest, a family wedding, lunch with my mother and grandmother and some badly needed yardwork, all while having some semblance of fun - this being "my" weekend and all. Leave it to my sweet mom to provide the glue to cement all of the pieces of a great weekend together. She had agreed to watch the kids on Saturday night while we were at the wedding - the hub dropped them off while I was getting ready - and it wasn't until we were pulling up in front of the wedding venue that he mentioned that she had offered to keep them overnight. Yes, please! One quick cell phone call and date night was officially in session.
The wedding, which could have been a whipping - given that it was being held outdoors, in the country - ended up being a ton of fun. During the ceremony, I was particularly taken by the flower girls (and - not shown - the cattle dog that circled the wedding party during the vows).
The blonde curlytop appropriated several bouquets and spent some quality time rearranging them, while the oldest flower girl sighed and smacked her lips - clearly, the service was going on a bit too long for her taste. (The one in the middle is related to us by marriage, through my sister-in-law, and I definitely claim her, because: (1) she is adorable; (2) she kept it together during the ceremony and, when the flower girls started to get out of height order during the recessional, she very discreetly injected herself between Taller and Shorter; and (3) girlfriend can bust a serious move. Not shown here: her highly enjoyable dance routine during the reception. Don't worry, we got it on videotape.)
Pictured below: The Lip-Smacker, mid-fidget, and The Future Florist, working her magic on some gerbera daisies.
Reception was held poolside, adjacent to the Wedding Field. I have an odd affinity for pool shacks like this one:
I also appreciate that the bride and groom (who are in their mid-twenties) kept everything light-hearted and reflective of their own easy-going personalities. In hindsight, I was WAY too concerned about propriety as a bride, to a certain degree at the expense of my own enjoyment of the experience. If I had it do over, I might (no, I WOULD) inject a bit more whimsy into things. For example, this was Courtney's cake:
Mine was very minimalist (squares stacked off-center, with only flowers for decoration - fresh ones, because that was the style at that time). Parnell's was similar to mine, but chocolate, with the ubiquitous "mid-nineties chocolate-dipped wedding strawberries" for topping. Compare and contrast with Brandon's groom cake (I should point out that he customizes cars for a living, a la "Pimp My Ride"):
Likewise, I am fairly certain that our gift table did not feature a carton of beer with a bow on it, but if I had it to do over I think I would have registered for beer (can you do that?) as opposed to the very bland china that I talked myself into because it was "versatile" and that I never use because it is VERY BLAND CHINA.
I could go on. Our afternoon wedding featured Classical music and standards. I love Classical music and standards, but I also really love a good booty-shaking tune. I recall discussing with my then-fiance the relative merits of the throw-down dance party wedding reception and the "high tea at the Ritz" wedding reception, and we decided that, while we enjoyed making fools of ourselves at the former, we wanted our own nuptials to be marked by the latter. (We didn't have much of a choice, really - the church where we married was in high demand, and - notwithstanding the fact that we reserved more than a year in advance, our options were an 11 am ceremony or a 1 pm ceremony - so "high tea at the Houstonian" it was.)
Looking back almost fifteen years later, I kind of wished that we'd held out for a nighttime time slot, and an R&B band. Or a DJ spinning tunes like the one that got the groom's maternal grandmother onto the dance floor (dance lawn?):
I also deeply regret not having a Chris Brown lookalike in our wedding party:
And I definitely regret not having wedding koozies. Contemplating throwing a fifteenth anniversary backyard barbecue for P and me in the fall, so that I can justify having some made (to match the stadium cups from my 40th birthday bash).
I love the pictures below because they feature (from left to right) my mom-in-law, me, my sister-in-law (the groom's mom) and P's baby brother's girlfriend - I think the first time that someone managed to get all four of us in a shot together. I also love the pictures below because the "someone" who got the shots was my spouse, who always takes - um, INTERESTING - pictures. Like the ones below, in which my mom-in-law appears to be balancing a pink paper lantern on her head, and Patrick's girlfriend appears to be wearing a white one as a fascinator.
I departed the wedding rather reluctantly - kind of wanted to stay and dance, but the more grown-up among the grown-ups were clearing out, and my spouse pointed out that we had overnight child care AND were already dressed for a night on the town, so, really, we were MORALLY OBLIGATED to go somewhere. But where? This always happens - total mental blockage when called upon to decide on a venue for dinner and drinks without the kiddos. We ultimately agreed to steer the car towards the West 7th valet stand - nine restaurants, closely clustered together, and we would make a decision once our feet were on the pavement. We opted for Hacienda San Miguel, the latest addition to West 7th, and I have to say, we made a great choice. Sat out on the patio, sampled some delicious food (definitely coming back for a full meal), drank some delicious drinks (I had a tamarind margarita and a cocktail made with Woodford Reserve, honey, lemon and jalapeno - leave out the jalapeno, and you have the ultimate sore throat remedy!) and listened to some great jazz music. REALLY liked the jazz music - mostly Latin stuff, of the "Girl from Ipanema" ilk, all very sophisticated while somehow being casual at the same time, and played at a volume that encouraged actual conversation. They got a big tip.
When we got to Mom's for lunch the next day, I was ready to plant a big one on her to thank her for our spontaneous date night as it was, but I turned to total mush when I saw the surprise that was waiting on the driveway: "Happy Mother's Day" in chalk, spelled out in bubble letters. My mom's bubble letters. The accompanying illustrations clearly were Parker's, but those letters were all Nana. I remember those letters from PTA carnival posters and birthday signs from my childhood. Seeing them again reminded me of lots of great times, back in the day when I was the kid and she was the mommy.
Evidently she has clear memories of those days as well - specifically, of the awesomeness that is Date Night when you have dependent children underfoot.
Thanks for everything, Mom - and, most recently, thanks for paying it forward.