Fully wedded, it was now time to become fully stuffed. Except by the time I got to the food line, all that was left was a pool of melting Dietsch’s ice cream balls, some cupcakes and mints. And nuts. Well…not exactly nuts. There were none but I knew there were some somewhere…we’d forgotten to put them out. Rooting through the pantry, I discovered the huge tin of mixed nuts, popped open the lid and took a huge handful before turning them over to the masses. By then, the crowd had a good sugar buzz going and needed some salt. What goes better with a good pinot grigio or, as Lindsay puts it, two buck Chuck?
Never did get to try Jo’s gluten-free brownies…I remember her coming to me in the receiving line with the
serving dish and about 1/2 of the brownies left. Apparently, they’d become a “child magnet” and she wanted to know if she should save them for any other gluten-free folks. Ooops. Thought they’d all been through the line — so sorry, Susie — so she released them to the little ones. Guess I’ll have to bake another batch for Susie Swartley because by the time she got through the line, they were gone.
Somewhere along the way, Coral and Amy — having more than fulfilled their duties as food queens — took off. Anne and Nick cut the top layer of their lemon/raspberry cake, and with the formalities completed, Alee got the music started. I do remember the first song — a Beach Boys tune, but can’t remember which one. Perfect beginning for the dance crowd to warm up. I never did dance — was too busy talking to people and….finally…relaxing. It was so much fun watching my little great-nieces and nephews trying to dance, as their poor parents tried to drag them back to their hotel. Ironically, I remember trying to do the same with our girls at the weddings of their older cousins (those who were now dragging off their own little ones).
Later, as the crowd thinned out, I sat back to watch who was hanging around…not just the younger crowd, but also some older relatives and neighbors — all mixed together. Fred had turned on all the little fairy lights and to my delight, we had achieved the Mamma Mia effect I’d hoped for.
A circle formed and toasts began with Dan Lambert, Nick’s friend from BG. Dan, a creative writing major, came through with a pre-written tome (which Anne and Nick later found among their wedding gifts) — it was the one thing that did make me a little teary. Funny how sentimental those guys can get.
Lindsay added her own — off the cuff, but perfectly worded — enough to start another lump in my throat. I’d have given my own, but I’d have never made it through.
By about 11 p.m., all that were left were Anne, Nick, Anne’s high school and work friends — all sitting in a circle, with Ellen, Lindsay, Eric, Fred, Reema and me watching from the background — wrapped up in blankets by then. By 11:45 p.m., all had left, Nick and Anne headed off to the CI, and Reema, Lindsay, Eric, Fred and I tried to do a little cleaning up before we crashed into bed around midnight.
As I drifted off, my unspoken toast echoed in my head…
One day long ago, the girls were still very young. It was a Saturday morning and they were glued to the morning cartoons. I came home from running to hear Fred — who was vacuuming — say to them. “I don’t care who you marry as long as he knows how to vacuum and do the dishes.” Nick, I’m happy to say, does both!
Nick, you stole my heart the first day we met. You got into the van, and handed me a CD you’d made of yourself singing — the first song you’d written for Anne. I still cry every time I listen to it. It is true — I have gained a son, not lost a daughter. Because Anne knows she stole my heart the day she was born, and will never be anything but my Best Anne. Love you both. Best Mom.