The big fam­ily wed­ding

Maryland Independent - - Classified - By Me­gan John­son Twit­ter: @right­meg

We ate. We saw. We par­tied. Oliver’s first ex­pe­ri­ence as a wed­ding guest went swim­mingly. Aside from hav­ing to take the lit­tle guy out dur­ing the cer­e­mony (a quiet, cav­ernous church isn’t the best en­vi­ron­ment for a noisy tod­dler, I’m afraid), Ol­lie loved peo­ple-watch­ing, run­ning through the re­cep­tion hall and par­ty­ing with his cousins. I, on the other hand, am achy. At some point in my get- ting-ready process, I de­cided wear­ing high heels for the first time in months — years? — was a good idea. At 24 weeks preg- nant, I al­ready look ready to be rolled from spot to spot. Smart to add un­sta­ble footwear, too, right?

My ques­tion­able deci- sion-mak­ing had roots, how- ever. For one, I rarely wear any­thing dressier than a pair of black slacks and stretched-totheir-limit ma­ter­nity tops with util­i­tar­ian boots. My preg­nancy wardrobe con­sists mostly of hand-me-downs from friends and fam­ily be­liev­ing them­selves to be done hav­ing ba­bies (let’s hope they’re right, ’cause I’m not giv­ing any­thing back). I’ve shared what I can with my sis- ter — also in her se­cond trimester — and will soon be forced to in­vest in big­ger clothes as we ap­proach my due date.

Know what’s fun? Out­grow- ing even your largest ma­ter­nity cloth­ing.

Last week­end’s fam­ily wed­ding in Penn­syl­va­nia had been in the works since my cousin, Cody, pro­posed to his girl­friend last win­ter. Who doesn’t love a good party? For as much as we all en­joy catch­ing up with­out Face­book as a go-be­tween, it’s tough to get far-flung fam­ily mem­bers to­gether for ac­tual face time. My fam­ily doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily need an ex­cuse to share my grand­mother’s home­made peanut but­ter cups over child­hood sto­ries, but a wed­ding is still a great back­drop for that kind of con­vivi­al­ity.

Ev­ery­one has been talk­ing about the “big fam­ily wed­ding” for months, and I started plan- ning our out­fits months ago. Couldn’t take a “let’s wing it!” ap­proach to this one. My hus- band’s dark suit was a given, and I found an adorable suit (com­plete with vest and tie) for Oliver.

But me? Well. As many par- ents — es­pe­cially of the work- ing world — will at­test, any Sat- ur­day spent in some­thing other than pa­jama pants is a “fancy” one. By the time the week­end rolls around, I’m happy to do next to noth­ing with ratty hair from the com­fort of my liv­ing room. I wasn’t sure I had the strength for a dress.

Dresses re­quire a cer­tain ded­i­ca­tion to one’s ap­pear­ance — a so­phis­ti­ca­tion I don’t typ­i­cally pos­sess. As we were get­ting ready at home be­fore driv­ing two hours to Get­tys­burg, Pa., what­ever I put on at 9 a.m. had to still be fresh and sparkly for the 5 p.m. din­ner. A pretty tall or­der for an un­com­fort­able preg­nant lady also chas­ing down a tod­dler.

Spencer pressed the col­lar of his dress shirt, shrugged into his suit and asked my opin­ion on ties. And that was it. No makeup to ap­ply (and reap­ply, and ap­ply again), no hair to shel- lac into place, no spare lip gloss or stain re­mover pen or bobby pins to stash should dis­as­ter be- fall him be­fore show time.

I hate to play the “men have it eas­ier” card, but se­ri­ously: when it comes to for­mal at­tire, men to­tally have it eas­ier.

I wanted Satur­day to be a lit- tle more than a frizzy-haired, did-the-best-I-could oc­ca­sion. I pulled out the soli­tary mater- nity dress I own, still new with tags, and took an ex­tra 30 sec- onds to ap­ply darker eye­liner and ac­tual lip­stick. My tresses are a lost cause, but I did man­age to pull back my curls in some­thing close to a style. It later pho­tographed as a messy top­knot, even as my sis­ter tried to “fix it,” but that’s OK. I am who I am.

Footwear was my last con­sid­er­a­tion. Ev­ery pair of flats I own looked well-worn and mangy . . . def­i­nitely not wor­thy of a for­mal oc­ca­sion. Though I’m wob­bly and ro­tund, I put on the heels. I guess I wanted the full ex­pe­ri­ence of not be­ing busi- ness ca­sual or yoga-pant-chic for one day.

Need­less to say, we did way more walk­ing and stand­ing than I’d bar­gained for. Oliver was fas­ci­nated by my “noisy” shoes, point­ing to them with a look of amuse­ment. I laughed think­ing of the many times I’d worn this same pa­tent-leather pair — be­fore, I guess, in an old life. Not in the pres­ence of my young son.

My feet were swollen by the time we left Get­tys­burg. My toes ached from grip­ping the slip­pery soles; the bot­toms of my feet felt sore and rubbed raw. I con­tem­plated re­treat­ing to the car bare­foot, as I’ve had to do be­fore, but it was cold and dark. Walk­ing on cracked pave­ment prob­a­bly wouldn’t have felt much worse, but I’d made one smart call and stashed sneak­ers in the car.

Sun­day started with that happy, hazy, sleepy feel­ing that often fol­lows a big event — like the prom, say, or our own wed­ding. We tired Oliver out enough that he, too, slept late — an early Christ­mas gift — and we slug­gishly got through Sun­day, rem­i­nisc­ing and open­ing pho­tos oth­ers shared from the event on Face­book.

The aching toes I’d jammed into heels were a re­minder of all that fun as I squished my feet back into sen­si­ble boots for work on Mon­day. Even if the heels stay stashed for an­other year or two, at least we had that mo­ment. Some­day we’ll dance to­gether again.

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