The Scoop, The Dish, The Dirt...or what happened at the Wedding
You know your life is crazy when you post pictures of your niece's wedding and realize it was two weeks ago and you haven't even told the story of the event. You are all such good friends, and it was a bit humbling and startling to realize how much I tell you about my life and how invested we all are in one another. I adore you all. I do. I do. I do. Speaking of I do...
My story actually begins on Thursday. GG and I took the day before the wedding off to get the house ready and grocery shop because we were having much of my immediate family come to our house Saturday and Sunday for a BBQ and breakfast.
I tell you this because after we swam Thursday morning I called my brother, the father of the bride, and asked him to join us for breakfast. My SIL and the bride had already left for the venue and to run errands before the rehearsal dinner.
Anyway, we were having a great time until the conversation turned to the Dad update. I don't know if I've ever mentioned that my Dad lives half the year in Montana and half of the year (theoretically) here in SoCal. Dad was supposed to have left with HER to drive down here on Tuesday. Most people need two days to comfortably drive the route from MT to CA. My Dad always takes almost 3 full driving days because he likes to stop a lot. So if he left on Tuesday morning he'd be here Thursday afternoon.
So when I'm telling my brother the update, because he and Dad don't really speak any more, I let him know that Dad's been calling me about every 6 to 8 hours and updating me on his trip progress because he didn't leave MT until Wednesday NIGHT. He was only able to drive two hours out and stopped for the night.
Now call me crazy, but if I were a father estranged from most of my children and wanted them to accept my new wife and heal the rift, why would I tempt fate by leaving MT so late? Both my Dad and his wife are retired with no commitments or time constraints. Not to mention even though he's aggravating and irritating, he's also 77 years old.
Anyway I had been feeling sort of certain Dad might make it anyway because his wife is my age and she often does the driving. Well, my update to my bro was that my Dad says their pace is so slow because they are driving two separate cars. He bought her a new Prius to match his. But I digress and that's a story for another day.
My point here is that his wife has been here several times already. Why choose the time you are making the trip to go to your granddaughter's wedding the time you decide to move stuff down to SoCal and take two cars??? Huh? Why? Whatever though, right?
So my brother says, "Maybe it won't be an issue because he won't make it to the wedding." Sure I think to myself. What we wanted to avoid was making the wedding about Dad and drama and now we are all wondering and worrying about them driving and rushing and whether he will pull some slick trick and bring her at the last minute.
Throughout the day Thursday Dad calls. His progress and stops are pretty much status quo. I'm beginning to think he won't make it. Thursday night he's only half way. He says his pace is slow because of the two cars and he's going to press on ahead of his wife so he can make the wedding.
Long story short? They continue to drive together all day Friday and call and give me updates until I want to scream. Just as an aside, being the oldest sucks.
In the meantime, the rest of us are all gathering and getting ready for the wedding. Much happiness ensues. I try not to say anything to anyone about Dad because I don't want us talking and focusing on his drama. Of course that works pretty well with my brothers because they compartmentalize better than the sisters do. My sisters and I stew. And stew. And stew.
The wedding is at 6 PM. At 430 Dad calls and tells me to let my brother, the father of the bride know that he should go on without him. I almost swallow my tongue. Go on without them? Them? Uh-oh. I wonder...does my Dad actually think they'd hold the wedding for him? I'm amazed at the delusion.
I realize during this conversation that my Dad is still on Mountain time and remind him it's 430 not 530. He can still make the wedding if he really is already enroute. Of course, he wasn't. He had just arrived at their Cali home and hadn't showered or changed. He tells me his wife is too tired but he's going to try and make it.
Okay. It seems one disaster is diverted. No wife is coming. Whew! I move that message along to the masses and let them know to keep an eye peeled and their phones on vibrate because Dad isn't sure how to get to the Mission Inn.
We finish getting ready, kissing and shmoozing our way from our rooms at the Inn to the chapel where the wedding will be held. We're seated at 5:40. No Dad. More kissing and shmoozing as other family members arrive and are seated. No Dad.
6 PM. No Dad.
6:05 PM they close the doors to the chapel to prepare for the bride to walk down the aisle. My purse vibrates. It's Dad. I press ignore. 6:06 PM I'm now holding the phone in my hand to be able to shut if off because I know... It vibrates. It's Dad. He then calls GG. Dude! Look at the time! The music for the bride starts and I press redial.
I whisper, "Dad, the wedding has started. C is literally walking down the aisle. I have to..."
"I'm stuck in traffic. You'll have to press on without me."
I press 'hang up'.
Did he not hear that the bride was walking down the aisle???
The ceremony was beautiful and brief. Being Catholic we've had some looooog weddings so Shmoo trails out behind us after the ceremony and says, "Now that's my kind of wedding. Short."
*eye roll* I reply with a "Zip it."
The story ends with all of us looking for a half an hour after the wedding for my Dad. You'll be shocked to know we found him in the bar. Alone. No wife. He stayed for about 30 - 40 minutes. He barely saw the father of the bride and never saw the bride and groom. We were still enjoying cocktails and hors d'oevres before going into the reception when he left.
So no he didn't bring his wife. Just drama. We were all left wondering why he even came. And well it's easy to say he made an effort what he mostly did was cause another ripple and rift in his relationship with his kids. And while we did a pretty good job of diverting or cutting him off, he was still able to make part of the day about him.
Learning to let go is hard. It's difficult to let go of guilt and worry. All the normal things a child should feel about an elderly parent turn into something else when he is so reckless with our lives and feelings. We did make sure he didn't have more than 2 drinks and believe me that was an effort. It may also be part of the reason he left. That and his repeating to all of us over and over how much he was missing his wife. Not our mother. His wife.
There is a good part. We went on and had a wonderful time. Dad left and took his emotional vortex with him.
We laughed and danced and celebrated. My family. My blessing.