Have you ever had The Best Weekend Ever? I have. But I'm cool like that. Don't beat yourself up if you haven't. Not everyone can be quite as cool as I am. Art can. But then no one is quite as cool as Art. Not even me.
Years and years and eons ago I went away to college. There I met some really awesome people. Then I decided not to return to that college the next year and within a year I had lost touch with the majority of the people I'd met and loved.
One person in particular stayed in my extended circle a bit longer than most of the others. His name will hence forth be Lane. Lane and I continued to talk on the phone on and off the summer after I left. To be entirely truthful my efforts to keep in touch with him stemmed from a bit of an unrequited crush. He and Art began talking and after many years, many conversations, and a few bumps in the rocky road of life became very close friends.
Unfortunately life gets in the way. Neither Art nor I had seen Lane in 17 years. And then he was engaged. And we both got invites. Perfect gifts were hunted. Perfect dresses laid out. Hours were spent on shoes and hair and foundational undergarments (if you do not understand the importance then you most definitely are male) and nail colors and trip arrangements and hotel reservations and child care arrangements.
Last weekend found Art and I fully dressed and made up in our very best in a hotel room 14 floors from the maze of streets that is down town Springfield, IL staring at each other with the sudden realization that we were about to lay eyes on Lane for the first time in 17 years. Not only that, but there was a decent chance I would see others I'd known "back in the day" and having never been to a class reunion, I wasn't sure how to deal with that possibility.
At one point Art said, "Do you think the bride is this nervous?" It was a good question. I had no answer.
Up to that point the day (and evening prior) had been packed full of hysterical laughter, random singing, car dancing, long conversations, driving, pictures outside The Circle K, and my brief but thorough check under the hotel beds for dead prostitutes (one can never be too careful). As we wove our way to the wedding venue we were jittery. Much too jittery for a wedding that was not our own.
After a very brief ride in a parking garage elevator where I'm 99% sure someone had recently lived for an extended period of time....or had recently died...we found ourselves bravely trodding down the street pretending we do this every day.
Moments later it was all over. Lane was there. We were there. Hugs had been shared by all. And it was perfect. There was no weirdness. There was no awkwardness. It was just Lane and Art and Farmie chatting and waiting for the former to get married.
The wedding was lovely. Lovely is the perfect word for it. The groom looked like he was about to sprint down the aisle to hurry the procession along. The bride was stunning and sweet and looked like something out of a book on how to get married.
You know that amazing brooch bouquet everyone's been drooling over on Pinterest for the past 2 years? Yeah, she carried one of those. One she made. From brooches belonging to Lane's much loved and recently deceased grandmother.
Art had predicted many tears but I was self assured that I would not cry. Art was right. I was wrong. The bride and groom took communion together after saying their vows and exchanging rings and that's when I fell apart. Technically I held it together until Lane lowered his head and prayed with his bride. After that it was all over for me.
And then, then it was time for the reception. Art and I had decided that if we were uncomfortable or bored or if things got weird we would duck out gracefully and spend the night hanging out in our pajamas instead.
Yeah, that didn't happen.
In fact, we were still there when the lights came on. We were there when the cater waiters cleared away all the dishes. We were there when Lane packed up his collection of vintage cameras that served as centerpieces. We were there when they took the table cloths off the tables. I'm pretty sure we were 15 minutes from being bodily removed by the wait staff.
There were a total of 3 people there I knew other than the groom and one more I think I may have met in passing 18 years ago. By the time we got back to the hotel that night my face hurt from laughing. Old friends and their "new" wives were the perfect antidote to my tired-mom-ness. The only thing I truly wished for was that the night could have gone on a few more hours.
And my amazing Art never missed a beat. She injected herself into the midst of the reminiscing and laughter and arguments just as she always does. It didn't matter that she hadn't gone to college with the rest of us. It didn't matter that she had almost no history with these people. She loved them and in return they loved her. But then who wouldn't love Art? She's amazing (I may have mentioned that).
Last weekend was exactly what I needed. I'd take a few more like it if they were offered. And the best part of it all was that I got to spend 28 uninterrupted hours with my very best of friends. I'd take that every day.
Plus, I ate a bacon cupcake. Yup. Bacon. And it was good.