One Year Later . . .
It is hard to believe (almost unbelievable, frankly) that it has been over a year since my daughter and I returned from my younger brother and sister-in-law's wedding on the Chesapeake Bay.
What a year . . .
It is hard for me to think of a single thing in my life that has not changed in that year. I won't recount all the changes here (I just prattle on and on and on about them day after day so if you really care - you should be a more loyal reader or get a better hobby) but I will say that was a weird thing to see wedding pictures and a status show up on Facebook the other day.
I honestly don't remember too much about the wedding weekend. I remember an INTENSE desire to not only be recused from co-best man duties, but to not have to be involved formally at all, and to not even have to go to the wedding at all. It is not that I don't support my brother and his bride (they are both wonderful and I hope their love grows and blossoms for the rest of their long, long lives) but I was not in the right mindset to hop on a plane and go see family and friends - many of whom I had last seen at my own wedding - and to face them armed only with a six year old (I could not even convince my doctor to give me some Rx aid - even with forced tears.) and a mother and father that kept whispering it was all going to be okay. No matter what my still sorta' wife did not agree on and no matter how much we would annoy each other she would always be able to make things like big, awkward, family weekends a little easier - if only because I could focus only on her. I did not believe my mother who insisted it would be okay.
The death of my marriage was too new. A different address and shared custody and the state of our family was all too much change and chaos. I just wanted to fly in, get the obligations over, and get the heck back out of Maryland - or at least away from the obligations of a wedding. The hardest part (that I failed miserably at including a profanity laced tirade over some special socks all the groomsmen were asked to wear) was just trying to stay positive or stay out of the conversation, dynamic, happenings, etc. For their part my brother and his wife seemed aware of my issues, seemed to appreciate that I tried to push through them, and gave me a broad clearance to just sort of fumble through the weekend.
I did try my best. The day of the wedding I stayed busy helping with "this" and "that" but the whole thing nearly went south on the drive from the hotel to the ceremony. My shoelace on my rented shoe decided to snap and I had no spares. We drove to a CVS where I walked every aisle, twice, while my anxious father (if you think I'm an anxiety-run monster you should meet him when he's stressed) tried to keep me calm. I eventually found the shoe lace display (end cap - right near the checkouts) and picked out a pair. We left the store and I just lost my mind. Swore, cried, threw my shoe for distance and refused to get to back in the rental car unless my father agreed to take me back to the hotel and leave me alone for the night. I'll bet every other shopper in that store's parking lot was deeply confused by the debate that followed about love, relationships, respect, honor, commitment, and duty (we were talking about the brotherly bond - not marital).
My father prevailed, barely. I got in the car and we went off to the wedding. The next however many hours are truly a blur. I don't remember the ceremony or the pictures. I have no idea what I said in my toast (I quoted Jay-Z for sure). I don't remember w aan old friend I had lost touch with who came over and engaged me in what became probably the best chat I'd had in months).
In reality the only thing I really remember about that evening was about ten minutes I spent with just my daughter down on the docks long after the formalities of the day were over. We sat and chatted about "Mommy" and life and she got upset and I gave her another talk about emotions and honesty (a theme we repeated a lot during that phase) and I tried to convince her it was all going to be okay (like my own parents had tried to convinced me) and she eventually calmed down, held my hand, looked in to my eyes and said "I don't know why you swore at Uncle Ryan over your socks. I don't think you were upset about them at all."