Tag Archive | Pray

Simply Elegant

close up photograph of flowers

Photo by Secret Garden on Pexels.com

Six days ago, we brought four of the centerpieces home from the wedding reception.  On Sunday, Katie brought over her bridal bouquet, which brings the total to five arrangements.  All of the arrangements are different and include flowers from roses to hydrangeas, baby’s breath, and snap dragons.  Some contain blue, white or pink flowers that poke through.  Each one is complemented with velvety greenery.  Every morning, their fragrance greets me when I walk down the stairs.

It seems so long ago when we met with the flower lady.  It was January, and we had to figure out which flowers would be blooming in August.  I found many beautiful arrangements on Pinterest, and I remember sending those to Katie.  Katie liked the photos and sent them to the flower lady.  The flower lady asked what the theme was.  We showed her a picture of the wedding dress, and we told her how we thought it was simple but elegant, and that was also the theme, which Katie decided at that moment.  🙂  At the end of the reception, we invited guests to take home a centerpiece.  People were thrilled to have an arrangement to keep.  We offered some to the staff too, and I couldn’t help taking some leftovers.

The initial planning started in October last year.  We made our lists of who to invite, which came to be about 325 guests.  When we discovered that the church and a venue could all be reserved on the same date in the summer, we were all so excited, because we didn’t think we could get a summer date so soon.  We shopped for the elegant wedding dress right away.  The bride made sure to have her bridesmaids get together to try on dresses during a sale.  Those dresses got ordered promptly in the color of rosewood.  Even I found a dress.  Anything that could be done in advance, was accomplished.

Just before we met with the flower lady, the news of the coronavirus kept wafting over the news.  I especially followed the news about Italy and how sad it all felt with their loved ones passing away.  Then March came, and we were asked to shelter at home.  In the backs of our minds we wondered what would become of the wedding in August.  So many brides had to cancel their March weddings.  Then a few brides and grooms were able to get married in April, with only 10 people in attendance.  

“We’re still going to get married in August, no matter what happens,” the groom announced in March.  None of us wanted to see the wedding postponed.  The food tasting had been scheduled for the end of March, but since the venue was closed, it kept getting postponed.  Just when we thought we would be able to get together in June, for an outdoor tasting, the weather didn’t cooperate, so it ended up getting postponed too. That amounted to a total of five postponements.  When food tasting finally happened, we were delighted to be able to get together with the groom’s parents, even though we wore masks and stayed far apart from each other.

At the food tasting, we were told we could have 90 guests at the venue, so we got busy calling or emailing our friends to let them know we were only going to be able to invite the wedding party and close family members.  Some family members decided they didn’t want to attend, so we were able to invite some friends and more friends of the bride and groom.  Even though people were uninvited, gifts kept arriving daily.  It was nice to have the support and understanding.

There were other changes at the venue too.  We were not allowed to have a head table or a big dance.  We could only have four people to a table.  The tables had to be six feet apart.  There were stickers on the floor by the bar to remind us to socially distance.  People were required to wear masks when they weren’t seated at their table.

It was hard to limit the guests.  I tried to think of something to say to my daughter to make her feel better when we were going through this process.  She must have read my mind and said, “There’s nothing you can say to make me feel better,” so I just kept my mouth shut.  The quote I wanted to share with Katie is below, and it’s just what Katie and Mike did without me having to say it.

I tried to keep positive thoughts about the big day, and I prayed for a beautiful wedding for Katie & Mike ever since after their engagement.  I tried to chase away the what ifs that popped into my mind as the day got closer.  What if Father gets sick and can’t perform the ceremony?  What if the bride or groom get sick?  What if the catering director or photographers or flower lady get sick?  What if my husband or I get sick?  

Thankfully, when the big day arrived, everyone who was included in on the final plan, was there.  I couldn’t help but think, any couple who survived all this unusual wedding planning has a very strong bond.  ❤️

The day turned out to be simply elegant.

Life is accepting what is and working from that.  ~Gloria Naylor

A Sight for Sore Eyes

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I stumbled out of the car and briskly walked towards the door. I was so relieved we arrived. A series of moments had taken place to get me to that door, and I think maybe the seed was planted by the TV show, The Gilmore Girls. Rory, the main character, always talked about how she wanted to backpack through Europe. As my daughter Katie and I watched the show, Katie often commented on how she would like to go to Europe someday.

I would say, “Oh, but that’s so far away. You really wouldn’t want to go that far away from home.” Katie was often reminded about traveling to far away places when her classmates from grade school and high school travelled away on mission trips. “I didn’t even want to bring it up because I knew you and Dad would say no,” she told us. She was right about that.  After Katie went off to college, she hinted about travel abroad programs to Rome and Greece.

“Oh, but that’s so far away. You really wouldn’t want to go that far away from home for that long,” I repeated over again and hoped that something would distract her and make her want to stay. Or I said, “How about you do a short trip, like your sister.” Laura traveled abroad for three long weeks when she was in college. But, Mom’s idea of keeping Katie close to home was not an option for the determined young lady. Katie informed us that she went to a travel abroad meeting at school. “I am going to go to Ireland,” she announced. “The director is awesome, and I think I would learn a lot.” A plan to go to Ireland was smart because of the Irish roots Katie inherited from her father.

It was funny how the orientation meeting for parents and students was on St. Patrick’s Day. I wore my shamrock scarf and my husband dressed in bright Irish green colors. Katie told us that we looked like we were going to a party. As we learned more about the trip, the better we felt.

Next thing we knew, Katie was packing her one suitcase and one carry on that would have to last her for a semester in Ireland. It was hard for me to imagine how such a fashionable young lady was going to manage with one suitcase. As she scattered all of her favorite clothes on the bedroom floor and resolved to eliminate the unnecessary items, I still marveled how her dream of traveling abroad wasn’t even going to be stifled by having to abandon about 90 percent of her wardrobe!

When Katie stood in line with her future travel companions to check on her suitcase at the airport, I realized that the hardest part of being a parent is the letting go. But letting go doesn’t mean that we couldn’t go visit! I never thought that I would be one who would travel abroad, but my husband and I set about making plans.

Soon we were on an airplane to Philadelphia and then on a flight to Dublin. We flew over the Atlantic Ocean at night and having had a very busy day, I longed to lie down, but there was nowhere to go. I thought about how beds were underrated. I snoozed a bit until I was woken up by bits of turbulence or fellow passengers who were coughing, snoring or emitting unusual odors.

Thankfully, the sky started to light up and we saw how different the clouds looked beneath us. They seemed more compact and fluffy! As we went through the cloud bank, and the patchwork quilt of greens and browns greeted us, we felt lucky to see a land that was unfamiliar.

We ate a quick breakfast of eggs, sausage and potatoes and wondered why the breakfast menu offered pudding. We didn’t order pudding, but later Katie told us that Irish pudding is pig’s blood mixed with some other stuff like grains and looks like sausage!

We found the Go Bus, got on board and traveled through the sleepy town of Dublin along the Liffey River. After we went through a long tunnel, we were able to enjoy the countryside. I said, “This is the longest I have ever traveled to see someone!”  We snoozed off and on, and in between we spotted cattle or sheep happily grazing amongst the many colors of green that are divided by stone walls.

When we arrived at the bus station in Galway three hours later, we were surprised that we had to pay 20 cents to go through the turnstile to get to the bathroom. It’s the first time I had to pay for such a visit. The words, “I like to live in America, everything free in America,” a song from West Side Story kept running through my head.

My husband called the rental car company and a very nice young lady came to get us to deliver us to our rental car. We carefully paid attention to how she drove on the right side of the car, but on the left side of the road. It was scary how the traffic came at us from what we thought was the wrong direction. The pedals on the floor are the same as in the US, but everything else was backwards. We could not find signs identifying the names of the streets. The driver pointed out that sometimes they are on the sides of buildings or stuck on stone structures!

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By the time we were in our rental car and ready to go, I prayed that we would make it safely to our destination. My husband drove, and I think I was glad it was not me.  It took a while, but we found our hotel which was quite crowded with people trying to check in. When we got to our room, we grabbed a few items from our suitcase to deliver to our daughter, went to reception to ask for directions and headed out.

I felt cramped as we drove along because the streets are quite narrow and don’t have shoulders. It always felt like we were going to hit the curb, and I hated that I felt like a driving instructor as I had to remind myself and my husband to stay on the left side of the road. The travel book that I read before we left said that driving in Ireland is stressful; I wished that the author would have elaborated that point a little more because I missed seeing how beautiful the sky and mountains were and the pretty bay that we passed by because I was worried about everything! When we saw the sign we were looking for, we scooted over into the driveway, got honked at, passed by a parking lot, and found the cottage with a big sigh of relief.

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We rehearsed the procedures of putting the car in park. I got out and knocked on the door. We arrived at the time we predicted. When Katie greeted us, I thought to myself, “You are really a sight for sore eyes.” We hugged and I knew that all that it took to get to that door was going to be worth it. Not only to visit with our daughter but to be in such a beautiful place.

The journey to that door helped us discover that our children’s dreams can be and often are contagious!

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine