weekend lookback, wedding bell edition

I'm way overdue on that gratitude meme that's floating around Facebook right now. My dear, dear and faraway friend Debbie challenged (is that the right word, even?) me weeks back when I was in West Virginia, and the simple fact is that I haven't put my time to it. The truth is, I'm grateful for things all the time. Like right now, when your kid's sickness is obvious enough to make the decision to keep him home from school clear cut.

We'd had a rough week last week, Cal and I. Lots of misunderstandings. Lots of conversations where his words when one way and mine went the other (usually over each other's heads). Neel was out of town Thursday night and not due back until late Friday, so I grabbed a pair of shorts and t-shirt when I went to pick Cal up and school and texted him to say I thought we should head to the beach for a walk.

His reaction went pretty much as I predicted. Reluctant. "I'm tired." And then, "I don't need to change," when I said let's go anyway. (He wears a tie to school everyday...) But I knew that was coming, so I was clever and had also packed his glove and ball. He definitely perked up after I told him that.

We had the place to ourselves. It was cool and breezy and the waves were kicking up frothy foam. We each had our own toys (Cal his ball and glove and me my camera), and we still talked over each other a little, but we took a little better care of each other when it happened. I'm thinking this might make a nice Friday tradition. Fall is the best time of year at the beach.

And of course we went to a wedding this weekend! Neel observed, brilliantly, that our trip to Philadelphia was like a Woody Allen movie. Cal started getting sick. It rained. We all snapped at each other. We had lunch at a diner, and in the booth next to us was this band who were talking about the music and apps on their kids' iPhones. Traffic was miserable, and trips that should have taken 10 minutes took 25. We scooted into Erin and Jeff's beautiful ceremony at the very last second where we stood in the back, beaming.

At dinner, the other guests were so fun that I suspected that we got the best table, and Erin confirmed it. Our new friends were straight out of Four Weddings and Funeral, and one guest actually had been at a funeral that morning. The location was stunning, Erin was beautiful, and JAMAL so happy. I feel hesitant to share some of the photos I took since this was their day and her story to tell, but you may see them crop up here and there over the next day or so.

In the meantime, Cal grew sicker and sicker, and by the time dinner ended, his fever was raging. Neel and I made the call we'd been considering, and pulled the plug. The dancing had started at that point, so it was easy to say good-bye and slip out. We changed in the car (?), loaded Cal up on cold meds and fever reducers, and hit the road to head back home again. Seriously, my husband is such a trooper. We pulled into our driveway just after 2AM. Brutal drive but so worth it to be in our own beds.

On the dark and lonely roads of the Eastern Shore, Neel and I chatted quietly about the wedding (of course), and reminisced about our own. Our 20th anniversary is next year, and it was nice to look back on all the disparate parts that made up our ceremony and reception, thinking about what we'd change now that we were 20 years older and wiser. The truth is, not a lot. Standing at Erin and Jeff's wedding and listening to their lovely vows, it's nice to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'd do it all over again. I wish nothing but the same for them. For all of us, really.