Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Parenthood: Week 49.5 – The Wedding: Part 3 --> The Ceremony

Sitting in the back of the church surrounded by families with little children, I just had to laugh at the situation. Even though all of the kids were pretty quiet and well-behaved we all knew that once the ceremony started it would be anyone’s guess which kid would yell out loud first and need to be removed by one of his or her parents.

Ollie screaming or making a funny sound in the middle of a quiet wedding ceremony isn’t misbehavior. He has no idea what we expect him to do and why we need him to act a certain way. He gets some cues to be quiet, but he really doesn’t understand that there are times to be quiet and times when he can be loud.

Ollie is a pretty mild-mannered baby, so we didn’t expect a lot of issues, but something about a quiet church made him get lively, giggly and more active. It’s absurd to think that Ollie and the other kids around us could stay quiet all the way through a wedding ceremony. The efforts to keep these kids quiet only made the whole situation seem that much more humorous.

Yes, babies screamed during the ceremony. At one point, one very quiet part of the wedding, Ollie blew a very loud raspberry (farting sound) and my niece screamed incredibly loudly at another quiet part of the ceremony.

All we could do is laugh this off, because getting mad and frustrated was not going to help the situation. It’s kind of like putting drums in front of a whole class of third graders and getting angry that they are playing their instruments while you are trying to talk to them. You know what’s going to happen, so why get angry about it?

We got through it and I hope that my cousin and her husband didn’t mind the screaming coming from the back of the church. Ollie didn’t mean to interrupt, he just felt a need to express himself.

I have so much more respect for the parents who brought kids to our wedding. People flew in with kids, stayed in hotels, dealt with dinners way past their kid’s normal dinner time and like us had to deal with kids going to bed far past their bedtime. I did not hear one complaint. Now I know how incredibly difficult it is to do a wedding weekend with children, I am so thankful that these parents put in the extra effort.

The morning we left to go back to Chicago there was a brunch gathering in the hotel. It was one more time that people could get together and chat. My aunt, my cousin’s mom came up to us as we were leaving and thanked us for making it and bringing Ollie. She said that she understood how hard it was to travel with a baby. I brushed it off as not being a big deal.  She responded with a knowing smile kindly acknowledging my lie. Then she said, “Ollie being here made everybody more happy. Everything was better because you brought him.”

Sometimes as a parent you don’t realize the effect that your actions have on the people around you. The fact that Ollie was at the wedding and crawled around the reception floor during dinner pulling up on random people’s chairs brought smiles to people. Ollie and Amelia chasing each other around on the dance floor during dinner provided some incredibly cute entertainment other people were waiting for their dinner.  There's something about the presence of a new generation that gives meaning to the absense of older generations who are no longer with us. 

We put ourselves through a lot to get Ollie to this wedding and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. At the end of it all, I loved Ollie and Diana even more than I did before we went on this adventure.

Family is worth it. Ollie will not remember being at my cousin’s wedding but my family will remember Ollie being there. Years from now that connection will bond my family to Ollie and one day I’ll tell him about how his spirit made a wedding that much more beautiful and how he shared in a beautiful day when two amazing people joined their lives together in marriage.

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