A few days ago, the 4eyedblonde clan loaded up and headed for Californ I.A., for a wedding.
At a winery.
Now, if you thought for a second that we are the type of people to let a couple of small, bratty kids get in the way of free booze, you need to reevaluate your understanding of the term “alcoholic”. We might be old, but we aren’t mature enough to keep from driving for two days to get free, fresh, wine.
But, let me tell you something I hadn’t the foresight to plan for when loading up for the trip: Kids make fancy weddings difficult - dare I say it, unenjoyable even. Gasp!
I felt like I was trying to wrangle two little piglets into the farthest corner of the garden-like area where the ceremony was taking place, without making a spectacle of myself and my kids. I was trying to blend in with the scenery, but I don’t think a three year old’s continuous rock-kicking and subsequent hushed scolding can at all blend with a vineyard wedding complete with a professional violinist playing sweetly. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t convince Adalei that it was not a good idea to play in the rocks, just like her brother, subsequently dirtying up her cute clothes – just like her brother.
Why am I so horrible about finding any form of entertainment for my children that would circumvent the behavior that causes me so much stress? Stupid – stupid – stupid. But then again, what could I have given them, really? It’s not like I can read a book to them, or play a game of memory, or tickle them. I tried to tempt Arden with my new best friend – my iPhone – but had no luck. And my biggest fear was that, in the middle of the vow exchange, one – or both – of my kids would do something to make a crap-ton of noise and cause everyone to stop what they were doing and turn to look at us. I decided I just had to get the hell out of there.
So finally, after the bride had made her way to the front, and the official had everyone’s attention, I swooped Adalei onto my hip like a super heavy Cabbage Patch, all slumped over, and grasped Arden’s defiant hand and steered them down the hill back to the entrance to the winery, out of earshot of the other guests. I had expected this part – it’s just part of being mommy to young kids. I know I can’t expect them to sit still, with their hands in their laps – so I knew to just get over it. But after the new bride and groom appeared at the bottom of the hill, where I was hiding with the kids, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad that I didn’t get to see them make their vows. The bride was so gorgeous, and the groom looked so proud. I was sad to have missed out.
But I would have been more sad to have been remembered as the mom with the kids who squealed and screamed all through the ceremony, embarrassing the couple.
Note: My husband was tasked with managing the camcorder, so he wasn’t available to help with the kids, not that there would have been anything he could have done to keep them quiet either.
After the ceremony it was, like, fifty times worse. I actually considered leaving my husband at the wedding and taking the kids back to our camper. Arden wanted to run around and Adalei wanted to do investigating of her own. And I’m sure you can imagine how well their agendas meshed – uh, they didn’t. Arden wanted to climb on all the tables and Adalei wanted to practice her walking skills while dragging her blankie all over the nasty, stone paved patio. I had to watch Arden like a hawk, knowing that the second I looked away he would be gone and I would become the irresponsible parent wandering around the winery with a look of panic tattooed on my face, holding my wiggly daughter on my hip. I’m telling you, I couldn’t have a conversation with ANYONE because I constantly had to be on guard. Even after the ceremony, while everyone wondered around waiting for dinner (for TWO EFFING HOURS), it was still uncomfortably stressful, trying to keep track of the kids while simultaneously trying to engage in adult conversation.
Neil got all pissed off at me for being so up tight but it was impossible for me to enjoy anything when all I could concentrate on was my squirmy kids. I just wanted to go home and be done with it. And just when you might agree with him, make a note that there were a couple of times when another guest returned my son to me after he had been separated from his dad. And sure, these were probably all good people, attending this beautiful wedding, but aside from fearing my son would meet an unmasked boogie man, what if he ventured into some place where I couldn’t find him? It’s a working vineyard.
Then, finally, dinner came – praise God. This gave us all something to do, in one place, to keep ourselves busy – for a few minutes until Arden saw another child sneak something from the desert table and thought this gave him permission to do the same. Well, shit.
Slowly, we made it through dinner and I decided it might be safe to have a glass or two of wine. And then, finally – and I do mean finally – the D.J. started his gig and everyone swamped the dance floor. Arden went toe to toe with the only other little boy guest (there were only about three other children there, and they were all about eight years old) in an impromptu dance-off. My boy has SKILLS now! (Skills he OBVIOUSLY got from his mother) Everyone sort of backed up and watched him. It was so cute! And Addy had found a happy place on the chest of my friend, the mother of the bride. At that point, I can finally say I had been having fun for a while. But it seemed like a long time coming though.
Quickly enough, the dance part of the wedding was over and it was time to leave. They flipped on the lights and everyone made their way out of the tent and back down to the winery entrance.
Do I wish I didn’t have kids so that I could have enjoyed this engagement without the stress of managing two iddy bitties? No. Do I wish that we could have had a pop-up babysitter for the occasion? You’re damn right. That wedding was an awakening.
Let my experience be a lesson for you: If you are invited to a wedding, and you would like to stay for the duration, unless the venue has entertainment for your young children, do not go. Or, find a babysitter. Trust me. Even if you are one of those go-with-the-flow flexible moms I wish to be some day, don’t tempt fate. Don’t do it.
Unless you bring your own kiddie entertainment. A little mobile magician, perhaps?