Let me start by saying happy one month anniversary, Abigail and Benjamin. It's taken me this long to conjure up the emotional stamina to write this post.
In 2011, I attended seven weddings between January and September - five of which I was in. One being my own. And the year of the wedding is, without a doubt, my favorite of my twenty-two [almost twenty-three].
This marathon of nuptials culminated with a quick weekend trip to Savannah, GA - the destination of our first best friend road trip and the place we lent our Abby to for the last four years.
I flew back for Abs' birthday a of couple years ago, but there was something momentous about being there again with a new hubs in tow and each of the four families. My sister, brother-in-law and niece came. And Ash's grandparents made the trip from Louisiana.
I somewhat floated through that weekend not allowing myself to sit firmly on my emotions being as fragile as they were. The boundary between me being a joy-filled bridesmaid and a blubbering mess was certainly flimsy. You see, when it comes to a wedding of a friend or family member, I celebrate this brand new family as well as the life I've shared with the breath-taking bride. I may have done it silently [those flimsy emotions shatter when I try to express them verbally], but I found myself basking in the warmth of a deep, worn, well-known friendship. I am flooded by memories so much that my mind cannot grasp the relationship's depth. It can only wrap around the fact that moving forward is the only option now. This wedding meant, once again, linking arms with these friends and stepping into a new phase of life. I'll forever be aware of what a gift that is. They had done it for me just two months earlier. Hannah ended their poem at our rehearsal dinner with, "...you're not getting rid of us." A favorite saying of mine. What a gift.
For Ash, Hannah, and myself, what lingered between the top of our heads and the low-hanging, moss-filled oaks of the Georgia coast was the fact that this arm-linked step would be a tremendous one. Abigail was moving to Illinois, and we didn't know when we'd lay eyes on her again. But arm-linked it was. And stepping we were.
As for events, it was a blast - a weekend filled with new experiences. My very favorite kind.
Friday brought an early morning roadtrip with the fam, an unexpected reunion in the hotel, sharing clothes with Ash, rehearsing in a charming church shaded by moss and low-hanging limbs, our first low country shrimp boil [the other half's version of a crawfish boil], a slightly tearful speech, a trip to Tybee, catch-up time with Rach [Abs' big sister], a white-washed beach house, an armadillo cake, pretty little unmentionables, and four bunk beds for four best friends.
On Saturday morning we were awaken with the sounds of four mamas and a sister - Ruston had come to Tybee. It was comical, of course. They all had obviously had their coffee way before us. They were giving hugs and serving breakfast and asking questions and laughing about our need for our own reality TV show. They brought more than cut fruit and egg casseroles. They brought an emotion-deepening reminder that we don't just share lives, we share families. They brought familiarity to a place we'd never been. And they brought us a piece of that home town togetherness that we didn't know [and still don't know] when we'll taste again.
The afternoon was the familiar whirlwind of hair, makeup, pictures, dresses, steaming, prayer, and the moment the dress goes on. One of my favorite instances of that weekend was when Abs, after putting on her dress and looking perfectly ready to go, looks in the mirror and says, "Do we think it needs the sash? Let's try the sash." She grabbed it out of her wedding day bag and requested a small bow. I loved that it was perfectly Abigail - the queen of last minute outfit adjustments. And I loved that I was blessed enough to know that about her.
All of a sudden, the music was playing, my chin was quivering and my eyes were bouncing from my sweet, smiling husband to my neighboring best friends and bridesmaids, to my wonderful family, to the mother of the bride, to the groom, and to the bride herself being escorted by her equally lip-quivering father. I clinched my bouquet, tried not to bend my knees, worshipped, cried, and smiled.
The rest of September 24, 2011 was spent snapping party pics, cutting the wedding cake while learning how to cut a wedding cake, and taking turns dancing with D, Audrey, and the girls in the thick, late-summer air while surrounded by string lights and green seersucker and cotton stalks. If it's the last dance party we have for a while, it was a great one to end on.
When it was time to go, we hugged Abs tightly, said we'd talk to her in a week, and went and got our spot at the front of the sparkler line. We successfully smiled and hollered her all the way to their "Just Married"-clad car until we let reality turn into a puddle of tears and Ash feeling like she was going to be sick. I laugh now at what the rest of their guests must of thought of us with our pitiful faces as I hugged D tightly and Hannah and Ash gripped one another. So thrilled for our newlywedded sister, so heartsick at seeing her drive out of sight, and yet, so determined that there will be a next time.
With these friendships, as well as any loved-ones that I may live far away from one day, I will not spend the rest of our existence wishing for a shorter drive time. We may have to shop together via picture texts and send birthday gifts in a Fed Ex box and give video tours of our homes and splurge on plane tickets when we just can't take it any longer. Regardless, I will celebrate with their everydays and with their pivotal days. And I will celebrate the technology and love that makes our lives seem closer.