Written September 23, 2013.
As I write this, my family’s still in that tired-out-yet-happy mode from our main event last weekend: my nephew Mark’s wedding.
Most people my age don’t have a nephew that is old enough to get married, but I am one of the lucky chosen few who comes from a family with a dozen siblings. With a 26-year age spread between the oldest and youngest siblings, we get unique family dynamics because of that age range. For instance, my sister Deb (Mark’s mom) got married exactly one month after I was born. Her son Mark is just a few years younger than me.
And even more interesting, he’s actually older than my youngest sister. Somewhere, there is probably a photo of my nephew Mark holding his brand new baby aunt. Now that’s a scenario that doesn’t happen every day.
During the summer that Mark was about 12, he stayed overnight at our house about once a week. He played with his uncle Matthew and aunt Victoria like most kids play with cousins. Over and over that summer, Mark, Victoria, and Matthew set up a card table in the living room and played late night Monopoly until the wee hours of the morning.
Fast forward many years, and we all gathered for his wedding. Getting together to celebrate such a happy family event is wonderful.
Here are some highlights in numbers:
1967–The year my mom wore a classic little black dress for her 10-year reunion. My sister Victoria dug it out of the attic about a year ago and tried it on. We decided the dress looked timeless, and Victoria decided she would wear it to Mark and Sheila’s wedding. Forty-six years later, it still looks as classy as ever.
1000–(Or more) photos taken. My little ring bearer son asked, “Mom, when are they going to have enough pictures?” when he’d had enough of standing nicely and smiling.
111–Miles from our home, to the wedding in Kellogg and reception in Wabasha, and back home again. Worth every mile.
65-– Degrees on a beautiful September day of sunshine for the wedding. It was warm enough to stand outside, but nobody sweated to death in a poufy dress or tuxedo. Why does everyone think June is the perfect time to get married? September seems pretty ideal to me.
12–Midnight, when we finally turned into a pumpkin and went home. Even when feet hurt and legs are tired, and it’s hard to want to leave such a fun occasion. Our kids managed to stay up and dance several hours past their usual bedtimes.
6–Year old ring bearer, my son. Normally, I have to beg my first grader to put on a simple polo shirt to go to church. And as soon as church is done, he takes that “fancy shirt” right off. I have to say, it was awfully fun to play dress up with him and see him fully decked out in a tuxedo. He looked quite dashing. With his red hair, he looked like a little mini version of the groom Mark, who had red hair as a kid.
5–Lovely bridesmaids, including my two nieces, Kristina and Nicole.
4–hours dancing. Everything from a polka to the Chicken Dance to 80’s rock, the Kramer family maintained a solid presence on the dance floor the entire time. At the end of the evening, my tired two-year-old insisted on being held AND being out on the dance floor. She fell asleep in my arms while I danced to lullaby favorites like ACDC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.”
3-Weddings for the ring bearer pillow. My sister Deb used the pillow for her wedding 35 years ago, wih my brother Mike as the ring bearer. Her daughter Nicole used the pillow for her wedding, with my nephew Nathan as the ring bearer. Now her son Mark used the pillow, and my son was the ring bearer.
2-Pint-sized slow dancers. My four-year-old held hands and danced with his three-year-old cousin on several occasions during the night. Two little kids dancing together is precious. It’s just the sort of thing that makes the tantrums and messes all worthwhile.
1-Happy couple. Wishing you many great years together, Mark and Sheila Manemann!