Before I let it drift back into the farthest reaches of my memory, I should tell you about a little get-together I had with my family at the end of September. And not just any run-of-the-mill get-together, mind you. Yeah, as if you couldn’t tell from the title of this post, it was the occasion of my little sister’s wedding. Little Sis and her fiance, after being boyfriend and girlfriend for several years, then becoming an engaged couple, and eventually buying a house together (and, wow, what a house), formally tied the knot in a ceremony three weeks ago this weekend.
I’ll try not to bore you with every single detail of the weekend… like, say, my lengthy drive to and from Up North (driving through construction zones for half of that distance wasn’t fun). I will start the story after I had arrived in Little Sis’ hometown early Friday evening… when there was a mix-up with the hotel reservations. Turns out that the hotel had our rooms in Little Sis’ name, since she put a hold on some rooms for us (a corporate event in the area meant there was a big demand for rooms that weekend). Luckily, after a bit of haggling, the situation was straightened out.
There was no time for me to relax in my room, however. Almost as soon as I set my suitcase down, my other sister, who for the record is 13 months younger than I (Little Sis is 11 years behind me), wanted me to assist on last-minute decorations at the bar/restaurant where the reception would be. So, here am I, Little Sis, our sister, their daughters, and our mom spending Friday night at the restaurant’s banquet hall fixing every table with candles, bows, crepe paper, decorations, and whatever else Little Sis had for decorations, making sure every little thing was in place. And if it wasn’t, our sister made sure of it. Yeah, Sis can be demanding sometimes, making sure everything and everyone is how she sees fit (keep this fact in mind for later). Luckily for all of us, the hall was rather small in size; had it been well above its modest capacity (maximum 75, I think), we would’ve been there all night instead of just 2 hours.
Compared to the reception, the decoration setup for Little Sis’ wedding the next afternoon was quite modest. Actually, it was quite gorgeous, as Little Sis and her husband exchanged their rings and said all their “I wills” in a gorgeous park setting, complete with shade trees all around, a river in the background, and a small garden arch under which the officiant presided. With a setting such as this, it was a bit of a shame that we didn’t have ample time to enjoy it: The wedding took all of… wait for it… 12 minutes from the entrance of the mother of the bride to the last bridesmaid’s and groomsman’s departure to the receiving line. As beautiful as the wedding was, there was a voice in the back of my mind, no doubt influenced by weddings in churches that lasted much longer than 12 minutes (including our sister’s wedding 16 years ago), that thought “what, that’s it?”
At least the short wedding gave our families enough time to pose for pictures (bride with her family, groom with groomsmen, etc., etc.) and head for the reception. For me, it also meant enough time to run to the store to buy a card and a small gift for the happy couple. (Not only am I cheap, I’m also forgetful.) The post-wedding dinner was all right except for a slight mishap surrounding yours truly. Here’s the deal on that: The wedding party and their immediate families had the privilege of having dinner served by a waitstaff at their table first (the other guests stepped up to a buffet line). The server at our table delivered our meal and… whoops! She spilled a little bit of marinated vegetable and meat juice on my shirt sleeve. My white shirt sleeve. At least it was only just a little bit of juice that could easily be wiped up with a napkin, and it didn’t leave too much of a stain not only at the reception but also when I got home (thank goodness for laundry detergent).
More than any spill on my shirt, however, there was something else that dampened at least my enjoyment of my little sister’s big day and evening. No, it wasn’t something that Little Sis did or did not do. Rather, it was something I did, and how our other sister reacted to it. It was after 8PM, less than two hours after the dinner plates had been cleared off and well past the time the DJ played their first song. Little Sis, her new husband, and their wedding party had finished their formal march to the dance floor and did their duties of tossing the garter and bouquet. And I was very, very tired. Now, I’ve never been one for dancing the night away to the turned-up-to-11 sound of pulse-pounding music. But the combination of a long day and a not-very-restful night’s sleep (freight trains going past your hotel room at 3AM are no fun) had me very beat. So, I advised my mom that I was heading back to the hotel early. I let Little Sis know as well, and she had no problem with it at all.
Our sister, however, was disappointed in my early departure. When I let Sis know I was heading back to the hotel for the evening, she wanted me to stay. Heck, she insisted that I stay. “We’ve got a quiz for the couple’s siblings,” she told me. I politely declined, saying it sounded interesting but I was quite exhausted. Her response: “Well, if you’re going to be a stick in the mud…”
And with that, I left the party… tired. Well, yeah, I was tired. But I also left the party a bit disappointed in myself, in that I’ve never evolved past the wallflower phase of my life. Perhaps Sis had a point in calling me a “stick in the mud,” a thought that also left me disappointed in myself for displeasing my sister in such a way. In my defense, how was I to know she had some “party game” going on?
But Sis has known me for all her life, and by now she should have expected that I would forever be the wallflower when it comes to parties. I am never going to change overnight on that regard, or at least change into Sis’ kind of party person. I’ll never be the person Sis expects me to be… nor will she be the kind of open-minded, understanding person I had hoped Sis to be. Which makes me afraid that Sis will reject me and shut me out of her family’s life if I were to ever come out to my family. No, I’m not planning to come out to them any time soon, but… *sigh*
Despite disappointing one sister, I left the party having true happiness for my little sister. She had a simple yet wonderful wedding. More importantly, she and her new husband are truly in love, and that the children they bring with them form a truly awesome and supportive family. Here’s hoping they have a long, happy, and wonderful life together.
Oh, a footnote: The next morning, after checking out of the hotel, I stopped by Little Sis’ house. And just in time, too, for she and her new hubby were in the process of opening their wedding gifts. Yes, they did get a lot of gifts, including a lot of framed pictures to hang somewhere in their house (they’ve got a lot of wall space, so I’m sure they’ll figure it out). Yes, they were also thankful for my card and my $20; when it comes to a wedding gift, there’s no such thing as cheap and unappreciated. (I received their thank you card in the mail on Friday.) Oh, Sis and Mom were there as well. And, no, none of us broached the subject of my leaving the party early, most notably Sis. I think all of us gained the realization, if we hadn’t done so already, that the most important thing about the weekend, besides the celebration of two people in love, is that we were all together to celebrate it… no matter who we may be, what backgrounds we come from, or how long or short we stayed at the reception. If only every family had members who understood that.