Monday, May 19, 2008

The Last Minute Substitution


It's Monday evening now, and I am home from work. What a weekend!

My wife's cousin got married over the weekend, and my wife served as the Matron of Honor. Now, I have never been so honored as to serve as the best man at a wedding, and this was her first turn at the role of Matron of Honor. I had forgotten how much simple work it was to pull on of these things off!

The groom's family hosted a fantastic dinner on Friday night (I'll have to check the "blog policy" about mentioning specific venues; the restaurant did an impeccable job, and has earned whatever small public recognition I can offer them), and the two families got along swimmingly (also, always a neat trick). There was only one problem - babysitting. My wife's best friend and her husband watched my kids for the night, but my son (still under two) really needs his mama at bed time, and was not easy for them. Worse still, for the wedding on Saturday night, they were coming, too. So, child care was needed for both my kids and theirs. Not an easy proposition.

Not an easy scenario; I had to call in the pros. I called MY dad.

My parents are getting older, but I worry a lot less about my dad than I do about my mom; and I think justifiably so. I am not a medical professional, but to my layman's eyes he is a very healthy specimen. When he comes over for dinner, he climbs the stairs to our apartment easily, gets down on the floor and wrestles and rolls around with the kids while my wife and I prepare dinner, then gets up to come sit at the table when it's ready. So, to me, if he can do all that, then he's not in bad shape. Any serious knee, back, or cardio-respiratory problems would seem to interfere with the whole climbing the stairs/up and down on the floor/wrestle the "Dangerous Lunatic" thing. He also still works full time, and he IS a medical professional. And, sometimes, his beeper goes off (this is called foreshadowing...).

My mom is another story. She has had both knees surgically replaced, and has serious muscle atrophy in both legs. She has congestive heart failure, diabetes, progressive rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, periodic attacks of diverticulosis, and persistent sciatica. It is difficult for her to climb the stairs to our apartment, we would only find her on the floor with the kids if she had fallen there, and then my wife and I would have to work together to get her back up an over to the kitchen table.

I love my mom, and I worry about her - a LOT. I encouraged my dad to leave her at home because I was afraid it would too much for her. That's why I was so surprised to have her answer the phone when I called home to check in around 8:00 Saturday night.

"Daddy got called in to the hospital," she told me. "They got in a new patient, and they needed his help with something."

"Are you sure that you're all right? The ceremony is over, they're serving dinner - do you need us to come home?"

"I'll be fine," she insisted. "Don't come home."


So, my wife and I hit the dance floor. Now, I can't judge how good we are, but whatever faults we have when it comes to dancing, we overcome with reckless enthusiasm. So, when the waitress came over to me, I didn't realize that two full hours had passed - we still hadn't sat down yet.

It seems my mom had called the club where the wedding was being held. I borrowed my father-in-law's cell phone, and stepped outside.

"Hello, mom?"

"Hi. I need you to come home right now (click)."

Yikes! All right then. Grab the wife, hug the bride and groom, and out the door. We managed to make it home bringing with us only a few vital and irreplaceable items that the bride will need on her Florida honeymoon - her only pair of prescription sunglasses, for example.

I came in the house. My mom was fine, but it had definitely been too much for her. She was exhausted, the kids were crying, and the house looked like an insult to disasters everywhere.

My wife and I knew that the possibility for just such a scenario exhisted. But she was the Matron of Honor, and the bride and groom didn't want kids at the wedding. What were we supposed to do?

To all of you aspiring young love-birds out there. I know that you want your wedding to be perfect, and that you are afraid that kids will "complicate" things, and that you don't have any of your own yet, so you can't fully empathize with what I'm talking about - but please, please, PLEASE let me bring my kids to your wedding. I have no problem killing them if they step out of line, but please don't make me leave them at home.

My mom will thank you for it.

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