This past week will get chalked up as one of the great ones. Some of its key features included seersucker suits, a gimpy crawl and gummy smile, a tremendous Canes’ victory, an enchanting wedding, and my girls cozied up on my couches. It was nothing short of perfection.

Trying to write about it, though, has been anything but perfection. I’ve had massive writer’s block. I think it’s because I want my words to reflect exactly what the week meant to me… a great big sensory overload of love. I don’t want to sound sappy or saccharine, but it’s hard to avoid, particularly since Lauren’s wedding was as poetically perfect as her new husband’s name: Crimson Cloud. (If that name doesn’t smack of the sublime, I don’t know what does.) The venue was dappled and drowsy, the lake was lavender and languid, the couple was breathlessly beautiful. Of course, that’s if I write it the way Monet would’ve painted it — brush strokes dabbed in pastel snapshots …


But look closer… get rid of the soft focus and purple prose and zoom right in to find real life: all of the crazy, chaotic crap that never fails to occur when kith and kin come together. Yes, I had my girls and my boys at home under the same roof – a rare gift, indeed. But along with all the impeccable Instagram images that I’d like to post, came the inevitable awkward and angry and downright difficult moments (tears, tantrums, spills, spankings, bruises, breakage, user errors, and free-the-nipple campaigns) that make real life paradoxically miserable and magical. Face it, without life’s hiccups and misadventures, it would be a pretty boring ride…

I’ll start with Friday night. The girls are at rehearsal dinner, the boys are in bed, Mike is in Calhoun tending to a lovely and lopsided football game… and I’m alone with my newly delivered rent-the-runway dress. It’s perhaps the most ridiculously perfect sheath dress you ever did see – all veined in copper overlay like the throat of an exotic orchid. I’ve never rented the runway. This is a gamble. If it doesn’t work out, I have nothing to wear to tomorrow’s wedding. I slip the Marchesa masterpiece over my head. It’s a tad tricky maneuvering the shoulders, but nothing I can’t handle. It fits like a glove — like an embroidered, incandescent, extraordinarily expensive glove. But I am renting it for way cheap, so I’m golden… until I get down to the business of taking it off.

Um… not happening.

I’m a wedged bear in a great tightness, to quote the illustrious Winnie-the-Pooh. So I try another approach. And another. And I jiggle and jostle. And shimmy and shake. Until I eventually get it up over my head… where I become trapped — very much like Pooh-bear in rabbit’s hole. Or an infant giraffe stuck in the birth canal. Take your pick.

“Oh, bother,” I say. (No, not really. That’s the Pooh-Bear euphemism for what I really said.)

So now what? Whatever I do, I can’t rip this sucker. If I do, I owe hundreds of dollars. But if I stay like this, I will surely suffocate. Or lose a limb. At the very least, I’ll be sporting a Pooh-style smiley face on my ass in another six hours when my family gets home if I don’t get this remedied…


What happens next, I’m not entirely sure. I may have blacked out, or I’m visited by the paranormal, or I drop weight… or some such. I do know that somehow I get out. As I hang my dress back on the hanger, thoroughly defeated and dress-less for the wedding, I discover that there, cleverly stitched into the back seam and mocking me, is an invisible zipper — perfectly visible if I hadn’t been so blinded by the sheer majesty of the Marchesa.

Cut to Saturday afternoon. I’m in my rented dress with the invisible zipper, looking every inch the rent-the-runway success story in the Marchesa and a pair of strappy heels that I will hate myself for in a few short hours. I manage to get my fellas to pose for a picture, begrudgingly – but it’s a good thing I have been persistent because it turns out to be the only photo with the boys that we take before Parker scores a raspberry to the forehead and a big, black shiner to the right eye.

family-wedding-pic  girlsandme

It happens as we load the boys into Mike’s truck. We are out of breath and damp and drippy from running around gathering various and sundry supplies for two growing twin boys with appetites and attention spans that are never satisfied. One second Parker is standing in front of his car seat, fire truck in hand, while Mike adjusts the air conditioning. The next second, he’s plunging two-and-a-half feet onto the driveway, his right temple kissing the concrete and his right eye smacking the fire engine. By the time we reach him, he is bloody and bruised, his eye swollen shut.


“Oh, bother,” Mike says. 😉

“He looks remarkably good for being hit by a fire truck,” I say.

We throw together an ice pack and hit the road. Apparently this wedding is a black eye affair.

Pulling into the venue, we’re met with the most pristine setting for nuptials I ever did see: gently sloping lawns of clover and fescue, scattered snatches of cypress and willows, rough-hewn church pews, peeling cedar pergolas, and a spring-fed lake cradling a single, red canoe. Amidst all of this grandeur, our quirky crazy family cranking it up a notch with screwball snapshots and madcap memories: the quick neuro-check in the bride’s dressing room by big sissy the surgeon; the itsy bitsy spider serenade, mid-ceremony from the second pew by my baby boy; my baby girl in her maid-of-honor dress breastfeeding my grandson during dinner (which, I must say, filled this mama with pride and some other guests with anxiety); twirly dances in the twilight between biggest big sister and smallest baby brother; diaper changes by daddy on flatbed trucks sporting “Just Married” signs; sweet dandelion bouquets for mommy; and a right serious whip and nae nae by the bride and her attendants.

caitandtate  boopandbentley

So this week was an exercise in imperfect perfection. My niece got married, my girls were in town, and my boys wore their first seersucker. There was a spring fed lake, a single red canoe, a flawless bride, and one black eye. It was as imperfectly perfect as a Griswold family Christmas tree: kinda full, lotta sap. And that’s as it should be.

May we all live sappily ever after.