The Wedding: as a Mum
Now, don’t get me wrong, my sister’s wedding was wonderful. But, as a mum of a pre-schooler and a toddler, it was stressful, tiring and pretty miserable.
The day before: drop Bunny at school, rush out to get bits needed for wedding gift and buy food for the weekend. Rush home, drop the shopping, wife and Bear off and run back round to the school to pick up Bunny.
Get home and finish packing, sort out the main wedding present (a framed print of the wedding reading), get lunch, clean off the joke present (a gnome from our garden), get me and the girls changed, and pack up the car. Leave an hour late. Pouring with rain so stuck in busier than usual Friday afternoon traffic. Arrive at the church half an hour late for the rehearsal then drive to our accommodation, unpack the car, feed the children some snacks, sit down for 10 minutes then back in the car to go for a family meal. This was actually quite enjoyable!
Leave the rest of the family at the restaurant to get the girls home to bed. Once they’re asleep, pop next door with a sleeping Bear to have a quick drink with my family. Go to bed, exhausted.
Bear wakes and feeds continuously through the night. Give up trying to sleep at 5am and get up at 7. Wash up and make breakfast. Get in the shower. Drag very reluctant girls into shower as they scream blue murder at having their hair washed. Finally get out and Mum starts knocking at the door to see if I’m ready for the hairdressers. Throw on some clothes and run out the door. Have my hair washed and styled but disappointed as it looks the same as it does when I scrunch dry it in a hurry and nothing like the Marilyn starlet curls I’d asked for. Get home and start to get ready. Pop next door for some lunch. Not much food for the amount of people so have 6 crisps then head back to finish getting ready. Feed the Bear so she can have a nap then finish my make up. Try to style Bunny’s hair but she doesn’t like it, so give up. Get dressed, get Bunny dressed, make sure we’ve got everything we might need for the rest of the day. Wake up the Bear and get her changed. Go out to see my parents having photos taken. My mum tells us to hurry up and go so I don’t get to see my sister before we leave to wish her good luck which made me sad.
We get to the church and hang around outside waiting for the bride to arrive. The Bear is very clingy and won’t be put down and manages to pull my dress down, breaking the clasps so I spend the rest of the day trying to hold it up. There is no chance she’s going to walk up the aisle after all, which is disappointing (and a big waste of money for her outfit). Eventually, the bridesmaids and the bride and my dad arrive and we’re finally ready to go. I drop the other flower girls off with the bridesmaids and try once more to get the Bear to join them, but she grabs my leg so I give up and carry her inside to await the big moment.
My sister walks in on my dad’s arm and he looks so proud, and she looks so happy. It’s a wonderful image. As they pass, I grab the flower girls and seat them in the pew next to me, now very squashed, even though the pew in front only has my mum and my other sister’s boyfriend. I don’t have an order of service, so can’t join in with the hymns, but am holding Bear and trying to keep Bunny entertained so it doesn’t really matter. As my moment approaches, I distract Bear with her hairband and pass her to my wife so that I can slip away without her noticing and creating a fuss. I stand at the front and give my reading, surprised at how easily it comes out despite having not practiced as advised by the vicar! As I reach the final sentence, I look at my sister and her now husband and realise that perhaps they are taking it the wrong way and think I’m suggesting they’re ugly. I panic but can’t do anything, so have to live with the thought I may have inadvertently offended them in front of 200 people. I sit back down, feeling sick at what I’ve done and wait for the service to end. We then hang around outside again while confetti is thrown and more photos are taken.
Eventually, the bride and groom drive off in the red MG and we can get back to the car. As we have to wait for my great aunt and uncle to leave to get Bunny in the car, we end up being the last to leave the car park and still have to go back to the house to pick up our wellingtons and the wedding gifts which I’d forgotten in my panic. And, of course, now we get lost!
Finally, we arrive at the reception. We carry the children through the muddy field into the marquee and try to find somewhere to leave them to go back and get the presents, the highchair and change bag. In the end the clingy Bear comes with us and we make a couple of trips instead. As we put the presents with the other gifts, my mum comes rushing over and says “There you are! We’re all stood outside waiting for you for the pictures! Hurry up!”. We have our photos taken and then go back inside. Unfortunately, Bunny trips over a tent peg on the way back in and lands in the mud which upsets her greatly. We take her to the portaloos to clean her up as best we can.
By now, it’s time to go through for dinner. Bunny and wife are at one end of the top table and I’m sat with Bear at the other end. I put her in her highchair and ask my sister’s boyfriend to keep an eye on her while I hunt out some still water to quench my thirst; it’s been around 5 hours since I had anything to eat or drink! Thoughtfully, the Bear has a puzzle to play with at her place, so is kept amused with that. My sister’s boyfriend pours me a glass of wine and we chat a little before he and the guy next to me start talking about their engineering degrees. I’m distracted by Bear throwing her puzzle pieces on the floor, so can’t really join in. Thankfully, the starter arrives and I take some leaves and meat and try to work out if the Bear will eat any. She spits it straight out, so I dig out a biscuit, some raisins and a rice cake from the change bag to keep her from screaming in hunger. When the main course arrives, I take some meat and then pick vegetables I know she’ll eat. I then get the bowl with the last of the pad thai noodles and scrape some out. Somehow, the rice has missed me and I panic realising this was the best option for food for the Bear. Then I realise there’s nothing to put food on for her and no way for her to eat it, so I ask for a plate and teaspoon and cut up the noodles and meat so that she can scoop it up and eat it. We both eat a little and then everyone at my end of the table disappears so I finish my food and we wander off to find a beer. On the way back, I pop up to the other end of the table to chat to my wife and see how her meal went. Luckily, it sounds as though the people she was sat with included her in the conversations and Bunny wasn’t difficult.
Now time for the speeches. Bunny decided to join me and wanted to sit on my lap as well even though with Bear, there really wasn’t room. Trying to negotiate this meant I missed large chunks and had to hand my camera to my sister’s boyfriend to take photos. As the best man started to speak, Bear began to scream and I had to leave and took her into the empty marquee and sat on a haybale and fed her. While feeding, she grabs at my necklace and rips it off. Another waste of money. She seemed happier, but was obviously very tired by now, so I figured I’d go get the change bag and get her changed into something more comfortable. However, a group of latecomers were crowded in the doorway, I assume listening to the speeches, so we couldn’t get back in. As everyone came out, we slipped back in and wife and I got her changed. We then spent some time talking to a great aunt and then a friend of my mum’s. Bunny was off with the other children having a fantastic time, but Bear was flaking fast. I grabbed a glass of water and then ploughed out through the pouring rain and dark to get the sling from the car. By the time I got back, she was asleep so it was easy to slip her in and make her comfortable, and meant I could find some dessert to make up for not getting much at dinner. But I was too late again! So we went to the disco and had a bit of a dance with Bunny until my dad fell over and caught her leg, making her cry. Calmed her down and then chatted to more family friends and took photos of the dancing. I got a Coke (I was driving after all!) and then discovered that a huge gammon and cheese had appeared. Hooray! Shared some with Bunny and then we were going to go home. Until, she decided she didn’t want to after all, and went back to playing with her new friend.
My sister and her husband were due to leave at 23.00 so we decided to wait until then which was around another hour. As the band finished playing, my cousin got up and sang a beautiful song to them and everyone was cheering. Then there was more dancing and my parents even danced a little with Bunny and her new friend. I started doing the rounds, saying goodbyes and we got ready to go. My sister threw her bouquet and my other sister was upset not to catch it, having been shoved out of the way by another singleton, desperate for some extra luck! When it became apparent that the bride and groom weren’t leaving anytime soon, we said goodbye and headed out into the dark and torrential rain, praying the car wouldn’t be stuck in the mud. We made it home and had yet another sleepless night with Bunny waking 5 times in 5 hours, and Bear feeding in between.
The decision not to join the bride and groom and all their friends for a pub lunch the next day was easy – two tired and whingey girls, an extremely tired mummy and a long, wet drive home. Never have I been happier to curl up on the sofa with a Disney film and chocolate cake!
As I said at the start, a wonderful day for the happy couple, but hard work and not much fun for a mummy. I missed speeches, I didn’t have much to eat or drink and I don’t even know if they had a first dance. But I am happy that they had a fantastic time as that is what matters most. And so did Bunny and my wife. So it wasn’t all bad at all and I glowed at seeing my little girl having so much fun and garnering so much admiration from everyone. A reminder that this is what being a mum is really about – enjoying those precious moments in the midst of the difficult ones.