We made it! We got organized the morning of the wedding, but it was truly order out of chaos. Mom and dad ended up dressing Tess in her
mini wedding dress
to quote Sabine, while Dave and I stocked the diaper bag for a 14-hour marathon. As Tess is cared for at home and our usual outings with her are brief, we aren’t used to packing for such long periods! A lot of bottles had to be made, pjs and a full change of clothes, diapers, inserts, diaper paste, baby food, bib, toys…I am starting to understand why diaper bags are so huge. We finally made it out the door and enjoyed the uneventful drive to Ãˆve, one of my favorite places in the world.
We oohed and ahed over the RADIANT bride, grinned at the groom, and I got to catch up with some of the wonderful people I’ve met over the years. I have to admit, I was surprised at how many people I knew, and who I was delighted to pick up with again. Sabine and I have known each other for 19 years, and if we count that in friends, it really shows.
Then everyone headed over to the mairie, or town hall, where Sabine’s dad walked her down the aisle and married them! I adore Jean-Luc, and as he masterfully and affectionately sealed the bond of his youngest daughter to her husband, I was sad that this was the last time I’d see that level of pride and tenderness at a civil ceremony. Now I have to wait for his grand kids to get married! 🙂
Sabine looked very contemplative, and Sebastien looked simply happy. I wanted to jump up and down and do cartwheels for them, but felt it may not be in good taste. Nadia (one of Sabine’s best friends) and I played the buffoons, and went up to witness at the civil ceremony, even though we weren’t called for until the church ceremony. A little levity never hurt anyone! Sabine forgot her bouquet at the house, and I thought,
I wonder if she knows that this story will be one she tells with a little smile for the rest of her life?
She handled it with grace.
After the civil service, we piled into our cars and followed her parents to the Senlis cathedral, one of my favorite edifices in France – not least because it’s actually heated in the winter. Dad found street parking, but only where he was half on the sidewalk in our massive mobile. Senlis is quite old; at one time it served as the French capital. Needless to say, the streets tend to cater to Minis more than minibuses. I’m glad dad was at the wheel! He can chauffeur us around France any time.
Walking on cobblestones in heels is a skill I mastered long ago and forgot recently. I looked elegant when standing still. Mom was much more sensible in flats. We left the stroller in the car, as Dave really wanted to hold Tess for a full mass. Still, the church, flowers, and guests were lovely, and the expectant buzz got me revved up. Nadia was in charge of making sure I got up at the right time. There we were: the Muslim and divorcee witnesses in a National Monument French cathedral. It made me giggle just a little.
As we watched Sabine and Sebastien exchange vows and rings, all I could do was grin. Seriously, I know this is a sappy post. I can’t help it. It’s love! Afterward, I ran up a steep circular stair to take my place for my solo. Singing in a huge cathedral from the organ loft may be my favorite vocal activity. I felt uncaged. My voice isn’t even loud in that space – just balanced. This is not a singer’s blog, but I have to share a huge victory. I didn’t push, I wasn’t nervous, I had fun, and I didn’t listen to myself. I’ve been trying to master those elements for decades, and suddenly, while celebrating Sabine’s wedding, all of the pieces of my training came together. I don’t know if it was magnificent singing or simply decent, and I don’t care. It was a huge personal accomplishment, singing for people I love. It reaffirmed my desire and ability to keep singing, and taught me that singing can be joyful again. I just had to let go.
We waited for the newlyweds as a group outside and snowed them with rose petals as tiny snowflakes swirled in the air. Sabine looked magnificent, the ultimate winter bride. Then we drove to a medieval grange redesigned as a hall to celebrate. Champagne flowed, kids ran around, Tess got tons of attention, we laughed and chatted with friends, and Sabine and Sebastien made the rounds of this fantastic group of people.
We ate like kings, laughed at presentations, gave gifts, enjoyed the kids, and tried unsuccessfully to put Tess to bed for hours. Apparently, we have a party girl on our hands. She didn’t want to miss a thing, so at midnight we sadly took our leave and took a seriously overexcited nugget home to sleep.
I can go on and on about the wedding, but suffice to say that my gratitude to K and Deuce knows no bounds. I would have regretted missing this for the rest of my life.