I am a mother-in-law. I’m still in a bit of shock about this…a very happy shock…but shock just the same. I have a beautiful and sweet daughter-in-law that is preparing to leave her family and friends to be with her husband, my eldest son Christopher, on an Army base in North Carolina. The moving van came to pick up her belongings yesterday and she gets on a plane tomorrow. All this five months after the actual wedding. A wedding that was pulled together in…four…days. No..that is not a mistype – I did not mean four months. I meant…four..days.
Now the four days are a bit of a blur but let me share with you what I remember. We knew that Chris was thinking of proposing while on leave. We knew this was a strong possibility – more like a probability…what we didn’t know was when. We assumed that we would get a heads up…something akin to “Hey parents…I will be proposing to my girlfriend this evening. Please set aside time to congratulate us and possible pay for dinner.” This is not the way this situation played out. What happened instead was “Hey parents…we got engaged tonight and are planning the wedding for Sunday.” Mind you…this was on Friday.
I, being of sound mind, and tend to run on the optimistic side, innocently asked “What Sunday?” to which the reply of course was…”two days from now.” I jumped from “Oh my gosh…what the heck…how are we going to do this?” to “Hey…I might actually be a grandmother sometime this decade” in a matter of seconds which gave me all the motivation I needed to get moving. Let me answer the question that I know is in your mind. I was not going to be a grandmother THAT quickly. The timeline was based on Christopher’s lack of any available leave time for another year rather than the need for a shot gun wedding. I don’t judge you…I went there too.
After Amanda, my soon-to-be daughter in law, started coordinating the guest list, she realized that they would need more time if they wanted everyone to show up. Good…yeah! More time! So they decided on….Tuesday…and while the time had effectively doubled, two days to four days is still…hmmm… a bit shy of the normal time it takes to plan a wedding. Unless, apparently, you love your son and his future wife more than life itself, and you are surrounded by other people that love them and love you just as much. Four days…and it was amazing!
In four days, we were able to do the following:
- Secure a wedding venue – the wedding was held at Mission Beach at sunset. If you have under 50 people, you don’t need a permit. We figured if over 50 people showed up, the extras would occasionally walk towards the water to show that they were random people that just happened upon a wedding…of someone they knew…and had bought a present for.
- Put together a ton of flowers – O.K., it does help that one of our sons works in hospitality and plans weddings. He and his boss provided both the corsage and flowers for the ceremony and…
- Provided a wedding cake – and a bunch of cupcakes. After they were set up, it looked like this was just the way they had ordered it two months ago..or six months ago.. as opposed to two days earlier.
- Found a venue for the reception – All I can say, thank God for good friends. My best friend has offered her home for graduation parties, my husbands 50th birthday party, my mothers memorial, and now…my son’s wedding. We have this great game we play. I say…I’m going to have _____at my house. Then I wait….until the silence gets uncomfortable and she says “Do you want to use my house?” to which I say…”Of course I do! – Your house is way cooler than mine! And cleaner!”
- Supplied food for the reception. Don’t ever underestimate what you can do with four days and a Costco card.
Amanda looked gorgeous in her white lace dress and red converse! The wedding was truly beautiful and I don’t think could have been better had we had months to prepare. I was a bit worse for wear…but did I mention that I might have grandchildren this decade? Yep…so worth it!
Amanda had to be back at school on Friday so we sprung for a very quick honeymoon at a Bed and Breakfast in La Jolla. I had fortunately had the forethought to call and tell the front desk that the kids would be in later than the normal check in time. This was good since the directions that followed were – go to the front gate – use this combination to open the padlock – remove the key to open the front door – put the key back – go to the back office and find an envelope with your name on it – your room key and directions will be in the envelope. It was good – I felt like I was giving them a honeymoon and scavenger hunt combined. If you can find your room, you get to consummate the marriage. Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor.
So now, here we are. Five months later. Amanda finished school in January and is now ready to join Christopher in North Carolina. Christopher has spent the last month moving from the barracks to an apartment and buying furniture. We are so excited for both of them as they start their life together. They have made mention that they plan of spending a few years as a couple before they become a group. I’m OK with this…We still have three years of this decade. I could still be a grandmother. And even if I’m not, I’m good. I’m happy. I now have a very loving husband, three amazing boys and a now – a daughter. I’m a mother-in-law. Lord help me to be a good one.