Monday, October 5, 2009

And She Did It!

Kind of, mostly anyway. Ms. Lillie did in fact walk 3/4 of the way down the aisle in flower girl fashion. A video follows if you want to skip down to the end and watch it. (I've watched it over and over, she's my girl.)

I will now tell you the whole story behind the minute of fame. Melissa and Nick were married in New Lenox, IL - a southern burb of Chicago and at least a 6 hour drive from home. So Steven and I had decided to head on up there a day early to give everyone an extra day of recovery before the festivities were to begin on Friday night and in hindsight I think that paid off really well. So Thursday was filled with the Lincoln Presidential Museum and swimming at the hotel pool and lots and lots of driving in the rain, the. whole. trip.

On Friday night the rehearsal started at 6:00. Lillie had a great day of restfulness on Friday - we checked out a children's museum in the area that morning and followed it up with a great nap.

At this point I was still pretty skeptical about Lillie's abilities and told Steven that I thought we should arrive for the rehearsal a few minutes early so that I could encourage my boys to run down the aisle with Lillie - make a game of it - allowing her to feel comfortable in the sanctuary and with the prospect of going down the aisle. That scored big. Lillie loved the attention and then pretty girl after pretty girl (bridesmaids mostly) cooed over her and told her how pretty she was and little boy after little boy (ring bearers and brothers mostly) buzzed around her and ran her up and down the aisle and generally made her feel like she was the center of attention... so much so that by the time the rehearsal began and Lillie lined up behind all the bridesmaids, groomsmen and ring bearers she was ready to butt in front of them all and go down the aisle all by herself.

When her turn finally came, my Lillie strutted down that aisle WAVING to her audience the whole way down like she was in a parade. Everyone in attendance smiled and laughed and cooed over her some more. It was so funny - and no, I don't have pictures or film, cuz I stink. We left the church with confidence - both mother and daughter - and I was really amazed that she preformed so well at the age of 18 months.

Then Saturday came. I had until 2:00 that afternoon to get Lillie to nap and get her dressed up in her stuff so that we could hook up with Melissa and the bridal party for some pre-wedding pictures and then her big moment. We swam with the boys in the morning and I took her back to the room and kicked everyone else out so that I could get the little girl to rest. My instruction was for Steven to return with some sort of lunch for the two of us and to return in time for us to get to the church by 2:00. He said he would return by one.

I got Lillie to fall asleep quickly and she slept for a good amount of time. She awoke at noon and I bathed her and combed and fiddled with her hair. One o'clock came and no Steven. No lunch. I fed Lillie pretzels and other snacks we had hanging around the room. I thought I would pass the time by trying to iron the boys shirts. That would take my mind off of Steven being a teeny bit late and then we would be ready to take the kids to the church and get them dressed there... which was the plan anyway. I got down the hotel ironing board and iron and turned it on. I tested the iron on the ironing board and then ran it down the collar of Isaiah's shirt. I then flipped his shirt over and started to iron the FRONT of his shirt and that's when the iron LEFT A HUGE BLACK IRON PRINT ON HIS SHIRT!!!! I still did not panic totally. It wasn't really terrible, it was bad but I ran to the bathroom and scrubbed it with a washcloth and it came off. I dried it with the hairdryer and then looked at the clock and it's like 1:15 and still no Steven.

I called his parent's hotel room and his dad was only somewhat helpful. He didn't know where Steven was, but he did have an iron that I could borrow. So the iron was brought and I was in the middle of ironing every one's shirt when the rest of my family finally came. I basically told them to turn around and go back to the van and Steven realized that we had no time to play with anymore. He was detained at the restaurant past his ability to rectify and he did bring us back lunch, but it was too late and too messy to eat it.

We were flying out the door, I am grabbing everything I had set aside and Steven is bringing the van around. I hook up with him in the circle drive and he realizes that we didn't grab the bag with his shoes and such. He runs to go get it (luckily our room was on the first floor) and he discovers that our room key doesn't work! He has to go to the front desk and get a person to let us into the room... 2 electronic key attempts and much time and stress later he returns.

Now we still are not totally late, but we are pushing it. I decide to dress Lillie in the van so that she is at least ready for pictures by the time we get to the church. Steven is driving fast (which if you know Steven, you will realize what a statement that is in itself - my husband doesn't go fast). We make it to the church by 2:00 on the dot - the wedding starts at 3 and the boys are not dressed. We have their stuff with us so I take it into the church and Steven decides to take the boys to a nearby store while pictures are going on and return by 2:30 to get the boys dressed.

So Lillie somewhat cooperates with pictures. She's kind of just thrown into it though and isn't too sure about all the photography strangers she is getting warmed up to it though because she is again gaining attention and praise from all the pretty girls. She agrees to a few good shoots and then she is just really beginning to shut down.

Meanwhile 2:30 rolls around and no Steven. I am getting nervous because I realize that in half an hour Lillie is supposed to walk down the aisle as a flower girl and she is beginning to get really grumpy and vocal with me (I think she cussed me out a couple of times) and I am also realizing that my husband has to dress himself and 3 boys for a wedding and not be late... and he doesn't come through the door until 2:40.

I try to stay calm and I dress Avery in the hallway. Steven takes the two older boys into the bathroom. Meanwhile I need to hunt down the rose petals for Lillie's flower basket and there is a misunderstanding as to where they are located. Amazingly we get it all together with a few minutes to spare before the ceremony begins.

Unlike the rehearsal Lillie is not raring to go. In fact she doesn't even want to stand in line with the ring bearers. I am pulling her to her spot to the very moment of her cue and I push her toward the aisle. Believe it or not she snaps into it and she allows the ring bearer, Colton, to take her hand and lead her down the aisle. She schmoozes the crowd a bit - waves and makes faces - and I have a moment to stand at the back and take the video of her moment.

Then it happens. At about the third row from the end of her destination she drops her flower basket. Keep in mind this flower girl did not sprinkle flowers. In fact every time she dropped flowers she had to pick every one of them up and return them to her basket... and here we were, moments from the bride's entry and Lillie had just dropped the entire contents of her basket into the aisle. Take a look.

Luckily the photographer helped her. You can tell in the video that the moment the basket dropped I almost bailed the filming and ran to the front to retrieve her - because I knew she would want to pick each and every petal up. The photographer scooped the flowers up and while he was doing that the ring bearers got tired of waiting for her and headed on up to the stage. Lillie was left not knowing what she was to do. She was distracted and just stood there. and stood there. and stood there. At the moment I stopped filming, I am then running down the side aisle to come around and up the front and lead her the last few steps.

And that is when the stress came to an end. The anticipation ended and Lillie threw a fit soon after I sat down with her in the audience. The flower girl ended up spending the rest of the wedding ceremony with me while we watched from the foyer. The poor girl was tired and hungry and probably sensed all the stress that I had inside of me since noon.

But the most important thing is that Nick and Melissa had a beautiful day and made a beautiful bride and groom. And Lillie enjoyed dressing up and being a part of the day too. Here are some pics.

The bride with her flower girl.

Lillie after the wedding... in her full ensemble.

The shawl was made by my grandma for me when I was Lillie's age.

The bracelet that the bride, cousin Melissa, gave to Lillie. (she LOVED it)

My good looking family.

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Nick and Melissa

Just as relieved to see the afternoon lived through.

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