One Plus One Equals Eight

So how about some current events...

My dad got married last week. I’m thrilled for him, really everyone seems to be – even my mom. I’m also thrilled that the damn thing is over. Don’t get me wrong; it was beautiful, we had a great time, I saw people I haven’t seen in way too long, and I got to get all prettied up and wear a gorgeous dress. The weeks preceding the wedding, however, were so fucking stressed I though my head was going to explode. Next time someone asks me to be their maid of honor, I’m going to…well of course I’ll say yes, I’ll just go somewhere and cry afterward.

Mind you, I’m still a full time student; I have three evenings a week that I don’t have school. Theoretically these should be spent doing schoolwork. Unfortunately, the familial obligations just would not end. Spend an entire Saturday visiting the wedding/reception cite, eating with the whole new fam (there are now 9 of us, counting BF), trying on bridesmaids dresses. Spend another Saturday dipping and decorating 130 caramel apples – and the next day on the couch recovering from being on m feet for 10 hours straight. Spend a good number of nights shopping for and baking wedding cakes – yes, that’s right, we made their cakes. Spend another two afternoons having my dress altered and trying on the finished product. Crinoline sucks, as does any corset that isn’t black satin and intended to be worn alone. Putting on the freaking underwear alone took ten minutes.

Then there was the 24 hours before the wedding, during which everything that could go wrong did and we were all stressed out of our minds. BF and my littlest new stepbrother’s tuxes were the wrong size – they promised to fix them by Thursday afternoon, 24 hours before the wedding. Of course they did not. The C-300 that my dad rented to get to and from the wedding was not at the rental place at 2pm Thursday, when it had been promised, or at 6pm, when he was totally stressed. The flowers for the centerpieces “never made the plane” on Wednesday according to the Big Brown International Shipping Company, and then they fucked it up and didn’t send them again on Thursday. The ever-optimistic bride went to a local florist and bought fresh white roses, fixing that one. The car finally showed up Friday morning along with the tuxes. That just left one crisis to be resolved – the cakes.

We had 16 tiers baked by Thursday morning, recipes for filling, buttercream, and fondant in hand. We’d run a test cake, determining that it could be done, but not in our apartment, so we arranged to use my mom’s amply sized kitchen for the task. We made our fillings and arrived at her place at 5:30pm to start the assembly. Cutting and filling the cakes went beautifully. The buttercream spread like a dream. The fondant, however, well motherfucker is just about the only word that aptly describes it. I got two 8” tiers covered before it started sticking like crazy – impossible to roll out. We, of course, had not taken the 75% humidity into account when we did our test. So at 8:00pm we turned on my mom’s central air and waited for it to cool enough to make our task feasible. Then, thank god, my younger brother – 19 – showed up to help. We got the cakes done. Slowly. Imperfectly. We finished with all 16 tiers and cleaning the kitchen at 6:00am…just in time to go home and sleep for three hours before my hair appointment. The saddest part was that they looked like cakes that a ten year old made out of clay. I was so disappointed on our ride home, but also confidant that BF would fix it.

My head hit the pillow at 6:30, I wasn’t asleep until 7:00, and I was up at 10:00 to shower and get my sleepy self to the salon for hair and make-up. BF got up at the same time and drug himself to the craft store to find a way to make our cakes look, well, all I was hoping for was passable.

After a few wonderfully indulgent hours at the salon, challenging the stylist with a pain in the ass up-do, having all of the imperfections on my face smoothed over and having a great time chatting with my soon-to-be step-mom and step-sister, we drove to the wedding site to get things going. When we arrived, BF was already there, with his tux and five beautifully decorated cakes. I was thrilled and amazed at what a little satin ribbon and a cascade of silk flowers could do to for our previously sad, plain cakes. The bride and groom ooh-ed and aah-ed and thanked us a million times.

The ceremony was beautiful – even if it lasted an hour and a half. They had readings from “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” about the arrival of spring after the winter, bible passages about life and hope surviving tribulation. As you may have guessed by now, neither the bride nor groom had had easy times since their previous marriages. The bride’s divorce was particularly difficult, during her last pregnancy, and not all that long ago. My own parents divorce, though amicable, left my dad in a depression that lasted for years; he overcame that, and addiction, through the support and guidance of the church. While I don’t believe in their god personally, I have seen up close the power of faith to support those who need a lift and to keep those who would otherwise be overcome by sadness afloat long enough for love and hope to return to their lives. I do not, however, believe and I am not a hypocrite. So as our new family sat in a circle before the altar, I did not sing about the love of Christ. Thankfully I had my brother standing next to me, also not participating in the overtly religious aspects of the ceremony.

They really thought through including all six of their children in the ceremony. It wasn’t the joining of a man and a woman, it was the joining of two families and I think that it really did a lot to bring all of us together. It’s strange. I didn’t really think a ceremony would mean so much, but as my new step-mom put a string of pearls around my neck and we kissed and hugged and held back our tears as best we could, I really felt that we were connected in a different way than when she was just my dad’s girlfriend or fiancée. It’s hard to explain, but she has pledged herself to be there for me and my brother as if we were her own. She doesn’t just want my dad, she wants the package deal, and I love her for that.

After we’d all shed our tears and the ceremony ended, we got down to the fun. Dancing, drinking, meeting my dad’s new friends, catching up with the old friends. It was a great time. I got to dance with my dad as the bride danced wit her dad. I don’t think things could’ve gone better. We got a million compliments on our cakes – the look, the flavor – it was awesome.

And now my family has grown by five. I love them all. They love me. It’s a great feeling. I haven’t gotten married yet (obviously), but I really feel like I got a taste of why people get married – it really does change everything.

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