Do you remember? This is a day forever etched in my mind, as I was performing my duties as matron of honor in the wedding of Robert Christian Sanders, III, and Amanda Mechelle Litton.
Family weddings are an amalgam of love, chaos, excitement and mild frustration, admittedly. Scott was bittersweet over his baby sister moving hours away, yet delighted to have a new brother. My in-laws held up well and I'm certain they both cried many more tears at our wedding two years earlier. We paved the way for Robbie and Mandy, I suppose.
What I remember most about this day is not how beautiful Mandy looked, or how sweetly she said her vows. My main memory is not of Libbey--2 days away from turning 5 months old--resplendent in her ivory, silk Strasburg dress, and how handsome Scott looked in his tuxedo. Nor is it of breastfeeding in my hotel room while Robbie and his fraternity pals got down with their bad selves on the reception's dance floor. And don't even get me started on all the three sheets to the wind folks making fools of themselves...members of the extended Litton family, I'm looking at YOU. (Thankfully Robbie and Mandy's immediate family held themselves together, with mild decency and decorum. I think.)
While this day was full of love and fun and loads of scrapbooking fodder (yes, I made one for the newlyweds!), what I remember most about it was the searing, scorching heat. It was a blazing 98 degrees that day.
Ninety-eight degrees, y'all. 98!
And do not even remind me of the cheesy boy band either. Nick Lachey, you're cool, dude...but your band was nowhere near as hot as the afternoon of June 29, 2002. Now *Nsync...yeah, I would've endured some raging heat for Justin and JC.
But seriously...FOR REAL...who gets married on June 29, OUTSIDE, in the middle of the afternoon? That would be my sister-in-law, thank you very much.
And no, this wedding wasn't on the beach in Hilton Head, or even on the shores of Hawaii...because that would've involved cool, ocean breezes to offset the fiery rays of the sun. And that would've been too easy! No nearby pool for us to cool our heels. Not even a ceiling fan to help move the air. We were in Kingsport, Tennessee, where heat and humidity come together in a union of misery.
So there I was...five months into lactating, sweat pouring down my face, trickles slowly dropping from my thighs, forming puddles around my feet...which my dress concealed, thankfully. And my poor husband? Oh yeesh...he sweats outdoors when the temperature is 65, while garbed in shorts and a t-shirt. Formal wear was almost the death of him...in every photo he is red-faced, soaking wet, and looking happily miserable. We were, in essence, wilting. No, I take that back. We were melting. Meeeeeeeeelting, like a certain green-faced witch in the merry old land of Oz.
I swear, people were checking their reflections in the shiny mirror that was my forehead. My cleavage caught enough water to form a desert oasis. I'm not certain, but I'll bet Libbey was very put-out at her mommy for being served steamed milk at suppertime. "I didn't ask for Starbucks' froth, Mommy...make it lukewarm again, please."
Since this day, exactly 6 years ago, whenever the wedding stories break out at family get-togethers such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, and Independence Day, someone usually recalls, "Oh man, remember how hot it was when Robbie and Mandy got married?" (And that someone is not always me, just so you know.) We commence with the commiserating over how miserable we were that day, reminding Mandy for the 300th time that she almost killed us all. Maybe that was her point. Hmmmmmm...
To our credit, it's not just the Litton and Sanders families chiming in on The Day We All Roasted Alive. Many of Robbie and Mandy's friends have regaled crowds with tales of How We Drove 5 Hours To Sit in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. For A Wedding. (There was no shadow.) Outdoors. On June 29th.
The moral of this story? My girls are taking their vows in a cool, comfortable location. They are being indoctrinated now, I assure y'all. Mrs. R., how does Bermuda in the spring sound to you?
Thanks for the memories, Mandy and Robbie. And yes, you know we'll bring this up a few times a year, every year, for hopefully another 60 years. Happy Sixth Anniversary. Now that we have four girls between us, the fun is only beginning. Thank God we're raising them to get married indoors. In October or March. When it's not 98 degrees.