We attended Katie’s wedding yesterday: It was Carl’s first experience with a large, formal wedding, and he had lots of questions about the protocol. He was amazed that the order of such things has remained so unchanged for hundreds of years; the seating of the grandmothers, the seating of the mothers, the giving away of the bride, the unity candle, the exchange of the vows and rings, the kissing of the bride, and finally, the pronouncement of Husband and Wife. All of this impressed Carl greatly, and he said he couldn’t wait to find a girlfriend and get married like this himself someday.
While Carl and I were waiting around the church after the ceremony, he asked me when we were going to head back to the hotel for the “Conception.” I assured him that in all likelihood, there would not be any such event taking place on this wedding day, but if there was, it would probably occur much later in the night, and the guests would not be invited to witness it. The reception, however, would be starting in a couple of hours, and we would make sure we were there for it. After I explained the difference to him, he laughed and said he couldn’t believe he had made that mistake. We joked about it every time we mentioned the reception after that, calling it the “conception” instead.
Carl was nervous about the whole evening, but by the end of it all, he said this was probably the most exciting day of his life, and he hated to see it end! They played a game that combined musical chairs with a scavenger hunt, and Carl was one of the 24 contestants. About half way through the game when there were 12 remaining “survivors,” Carl was the only one remaining under 25 years of age, and became the crowd’s favorite. They started cheering for him, and helping him, and he remained in the mix until they went to three. He had a blast!
He wanted to dance so badly, but was so nervous! He danced with Sue once, and that helped, and then a few songs with Sue and me, and he got even more confident. Then we got into line for the dollar dance, and he got to dance with Katie, the bride, for a minute, and everything changed. Two of his second cousins that he had just met, started to ask him to dance, and he did. They were in their twenties and told him he “had the beat,” and that he was a great dancer and a lot of fun! They continued to dance with him for a couple of hours, and when he did stop back at the table for some Coke, he asked me if I knew he was “a good dancer!” They did the “electric glide,” and a few other similar type step dances. I showed him how to join into a line that had formed during “Celebration.” The train continued into the lobby, around the furniture, before returning to the dancehall with all of us screaming along. He was a little embarrassed by my shrieking, until he realized everyone was doing it, and then joined in himself.
Yesterday was probably one of those days that Carl will always remember, and maybe write about himself someday as one of his own life changing experiences. It was, however, definitely a special, milestone type day for me: Watching my little boy turn into a young man right before my eyes, on a warm August evening in the middle of a crowded Wisconsin dance floor! Being a father is often a lot of hard, frustrating, work, but moments like last night make it so very worth it!