Early November stole swiftly upon us. Before I knew it, I was gathering my wedding toasting glasses, silver cake cutting utensils, leftover wedding ribbons and faux autumn leaves, scarves and sweaters and little boy coats, piling it all high in the living room next to two large, empty suitcases. It was time to go to the North Carolina mountains, to a place that still feels like home, and marry off my little sister.
Wednesday I skipped my morning class and thoroughly packed and cleaned. I really didn’t want to forget anything – my bridesmaid dress and the boots I would wear with it, the boys’ outfits, the travel crib, special food for the kids, the aforementioned glasses and utensils and all kinds of other decorations. It was a pretty long drive – there would be no going back for missed items. We left New Orleans at 4:15 or so, headed for our midway pit stop in Birmingham. We made it to our pet-friendly B’ham hotel pretty late that night, and though we set up Liam’s Pack and Play travel crib, we still ended up all four of us together in the king bed. I didn’t sleep much – I was worried Jack would roll on top of Liam, and kept waking up to monitor their positions – but it was quite cozy to share a bed with my three boys. Virgil was very well behaved on his little patch of floor.
We got up the next day very early and headed back out on the road. The kids weren’t too bad, even though it was their second long day of driving. We went by way of Clemson, dropping the dog with the in-laws (who, bless them, still have him!) We then drove a winding, breathtakingly autumnal road on up to the family cabin my parents had rented on a little lake. We arrived in the early afternoon, before most of the rest of the family. The bride to be was showering, and the other 2011 bride (married, you will remember, in July) greeted us at the door.
The air felt crisp and chill as I ferried stuff from car to room. The boys basked in the glow of their aunts, running amok in the upstairs family room (this cabin had two bedrooms, a full bath, a full kitchen, family room, and fireplace on each floor – it was like two cabins in one). The bride to be appeared in a tank top, looking happy and jazzed. I remember being in the same position – the family gathering, my big day around the corner. I gave her a hug.
After the rest of the family had arrived and everyone had been greeted, hugged, caught up, the boys and their grandparents and all the boyfriends/husbands/assorted others piled into several cars and drove into town for a dinner at a Chinese buffet. My sisters and I piled into our OWN car and headed to Asheville for a bachelorette night on the town. . .