Sunday, September 14, 2014

More

Mary graduated from nearly eight months of day care with several original pieces of artwork, a close-knit group of baby confidants. an iron immunity, and one piece of baby sign language: the word more.

While the framework for this language acquisition was likely learned around the Cheerio distribution circle, Mary has creatively applied the command to all aspects of her life. If she likes something, she offers immediate feedback by signing and asking for 'more.'  

Over the past week, as we vacationed in Seabrook Island, South Carolina, 'more' was the order of most every hour.

More bikes and more boats.
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More beach toys. 
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And more people to share them with. 
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More digging.
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Keep going.
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More poooooool. And more jumping in it.
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More corn bread.  
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And lots more ice cream. 
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Definitely more Yaya. 
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More everyone really.  
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More horsies. More doggies. More feeesh.  
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More board walking.
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More big houses. 
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And more fun ways to reach them.
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More sun filled days with Mommy and Daddy. 
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More really big trees.
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And little bridges.
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Her enthusiasm eventually reached me as I found myself asking for more pink skies. 
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And more elegant wake up calls.
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More stress free dinners
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And more time just to take my time.
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More days spent outside of my in-box. And with the people I love. 
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And just as I pulled up to the United ticket counter, packed and ready to go back to reality, I was ready to barter for a little more vacation. 
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Turns out it was an easier exchange than I thought. Vacation apparently worked. We had inherently lost track of time and with it, our flight. As we missed our boarding time and found a place to stay, Mary's final plea for more came true. So here's to one more night of vacation. 
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Lo. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Who's That Girl

Like any proud bride, I have several wedding portraits displayed around my house. They are beautiful moments frozen in time - memories of love, lights, cameras and glamour.

Looking at them, I can feel the butterflies and the tears that I couldn't prevent as I walked down the aisle. I can see the loving looks, and feel the hugs and kisses. I can hear the first and last dances as the band played until the wee hours of the morning. I can taste the champagne and the icing on the cake. I can smell the flowers and my perfume. I can feel the sun (and the heat) as we took one last picture at Mellon Park. I can see the ballroom doors opening and the most opulent gift from my hardworking parents unveiled. I can see my ever-growing family. All my friends. The dress. The hair. The makeup. Love, perfectly posed as Purvis directed, toasted with expensive champagne.
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383291_10150646282554852_1623418935_n Mary is in a phase where she loves identifying who or what is in a picture. I point. She tells me what she sees.
Meow. Meow.
Dog.
Mooo.
Nana.
Apo.
(Opa, honey.)
Mimi.
Oh! Oh! Yaya.
(Lyla, close enough.)
TRUCK!
BUS!
TRAIN!
Daddy.
And ...
And ...
And who's that, Mary?
Who's that girl?
Petet and I
That's where she goes blank. That's when she wants to go downstairs and color again. She is stumped and thus the name game is over.
That's Mommy, honey. Mommy.
She gives me a once over. ''Mommy,' she says as she points to me. She looks at the picture again and thinks, riiiiight. I try not to take offense, but I can't help but think, do I look so different?

Maybe it's because she can't imagine my baby bump or baby boobs fitting into Vera Wang.
Maybe it's because she's never seen my last single girl shoes.
Maybe it's because my hair is never down, and certainly never looks as good as it did on that day.
Maybe it's because she's not wriggling her way in between Mommy's and Daddy's arms.
Or maybe it's because she sees Daddy's queen as a little less dressed up. And the love that her Mom and Dad share every day as something less formal - more down to earth. Something that is celebrated less royally, and committed to more quietly.

Three years later, a baby and a half later, I still look back on September 3, the days leading up to it, and the glamorous honeymoon that followed, as best evers. I look at our pictures as if they can't be topped. And I wonder if I will ever look quite that good again.

Maybe. Maybe not. But the thing is, the every day 'I dos' - the offerings, thank yous, embraces, jokes, and I love yous, squeezed in between early mornings, busy work days, and those dreaded cries in the middle of the night, are sometimes more beautiful than couture. And I know that when Mary looks close enough, she'll recognize the smile of the girl in the picture. It's the same one that Daddy's given Mommy each day he has shared with her.

Lo.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

#MattWedsKat

In the past couple years, I've been to at least a half dozen weddings that have leveraged hashtags. The social identifier becomes a billing for guest participation, an open invitation for selfies, and a means to aggregate a collection of wedding shots and commentary in real time.

Mostly, the subjects of these indexes were my age like the majority of their guests. By the last dance, dozens of outtakes had registered on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. In retrospect, nothing compared to the vast, scrolling library of images and messages that Matt and Katrina racked up last night.

Matt is my first cousin, once removed. Cousin Bob's son. Growing up, Matt and his brothers were the smaller versions of my little brother. Equally athletic, equally as emotional about Notre Dame football, equally as dressed up at Family Reunions. Katrina, his blushing bride is a St. Mary's grad, passionate non-profit marketer, and the original subscriber to my blog. (Love her.) Both mid 20s. Both among the younger half of the Millennial generation.  

Yesterday, they joined hands in marriage while their friends and family tweeted the play by play. It wasn't just the avid social sharing that made this wedding day distinct, there were other Millennial monikers that stood out.

There were more single ladies lined up to catch the bouquet than I have ever seen.
And man, did they know how to dance.
The couple had practiced their kiss, so they were going to get it right for the camera.
Chipotle got a nod during the maid of honor's speech.
Frozen got a standing ovation.
The Bridesmaids dresses were a whole lot better.
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The little bubble blower was mine.
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Everyone had an iPhone.
And everyone used the hashtag.

But mostly, next generation nuptials have more in common with their predecessors than not.
Still, nothing beats the second the back door of the Church opens.
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Or that moment that a beaming bride gets lost in an eye lock with her handsome prince.
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There will always be proud fathers and teary mothers.
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I dos ...
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will be followed by a kiss that seals the deal.
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There will be thunderous applause after Mass.
(More of that, Mommy.)
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Little girls will want to look just like Princess Katrina someday.
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Brothers will sit together, remembering when.
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Cousins who grew up will dance circles around each other.
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Cocktails will be served at dusk.
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And dancing will go on till dawn.
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All day, the love shared by the couple will reflect in the eyes and hearts of those in attendance.
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And a whole lot of people will come together to wish the bride and groom love, laughter and a lifetime of happiness today. 
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Tomorrow.
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Congrats Matt and Kat!  
Lo.