Wedding prep

It is countdown to Tessa’s wedding now, six more days. I am taking the next two weeks off. We are now in New Hampshire, a work party to get the place ready for the invasion of a hundred or so people at the end of next week. We are cleaning and painting and stringing lights and baking. It is a DIY wedding, which means everyone has to contribute their labor. We made this weekend an intimate family work party weekend – not by choice, this last minute arrangement, but because it is very hard to get everyone in one place and healthy. With two small children in daycare, and me traveling, such occasions are rare.

It is the wedding she started planning about 5 years ago when Steve asked for her hand on the beach at Lobster Cove in the presence of lots of people. He surprised us, not with the asking but doing it in public; a daring feat for an introvert. Someone took a video and posted it on Facebook. It played again recently, as FB does these days, picking random or not so random posts and reposting them again.

Tessa and Steve have now been together for 12 years. She was 19 went they hooked up, she is 31 now. The marriage has been long in coming.

I prepared a slideshow for their wedding, a gift that I presented last night in a private showing with Sita, Jim, Axel and the couple in attendance. It had been my nightly second shift job for about a month. The slide show consisted of pictures from their lives, matching as much as was possible, with Steve’s history on the left and Tessa’s on the right. I corresponded with Steve’s mom to get the matches, for newborn, for family portraits, for birthday pictures, music, art, dress up, school, graduations, with siblings.

For this we dived into our archives and emailed endlessly, with attachments. In the process I went through several moldy boxes with flimsy papers that had documented Tessa’s (and Sita’s) intellectual, social and artistic developments. Everything that could possibly be of interest later I put in those boxes, even such silly notes to herself, written on ripped pieces of paper, “remember to practice clarinet.” It made its way into the slide show – one never know what may come in handy later.

When we revisited one box last night we had to laugh so hard that we could hardly finish our reading out loud. A car song, a jungle song, composed by Tessa at about 6 or 7; a sentence completion test (Love is…) where Tessa wrote ‘giving food to the poor.’ We came across her DARE workbook folder, certificate and stickers (a mandated drug awareness education program for school kids in the 90s that was implemented by local police officers). It contained a penciled letter from Tessa to officer Aiello, thanking him for educating her about resisting drugs. Priceless! I suppose it worked, we can say this now in hindsight, though she wasn’t always as compliant with her abstinence oats as officer Aiello had hoped.

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