Our “baby” is getting married next month. (My mom called me her baby until I was 22 years old; my baby is 24!) This time in a parent’s life is almost as emotionally nerve-wracking as the first day of preschool for the oldest child. I can picture that moment so clearly my mind, like it was last week – dropping “oldest” off in her classroom with words of encouragement and a forced smile on my face, then crying my way out the door. I got over it pretty quickly, but it was a poignant, bittersweet milestone, that’s for sure.
With “baby,” not only am I saying good-bye, losing my “back-up memory” and my helper-around-the-house, I also have the added fun of considering Covid-19 in our wedding and reception planning. I have a previous blog about our “wedding committee” group, which is a large organization of friends from our faith community who get together to prepare food and serve at each others’ weddings. (https://grandmascoffeesoup.wordpress.com/2019/06/16/a-barn-raising-reception/)
It’s an amazing bunch, especially (for me, at least), all the mom camaraderie. So many amazing women, unselfishly serving each wedding couple and the nervous mom-of-the-bride with support, encouragement, years of problem-solving skills, sewing skills, prayer, and the gift of calmly tendered clarity. Even with all of them, though, this pandemic-fighting factor is a new conundrum. Leafing through the “entertaining” reading of 20 pages of our governor’s wedding reception guidelines has me putting on the old thinking cap, trying to figure out how we adhere to all of those rules. Things like “No self serve food or drink stations” has us reinventing the “buffet” line, eliminating the coffee and the appetizer tables, and purchasing only bottled and/or canned beverages for drinks. We’re ordering face masks, along with pre-packaged plasticware w/napkins & seasonings. I have to buy bottles of hand sanitizer to use as table decor. Guests are supposed to sit further away than usual, and cannot congregate too closely on the dance floor. I’ve considered setting up a protest sign station, letting everyone make their own little sign, just in case some government spies infiltrate. Since there’s no limit on the number of peaceful protesters, we’ll just hold up our signs and send those pesky troublemakers back to their headquarters! The Bride-to-be nixed that awesome idea. At any rate, we, and our guests, will get through this safely, with all of our friends’ helping hands and many heartfelt prayers.
When it’s all said and done, Hubsters and I will have an empty nest after almost 32 years of children in the house. There are no training classes for this life-changing transitional event, so I wonder how we’ll fare. We can’t afford world travel or a summer home, and, we both work from home, so we’ll just be here, in our same little cape cod, getting by on our own. A few friends have shared things with me. Early on, the main problem is WAY too many leftovers and loaves of bread going bad. As the strain grows, my friends confessed, their husbands began to micromanage everything they did, and as the wives grumbled quietly to themselves, they realized that they were doing the same thing to their husbands! We’re used to having kids to feed and guide and advise and discipline…it only makes sense that we will turn to one another to keep those skills honed. Luckily for me, we have grandkids nearby who I visit once a week, and our family up north has already booked me for a few weeks in October for “new-baby support.” I can continue to ply my hard won mothering skills on them. And Papa will open up his bag of tricks to entertain the daylights out of the grandkids when they come to visit us. But in between times, Hubsters will be reminding me daily not to pour grease down the sink (a fact which I am fully aware of), while trying to convince me we no longer need to use the dishwasher, and I will be admonishing him to wipe off the bathroom sink counter, and prompting him to put his own dirty dishes in the dishwasher!
Yeah, it’s gonna be some fun, being all alone in this house, just the two of us… Good thing we have three floors to spread out in (counting the basement), along with our own pets & hobbies, and our daily, shared prayer time to sustain us through this upheaval. We should be settled in quite comfortably in our new “arrangement” by the fall, just in time for the next Covid flare-up/lockdown…….