A Tale of Two Weddings

Yesterday morning at 3am, Ilsa came into our room and said that her ear hurt. Uh-oh. Never good. I got up and gave her Tylenol and a decongestant, because her cough has become more aggressive over the last few days. Tomorrow will actually mark the three-week point since it began. Again, not good. What was worse: we planned to drive to Ohio yesterday for my friend Kerry's wedding. This wedding was postponed from August when a cousin of hers died the week before. I was very much looking forward to seeing my friends from college, so the thought of missing this rescheduled date was really upsetting.

But when morning came, Ilsa said her ear felt better, and both she and Juliette were keen on going. Okay, I guess we're a go. We scurried around and got out the door by 8am, eventually arriving in Bowling Green by 3pm. Karen and Art just happened to be in the adjoining hotel room, so that was exciting. Later Art would re-enact the squeeing that Karen and I did when we opened the adjoining doors and hugged.

We went out to a late lunch because the wedding reception wasn't schedule to begin until 7. That's when things started to go downhill. Ilsa basically...melted. All of her energy went. Her sinuses were a mess. She had no appetite. Keven finished off his meal and went back to the hotel with the girls, putting Ilsa down for a nap. That helped. She slept for a good hour. Eventually we all go dressed and headed to the chapel.

Ilsa continued to go downhill. We weren't half-way through the sweet, low-key, rather brief service--a separate tale of two weddings when compared to the very elaborate bilingual Catholic ceremony that Steve and Silvia had in June--when Keven and I began making plans to compensate for Ilsa's illness. I would take Juliette to the reception while Keven took Ilsa back to the hotel; he had some documentaries about Nazis on his iTouch, which meant he could look after her and not lose his mind while she consumed three episodes of iCarly.

So I had a date with Juliette.

This was always going to be the better deal--heading to a reception with a well child rather than to hotel room exile with a sick one--but Juliette is particularly adept at an event such as a reception. She loves food and is not afraid of trying new things, she's social and older and more easily self-contained, and she doesn't get tired as easily. In other words, we had a great time.

She was stoked that she could eat, basically, anything she did or didn't want. What she wanted was lots of fruit, Sprite, and three pieces of cake: white, chocolate, and carrot. She also ate about ten chocolate party favor squares. While I talked with my friends, having a good time catching up, she went exploring in the giant ballroom. Funny, but the last time I was in that ballroom was for a Halloween dance in 1994, where I danced to "American Pie"; last night I was there with my seven-year-old.

After a while, the music started and, to my vast surprise, Juliette wanted to dance. She never dances other than a bit of goofing around. At first I thought it was just something she wanted to do to occupy some time, being a bit bored. But she kept going. Eventually I joined her, in solidarity, despite the song being "Come On, Eileen." Not my favorite in the world, but now it has a whole new set of memories: me and Juliette alone on the dance floor.

Other songs followed: "Single Ladies," "Runaround Sue," "What I Like About You," "Billie Jean," and "Living on a Prayer." We took breaks, but for the most part Juliette danced for two hours. We borrowed a rubberband to get the hair off her neck--she'd left it down, princess style--and she kicked off her dress shoes. I'd worn flats because my ankle is still swollen, but I managed to overdo it.

Then came that part that all partygoers fear: Juliette puked. Too much Sprite, too much cake, and too many dances. She took it all in stride, sat another dance or two out, and then was back at it again. I see shades of her college years.

Even Cinderella gets tired, though. It got to be 10:30, so Art drove Juliette and I pack to the hotel. Ilsa was kinda awake and very emotional, but Keven said to go back and enjoy myself. Art and I went back to the reception and we all stayed another 90 minutes, catching up and having a great time. Kerry and Brandon looked intensely happy, and all their families were out in force to celebrate.

I got back to the hotel room around midnight to learn that Ilsa had thrown up too. She was feverish, so I think that was the culprit. Keven punched out as parent in charge and took the side of the bed farthest from Ilsa. He'd more than earned it. I was up about four times for the rest of the night when her coughing got the better of her, and so I could push the fluids. We learned our lesson in Britain last time, that Ilsa cannot afford to become dehydrated.

Our trip back today revealed that Ilsa not only had a cold but a nasty case of pink eye. Ew. We stopped by Meijer on the way our of Bowling Green and got decongestant, more Tylenol, pink eye relief (not a cure but a symptom reliever), and some electrolyte stuff to add to her water. And cookies. Gotta have cookies. She slept for about 90 minutes through Chicago, and we made it home this afternoon at roughly 3:30--at which point I doused her with the pink eye cure we have leftover from last time. I still think all of this confluence of snot and weeks-long cough will deserve a trip to the doctor tomorrow.

So there it is, the tale of two weddings. Aside from some lingering guilt and obvious worry over Ilsa, I had a fantastic time spending it with my party girl. At least she didn't have to suffer the long drive and a bout of boredom because of Ilsa's condition. As Karen and Art said, Keven is 50% their parent too--he just got the shitty end of the 50% this time. I owe him big.

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