Monday, October 1, 2012

Abby the Flower Girl

We've been preparing for weeks for Abby's debut as a little flower girl in Ed and Alyssa's wedding: trying on her dress, buying her tights and shoes, confirming plans for arrival times and pictures. But ultimately, I was never quite sure if Abby was going to make it up the aisle. She's a sweet little girl, but not too big on following directions, and like most people, prone to acting just a little out of her element in strange, new situations.

I started to get a little concerned when I heard that Abby was melting down a little while waiting in the lobby of the church before her entrance. But when I finally saw her little face appear behind the double doors, she looked calm, and full of awe and wonder. The children (who I believe were all under four years of age) were slow to get started. There was one little ring-bearer who seemed to know what to do, but was hesitant about it, and Abby's flower girl companion looked terrified and unwilling to leave her mother. Abby, in the meantime, was not interested in moving forward, but rather, was wandering just a little from side to side in an attempt to explore. From the front of the church, Ali and I were waving our arms frantically, but I began to wonder if Abby could even see us from such a long distance away.

Behind the children, a few eager adults were gently pushing their charges forward. And slowly, they began to progress to the point that Abby finally took notice of her fans up at the front. She began to move forward, then, first with hesitation, and a pause or two, but finally, with confidence and drive. Her tiny little legs ran her clear up the aisle, where she joyfully fell into the arms of her Aunt Ali.

Finally able to put my nervousness about whether Abby would be successful in her endeavors behind me, I hoped to enjoy the rest of the ceremony in peace. After all, there were three other adults in the pew besides myself (Ali, Tom, and Nana), to help keep Abby in line throughout the mass. However, it was not to be. A few minutes in to the ceremony, Abby escaped the pew and had to be chased and retrieved from the altar. After that, she was pretty manageable for awhile, but started to become a bit chatty and whiny. It was a level of noise that would not have concerned me during a regular Sunday Mass, but since we were in the front and behind the camera, I began to be concerned about it.  The trouble was, a pillar was blocking my exit from the pew on one side, and the only other escape route was down the center aisle, which was really not an option.

So, Nana and I struggled to keep Abby calm and quiet for a good ten minutes before I became desperate enough to try to squeeze myself, and my little pregnant belly, through the tiny space available between pew and column. Miraculously, I managed, and Abby was handed off to me.

We wandered around at the back of the church for awhile, where Abby ran around for a bit, and checked the place out. However, I was not in the most comfortable of shoes, and didn't particularly have the energy to follow her around, so I tried to sit her in a pew with me. Frustrated with her confinement, she began to rip flowers out of her little flower ball, which I then had to confiscate, resulting in screaming and crying.

Downstairs we went. But there, she had even more space, and I had an even harder time keeping up with her. Every time I tried to grab her had to keep her near me, she collapsed in tears on the dirty tile floor.

Back upstairs, it was. She was happy to be back up there, and even sat with me at first, singing her favorite part of Rihanna's "Umbrella" (and the only line she knows), "ella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh."  She grew so calm that I tried to go up front again, but the sight of her Nana got her excited all over again. Before slipping back out again, I did get a chance to change out my heels for the emergency flats that I had stashed in my purse, which was helpful (and heavenly for my toes).

During Communion, Tom was able to switch roles with me, so I did get to relax for the last ten minutes, anyway.

Michael, by the way, who sat in the back with family friends Iris and Sabrina, all decked out in a fake Calvin Klein cotton "tuxedo" pantsuit, was a total angel throughout the whole thing. Go figure.

After the ceremony came pictures in the park, which Abby was not at all cooperative for, despite a rousing chorus from cousin Melissa and myself of The Wheels on the Bus.  While we enjoyed a few seconds of success in the form of a big smile and a focus in the general direction of the camera, our singing drew Abby's attention to the point that she began to walk towards us up the steps, and out of the shot being framed. {sigh} I dearly hope that the photographer was able to get at least one picture with the kids, but I have no idea if he was successful.

Abby's last task was to make an appearance at the reception during the introductions. She was pretty tired at this point, and was deliriously running circles around me as we waited outside the doors to the hall, so I once again had no idea how it all would go.  However, as she lined up between the two ring bearers right behind the door, she could suddenly hear the beat of the music inside, and her little head began bopping. I had to hold her shoulders to keep her from running forward before it was time. But then, the doors were opened, and she was off, exuberantly Abby-hopping and clapping all the way onto the dance floor. I could only see a little of it from behind just before the doors closed, but she appeared to be a big hit. I heard excited talk about it throughout the evening, which warmed my heart.

My heart still breaks, however, as I remember the waterworks that began as I grabbed her up and took her away from the "moosic." She recovered quickly, though, and was in good spirits well before she, Tom, and I even reached the hotel room where Michael, Iris, and Sabrina were waiting. She got a little grumpy as we changed her into a fresh diaper and pajamas, but cheered up at the prospect of fresh grapes (courtesy of room service) before bedtime. She was cheerfully stuffing halves into her mouth as Iris cut them for her, when Tom and I slipped out to return to the reception. I heard later from Iris that once it came time to put her down to bed, she was "out" almost immediately. My tired little monkey.

In all of the commotion of the day, I had no time to take pictures, which also breaks my heart. I do hope in the next few days, however, to get the dress back on her, and the fake tux back on Michael, and take some pictures of them in their fancy duds here at home.

And in the meantime, I do have this one little video clip to share.

There's my Abigail Rose: Flower Girl Extraordinaire.