How was your weekend?
Mine was a lesson in balance...for sure.
I'd like to share.
We had the joyful experience and being present and participating in the wedding of my Brother -in- Law to a woman who already felt like a sister to me and Aunt to our kiddos.
It was in an a stunning location, filled with lovely people and loads of happiness.
I left the weekend feeling like everything they had wanted came together, and that filled me with happiness for them as they start a new journey together.
But I also left feeling tired, and a little beat up from parenting through the experience.
We were all in the wedding party, a privilege and honor. I was excitedly looking forward to the experience for Emilio, he loved his Tux and eagerly spoke about the reception and how he would dance all night. He totally got it and it was a blast to watch him play with his cousins and family friend's children. He took his job as ring bearer seriously and nailed it.
Let me cut to the chase...
I felt a lot of pressure. Mostly self inflicted.
I wanted everything to go smoothly. I wanted Ava and Emilio to adorably walk down the aisle. I wanted it to be perfect. For myself. For my story telling.
And it wasn't. Because we are talking about a toddler, who had spent the whole day away from her mother who she is very attached to.
A toddler who wanted to just relax, and nurse. Not be passed from person to person, have to stand still for pictures, in a dress she sometimes like and sometimes hated.
A toddler who just wanted to be held by Mama and play with her hair, and a Mama that was stressed about her dress catching on her daughter's and her daughter pulling out the up-do she had just gotten.
So before the procession even started this Mama was feeling the salt. I held it together though. I talked Ava through waiting, I let her take her shoes off, and I thought I had it all teed up to win the moment. But it fell apart and I walked her down the aisle.
Okay, I can handle that.
But things continued to unravel. And I continued to do my best to stay composed, to not let my own pressure bubble over.
I spent much of the ceremony nursing a naked Ava, myself half naked, in the bridal suite. Which I was okay with, because it was what had to happen.
I made it back down, Ava in my arms to stand in my place next to the couple for the smashing of the glass and the final kiss.
Ava, still squirmy and overstimulated could make it through a couple more pictures, I was sure.
And then Emilio whacked her over the head with his ring bearer pillow.
Looking back, I get it. He was frustrated with her too. He wanted that moment of walking with her down the aisle.
He had his own pressure and anxious energy to release, and he doesn't have years of honed skills to use, yet.
But it was my breaking point. I calmly told him how disappointed I was. But then I grabbed his ring bearer pillow from him and threw it. And then he cried, and I was too over my threshold to manage it the way I know I should have. With empathy, with limits he could understand. With grace to salvage the situation and refocus us all. Without using my role power to punish. Because it left us both not feeling good. At all.
And honestly, for me, the stress was so present at this point there was no turning back.
Ava was overstimulated and on overdrive. Needing to nurse every 45 minutes which required a trip to the bridal suite, us both undressing and then redressing. I wasn't present to any one else but her, because I had to be. But it didn't feel enjoyable and good like it usually does. We were both stressed.
At one point she didn't want her dress back on. I tried another back up one I'd brought. She refused that too, requesting a bib. So we went back down to eat with her in a diaper and bib. And of course that is when the photographer took a picture of our table. Of course. But at that point, I was honestly so far from caring. I just wanted this part of the night to be over. I just needed to relax. To feel in control. To find some of that joy I'd felt earlier.
So, after a dinner which involved Ava climbing in and out of her high chair several times, I wrapped her on my back. And we danced. Did I mention this was already hours past her bedtime?
She hung on for a big, but then finally she gave in and fell asleep.
And that's when I let my stress go, that's when I felt in control again and began to enjoy myself.
Dancing with my husband and son. Letting the music just move me. Feeling the weight of my daughter finally at rest on my back. Then the evening could unfold.
And it did, and I found the joyful moments again.
On balance, it was quite the evening and I'm so thrilled we welcomed someone new to the family.
But my overthinking brain couldn't help over-analyzing it all in the days that followed. Couldn't help finding things I could have done differently so everything was perfect.
And then I found this picture on Facebook and realized that even when I felt it was all falling apart, my daughter was walking down the aisle with the cutest smile on her face charming the crowd.
And I let it go a bit more.
As a good friend told me last night, "Time for Elsa!"
Let it go... remember the good...use the lessons for future.
And that's what I'll do.