I am taking a short break from the regularly scheduled programming, i.e. updating you on my Mile End Project to bring you a personal post today. When I started writing this blog about a year ago, it was supposed to be about the work I was doing and very quickly my writing turned personal. Then, as my work life got busier, I started mainly writing about projects I was working on. Writing about them because I was trying to work them out in my brain and also because I was so proud of the work I was involved in. But I soon realized that I missed sharing life events and that I had stopped writing as much. My writing got technical and really detail oriented and so, for me, it got more difficult to get into the writing. It started to feel like homework. I went from writing once a week to once every couple of weeks, to now, once a month. This was not only a result of having to follow the rhythms of a large-scale renovation, but also of having lost some of my so newly-found love of writing. So after this very long introduction, I wanted to get back to the start, to get back to writing about personal moments and to tell you all about the exciting life changes happening for me and my little family.
My son, my baby, graduated from daycare! I don’t quite know when graduations from every single step in one’s life became such a thing. It is pretty ridiculous. Especially since he’ll still be going to daycare every day until he starts kindergarten in the fall. Ridiculous or not, it was an unbelievably touching and happy moment for his father and I. Our little guy in a dress shirt and a cardboard mortar board hat. Too much. I cried through the entire thing. Obviously.
So there I was at the daycare bawling through it all, tears leaving crazy makeup streaks down my face, wondering how the heck I was going to get through every other milestone. No seriously? How do people get through this stuff without crumbling into a ball on the floor? No one else was this messy. I know that people feel things just as deeply as I do, but boy are they better at hiding it. I suppose that’ll just be my thing: the crazy mom that weeps at every recital and lost tooth. I think I can handle that. Hopefully my children can too.
And now to the biggest upcoming event: THE WEDDING. I am soon to become the wife of my love, my best friend, and the father to the two greatest joys of my life. Yes, after over 8 years together, we are tying the knot. And I could not be more excited.
E asked me to marry him a few years ago. At the top of the Empire State building. On my birthday. After one of the most epic NYC days ever. It involved lunch at the now defunct M.Wells diner. A trip to Red Hook and the gorgeous Erie Basin to look at jewellery. Dinner at Shake Shack in Madison Square park and the Birreria on the roof of Eataly. A magical day topped off by the spectacular and jaw dropping view of the city from the top of the Empire State and the lovely proposal that had my jaw dropping some more. I will always love that city and the Empire State, line-ups and all, will always be one of my favourite places on earth.
The Shack and minutes after I said yes. You can kind of see the city behind us…
So after I said yes I think it came as a big surprise to E that I wanted a wedding. I believe he thought that asking me to be his wife was sufficient. Boy did he ever underestimate how much I wanted to get married! I started planning immediately upon our return to Montreal.
And then I got stuck for a couple of years. Stuck on the location (farm? sugar shack? restaurant? backyard?). Stuck on the guest list -family only? E’s family is big, mine not so much, though family friends are just like my family and we have a lot of those. And there was no way I’d get married without my friends there. Only close friends? I have a bad habit of inviting anyone that even expresses interest in the wedding to the wedding. Like people I really don’t know that well. Seriously. So the guest list ballooned immediately. And with a massive list came massive costs. And then I got stuck on the type of wedding I wanted- simple and memorable was my wish. And something that our children would remember forever. I thought I wanted an Etsy wedding with cute, witty touches. And maybe if I was 22 and didn’t have kids yet, I would have been happy to fill mason jars with wild flowers, sew bunting, have stamps made, and a beer specially brewed for the occasion. But I am most definitely not 22, and who the hell has the time? I floated the idea of a City Hall wedding with just us and the kids and our parents and E shot that down. He also shot down the tiny backyard wedding. He wanted special and memorable too. I started despairing that the wedding would never happen. Then one day last summer, my father made a passing reference to him and my mom and us and the kids going to Sicily this summer. He was literally joking around. And I said:” ha! maybe we should just get married there.” And my father, bless him, said “why, not?” And that was it, folks. A June 2014 wedding in Sicily. My parents have been numerous times and they befriended the owners of an agriturismo near Mount Etna. It is a 19th century farmhouse nestled amongst orchards and olive groves, in the heart of the Nebrodi Mountains, in the province of Enna. It is called Le Querce Di Cota and it looks like a dream come true.
Pictures my father took at Querce a few years ago.
So us and 45 (!!) of our nearest and dearest are traveling to Sicily to eat, drink, and be merry. And if the chairs or the lighting are not what I’d have chosen? Who cares? Look around, the place is stunning. And we are in Sicily. If there are no paper lanterns and handmade place cards? We are in Sicily! And if it rains on the big day? Who cares? There will be multiple big days because we will all be together, vacationing, enjoying the food and the wine and the location. AND WE ARE IN SICILY!!!
Now don’t get me wrong quite a lot of organization goes into the destination wedding. It’s not like we run away and that’s that. There was the headache of figuring out sleeping arrangements. Coordinating guest arrivals and departures. Finding a dress (ugh) and clothing for E and the kids. And figuring out the ceremony (double ugh, and I’m still not sure what it’s going to be). But by escaping our hometown, we avoid worrying about decor and menu. No worrying about hair and makeup (maybe a little, but my dear friends Ro and R will be doing all that stuff for me). No worrying about music: J will play me down the aisle with something of her choice and I asked a select few for some playlists for the dinner and dancing. And this Sicilian wedding ends up cheaper than a hometown wedding, shockingly enough. And instead of one day, it’ll be ten days of family vacation with our friends and family flying in at various points throughout. All of us convening for one hopefully great weekend.
I’m marrying the love of my life and I couldn’t be more excited to call him my husband and to be his wife. Weirdly, the wedding planning has brought us closer than ever. Even after 8 years and two kids. Seeing him try wedding bands on was maybe one of the biggest highlights of the last few weeks. My father will marry us which means so much to both of us that I can hardly breathe. My mother will walk me down the aisle (or whatever consists of an aisle in our case) and the thought of holding her hand makes me weepy. Our children, the two little people with big personalities that changed our lives forever, will be right there, front and centre and by our side. Our dear friends and family will surround us. It will be simple and hopefully beautiful. We’ll create family memories to last a lifetime. And we will celebrate love, each other, and our family. And we’ll be in Sicily.
I CAN’T EVEN TAKE HOW EXCITED I AM.