The Fabulous Familiar

Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary...

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Missing Chair

"To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time." ~ Clara Ortega

This weekend was a little surreal to me, to be honest. My brother Ryan got married to his college sweetheart, Chelsea. It's usually not until after weddings that I truly get in touch with my feelings. It's like during the event, my adrenaline is pumping and I'm making sure my dress fits and my hair doesn't look hideous, and it doesn't give me time to totally soak in my surroundings.

When I get home, it is like this unexpected detox. It's like every flood of emotions that didn't emerge at the ceremony suddenly hits. I guess it didn't really sink in for me until after the "I do's" had been said and they had left for their honeymoon. We all went to eat as a family that night and there was something missing.

Every relative was in their rightful place, but Ryan wasn't there. There were no quotes from "Friends" being added to every conversation and I missed his "Hey, hey, Ashton" introduction to get my attention before saying something completely goofy but endearing.

I realized that I am now giving him over to a new girl. I may no longer be the girl he goes to for girl advice or when he is hurting, but I realize that getting him to this point should be my greatest joy. I seriously think that I worry more about my brothers than I do myself; I get overtly jealous of the girls they date and I am inwardly scrutinizing their every move. I feel blessed that Chelsea surpassed my greatest expectations and that I no longer have to worry about Ryan's future.

Watching him Saturday was kind of like we were playing dress up again, but he was playing for keeps. I can only hope that my years of making him play "house" have paid off. I hope that one day he will graduate from plastic toast to maybe authentic scrambled eggs. Or, if all else fails, maybe he can serve her Pop Tarts on a tray like he did for me when I was dressed like royalty.

There may have been one chair missing, but this weekend filled my heart up in other ways. Just seeing my family laughing and interacting together this weekend will always be a great memory for me. There was a dance at the reception and almost every relative took their turn on the dance floor.

Even PawPaw Bob made his entrance after we dragged him. It didn't take long for the beat to get to him and he began to jump up and down like a rabbit with his tongue hanging out of his mouth. Mimi asked what she needed to do. We followed with, "Just raise your hands!" She complied and the fun began. We all did the ChaCha Slide, the Cupid Shuffle and everything in between. I haven't laughed that much in a long time. I caught the bouquet and my cousin Levi caught the garter. The DJ announced that he could perform another wedding right here if we wanted him too. By the disgusted looks on our faces, he soon realized that we were relatives. "It is Kentucky, you know!" he responded. No thanks.

Afterward, we all went to eat at Olive Garden and I loved getting to catch up with Hannah and Scott, Ali, Maddie and JC and the rest of the family. The waiters probably weren't thrilled to see a party of 20 come in, but I couldn't have been more excited to spend time with everyone.

Rooming with Aunt Chiara was a blast. I love to make her laugh and we spent so much of our time in the hotel doing just that. The rehearsal dinner was Africa-themed and was a special tribute to our family's history. All of the decorations belonged to my grandma, and the pictures brought my family's mission work in Africa to life. Curry is such a family tradition for us, and we shared it with the rest of the dinner guests. When I saw the displays as well as the people there, I was proud to be a part of this family. I am sad that Papa Huddleston couldn't make the trip, but his story was well represented the whole weekend. Special thanks to Aunt Jamie and Mema for helping my mom make this happen. You two were phenomenal and I love you dearly.

Tears are starting to form in my eyes right now; part of it being that I am Ronda's daughter, part of it being that I realize that writing all day on this entry couldn't describe what this weekend meant to me. Though the road trip was long and treacherous at times, I loved getting to spend it talking to the gals of the family. Mema's wisdom and even Mom's playful nagging meant a lot to me.

The wedding went off without a hitch and it was beautiful to see my parents give their blessing to the two of them; Ryan's voice was as steady as the sun and it became apparent to me that he had somehow become a man while I wasn't looking. I was sitting down at the reception, realizing my new role in his life, when he suddenly came over and said, "Hey, hey Ashton."

I looked up and he directed me onto the dance floor. As I took his hand in mine, I realized that--though our relationship would definitely change--I would not be forgotten. That I may have served a purpose in getting him here, but that my purpose in his life was not over.

I once heard it said that sisters are a little bit of childhood that can never be lost, and I hope that I can continue to be that for him. As he adopts new responsibilities that come with having a family, I hope he can look to me as a reminder of the boy who used to slide a sword into his underwear and be Robin Hood or the kid who always pinned a tail on and became a different animal every day. As long as we all have each other, our inner being and childlike spirit will never completely disappear.


Blogger Mr Lonely said...

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May 24, 2010 at 10:11 PM  
Blogger Jamie Huddleston said...

Well done!...I am in tears...I absolutely loved the wedding and all that went along with it. You my dear are priceless...I love you.
Aunt Jamie

May 26, 2010 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger HannahKey said...

Okay, honey, don't know if it is my lack of sleep and new found school stress, but I have tears ROLLING down my face. It really was such an beautiful wedding and I am glad that we were able to share in it together.


June 1, 2010 at 2:02 PM  
OpenID rrr8806 said...

I actually read it all the way through without crying this time..probably cause I read it's mainly when i read it out loud that I ball like a little ya sis

June 4, 2010 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger Cole said...

awww, great post. As usual, you had me wavering somewhere between laughter and tears :-)

June 17, 2010 at 10:56 AM  

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