I am in Austin right now, part one of a two-destination week-and-a-half-long trip that includes Danyelle's bachelorette party as well as her and her fiance's two wedding ceremonies. It's a bit of a wild trip that's required lots of planning and coordinating to make it happen, and will double the longest period of time I have ever been away from my boys in a single trip. But Danyelle is my oldest friend, and I have the honor of being the matron of honor at her wedding (she was the maid of honor at mine, those 10 years ago, halfway into our so-far two-decades-long friendship), and well she is part of a small group of people who I've had the pleasure of calling my best friends, and for whom I would do pretty much anything if they asked me to. And so, through the planning and the many changes of plans leading up to this beautiful mess of celebrations, it was never really a question of "if" but "how" I would figure out how to arrange things so that I could be here for all of it.
I arrived friday night, just in time to join Danyelle and one of her other best buddies for a "calm" pre-bachelorette night out in downtown Austin. Then Saturday was the bachelorette party itself, an affair that started in the afternoon with the bridal party hanging out by the pool and ended the next morning over margaritas and breakfast tacos, with the many hours inbetween filled with dancing and laughter and yes a good bit of booze, and the creating of many stories that will be retold among squeals of shock and glee for years to come. It was, in short, a pretty amazing time.
And then there was yesterday, a day that (for me) was pure perfection. After the craziness of the weekend, yesterday was a calm, restorative day-- I woke up slow in the morning, after a good 10hours of sleep. I went for a run in the sunny, warm, pretty damn close to perfect spring Texas weather when it's not yet too hot or humid to want to be outdoors ever. I went to lunch with my dad and brother, gorging on delicious tex-mex. I got my nails done in the afternoon. I spent several hours tucked away in my room here at my mom's house, re-reading The Book Thief, which I had started on the long trek down here from NH. I wondered at myself yesterday why I was choosing such a heartbreakingly sad book to read this week, but while reading and shedding a tear here or there I also remembered why it is that this book tops my list of Favorite Books of All Time. And it's not even so much the story itself, though it is wonderfully lovely and sad and bitterly sweet, but it is the way the story is told-- the imagery, the way Zusak plays with words, the masterful way in which he crafts his tale. It is mesmerizing. After spending a few hours yesterday afternoon immersing myself in his words, I took a break to hang out with my mom and other family members here at the house for dinner. Early-ish in the evening I felt sleepiness start to overtake and me and I figured I'd make it an early night, heading up to bed around 9pm...and then, instead, I chose to seize on this rare opportunity to stay up late to finish reading my book. It was glorious.
Today should be another calm-ish day, which I also plan to relish, then tomorrow is the first wedding ceremony-- the more formal affair, for the bride and groom's local families. After that, we all head out to Vegas for Wedding Extravaganza Part II. Zach will meet us there for the weekend. The kiddoes will be well taken care of by Lala, my mom, who will head up to NH to take our place while Zach and I enjoy this opportunity for a weekend away together. I may sometimes complain about not being able to live near family and the boys' grandparents, but I am so incredibly grateful that we have families who are willing and able to travel the great distances to help make things like this happen.