Wednesday, October 10, 2012

a post for Thomas

(I originally wrote this post a few weeks before Thomas' wedding. I shared some of it at the rehearsal dinner when I spoke, but now I think it's time for it to get published.)

 Dear Thomas,

Wow. You're 21 years old, and getting married. You've got a good job, a good girl, and a great God. He's doing crazy wonderful things in your life. I'm so proud of you and happy for you. But....
 you're getting married. How is that possible? You were just a little boy, teaching me how to walk Indian-style, and letting me go squirrel hunting with you and we were exploring the jungles of Africa together.
 Just yesterday (or so it seems) we were at Edisto Beach, and I accidentally almost drowned you. You were trying so hard to save my life, and I fell in the water, and pulled you in with me. Sorry about that, by the way. 
And that same day was the day that you went far out in the water, even though it was freezing cold (in February or March) and you were wearing a sweater, just so that you could save my favorite headband. You were my hero.
 Do you remember the picnic we had outside that windy winter day? We have pictures of it somewhere, but I couldn't find them. Remember the old cooler that we used as a table? That's one of my favorite memories.
Do you remember that time I shot at a squirrel? To this day, I claim I killed it. At the time, you said, "Nah, you didn't kill it. Even if you did, it doesn't count if you can't find it." Funny, it always counted when you couldn't find yours. :) 

Remember that time I was wearing your camouflage pants, and you left me sitting in Dad's driveway? You said, "I've gotta run in the woods, so you stay right here and don't leave, cause when I get back we're going to go have an adventure." I waited, but had to go to the bathroom so so bad! And you must remember how you came back and I had wet my pants. I mean, your pants. 

Remember the above picture? We had a sprinkler, and we held hands and ran 'round and 'round it.
 Do you remember those times you drove me home from Crossroads Choir, and how we would listen to Switchfoot, and you would be so silly? I loved every minute of those rides.

 Do you remember when you went to Washington that summer long ago, when we were little kids and I missed you so so much? And you sent me a postcard, which I still have. And then remember the summer not too long ago when you went to Washington again and I called you to tell you how much I missed you? I think I cried while on the phone with you.

 Remember when you went to South Africa? I was so proud of you for going to tell people about Jesus. When you came back, it was like Christmas morning. I just remember seeing you walking up the terminal and you were smiling so big, and I was crying, and finally meeting your eye and knowing that you were okay.
 Do you remember the day you and Becca got engaged? Of course you do. Such a great day, and yet, kind of sad, too.

 Remember when you went to FLOW in 2011? I sat in your bedroom almost every night, and looked at your Beatles' posters and your dirty socks on the floor and the guitar picks scattered here and there. I think I cried almost every night you were gone.
Remember last July when you moved out? You were really tricky and did so that we wouldn't really have to say goodbye. But I remember the first few days being so hard. I would walk into your room, and it wouldn't be your room anymore. And I remember having no one to stay up late with at night and listen to music and laugh so hard and maybe record some music and hearing cell phones ringing in the background because Becca would call. 

Do you remember the above picture? Mimi took it last Thursday night when you and Becca were at our house planning your rehearsal dinner. I wasn't home and missed seeing you. When I just found it in Picasa, my first thought was: "my boy is a grown-up man now." 

Thomas, we've known each other for a long time.  17 years, 8 months, and 18 days. So many memories, so many songs, so many times you've made me so angry I could spit and made me laugh in the next second. So many times I've cried because you weren't home. So many times you've said, "Jennifer, you've gotta here this song." So many times you've said, "Love you." So many hugs. So many late nights in your room. So many fights. 

You know what? I wouldn't change one minute of our friendship. Cause that's what we've got going on here, Thomas. It's a friendship that is going to last me a lifetime. It's a friendship that is real and true. I know that no matter what mistakes I make, you're still going to love me and encourage me and give me good advice. I know that no matter what stupid things you may do, you're still going to be my hero and my best friend. 

So thanks, Thomas. It's been a wild, crazy, fun-filled ride. I can't wait to see what the next 17 years hold. 

I love you.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Wedding Recap, Part 4: Pictures In The Park and the Reception

Daddy, Meagan, Michael, Becca, Courtney, Thomas, Lindsay, Josh, me and Jamie

everyone happy :)

I love this picture!

Thomas and Becca (love this one, too!)

going off on their own adventure! :)
All the pictures above are the amazing work of Carson, Lindsay's husband. He was continually snapping all weekend, and got some really amazing shots. You can check out some more of Carson's and Lindsay's pictures on their blog: Down by the Bays.

When the pictures with the bridal party were done, we headed to the reception, while Thomas and Becca stayed behind to take a few more pictures. 
Lindsay made this! :) Impressive, right?
When we got there, it looked somewhat like this:
lots of wonderful wedding guests!

I floated from table to table, seeing some people who I hadn't seen in a while, meeting people I had never met, and seeing some friends who had been at college or moved away! (It was really awesome, because I got to see one of my absolute best friends at the reception who had recently graduated and gone to the Citadel!)

We waited patiently for the bride and groom, and then they were finally there and announced amid great cheering. Literally, they got a standing ovation! =) 

Then it was time for their first dance. Classic is the only word to describe it. =) They danced to a Bob Dylan song (which I can no longer remember the title of!) and acted like little kids and were totally cute. =)

After the absolutely adorable first dance, everyone got started eating! I was starving, but waited to get in line (dumb move) and talked instead. When I finally did get in line, it was at the very end, and I was behind two of Thomas' roommates, so that was highly entertaining! =)
Michael and Josh (wonder what Thomas said to make them laugh?)

Becca and Thomas :)

Becca, Thomas, Michael, Josh and Jamie
Finally I got food and sat down and ate (as Lindsay put it about herself not me) like a barbarian. I was so hungry, much hungrier than I thought I was.The food was delicious. =) Or maybe it was just good because I was so hungry. =) 
those oranges were good!

I think this was the point where Daddy was accusing me of flirting with someone (hence the exasperation on my face! ;)

Becca cutting cake! :)

not exactly sure what that face means???

awwwww! :) (and she is so short!!)

the cake topper was made of sticks found in Becca's backyard!

Thomas and Becca talking to friends

some of Thomas' roommates/friends
The cake was extremely good, and I ate a piece. Or two. =) Actually only one. But I did eat some more the next day. 

Now, Fred (Thomas' roommate and friend) and I were talking and we decided that this reception was definitely going to turn into a dance party. Yep, we called it! People started dancing and really having a good time. Thomas and Becca didn't dance, but basically everyone else did. And let me tell ya, folks, it was awesome! I have no pictures of this, because I was dancing till my feet hurt. And then I danced some more!

Thomas and Becca both changed, and then it was time to say goodbye. I gave my big brother a huge hug, and told him I loved him and then hugged Becca for a long time. 
Mom and Becca...or...Mrs. Mole and Mrs. Mole :)
Then we all lined the doorway, birdseed in hand, ready to pelt and wish happiness to the newlyweds. =) Mom told me to forget any grudges, and I told Ricky, Thomas' roommate the same thing. But it didn't matter, because we all threw pretty hard anyway. =) Poor Thomas and Becca.
leaving for the honeymoon!!!
she was obviously happy amid the showers of birdseed

notice that Becca's pointing her fingers at Dad? it's a thing they have going on, they point fingers at each other and call each other troublemaker! :)
beautiful wedding guests: Ale' Grace, Lindsay, and Chloe

And then they were gone, and they lived happily ever after. =)

Thomas walking by a train on their honeymoon :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wedding Recap, Part 3: The Wedding Day

On the morning of September 15th, my iPod alarm went off around 8:00. I was meeting up with Ms. Michele (Becca's mom) and Lindsay around 11:00 to head to Savannah. I got ready slowly, and didn't do much besides run my fingers through my hair and throw some clothes on. I ate at least two brownies (possibly more, but hey, no judging around here!)

Mimi (my grandma) picked me up around 10:15 to drive me into town to meet Ms. Michele and Lindsay. I was going over everything in my head. Bobby pins, check. Makeup bag, check. Hair elastics, momentary panic, oh yeah, check. That went on all the way there. Then I realized that I probably needed to shave my legs. I had done it the day before, but realized that doing it again wouldn't hurt. But then I happened to remember that I had taken my razor to Heather's when I spent the night and had left that bag at Becca's house on Friday. Whew. Razor, check!

Ms. Michele, Lindsay, and I had an uneventful ride to Savannah. When we got there, we were welcomed at Becca's house with crazy laughter and some squeals, and it was really fun. Becca's clean kitchen table eventually turned into this:
a mess of food, pins, curling irons, plants, hair elastics and more!

the chalk board on Becca's kitchen wall! :)

We all went about our morning business. Lindsay started on Becca's hair, Ms. Michele and Meagan took the cake to the American Legion (the place where the reception was held) and I shaved my legs, and didn't even cut myself. :) When Ms. Michele and Meagan got back, they set up the food in the kitchen.

Becca had in mind what she wanted done to her hair, and showed Linds a picture, so they were trying to copy it. She lied and said she liked the first one, but she really didn't, so Lindsay and Meagan started over. It was beautiful.

Ms. Michele and I steamed the dress:

And then after everyone's hair was done, everyone had eaten, and we were all straight, it was time for Becca to put on her dress! I may have gotten a little emotional at this point. :)

my absolute favorite pic of Becca. I love her smiling face in the mirror
 For Becca's something old, she wore the dogwood pin in her hair that you see in the above picture. That meant a lot to me, because that's a pin that my great-grandmother gave to Becca shortly before she died. Grandmama was really special to all of us, and so it meant so much that Becca included that. For the new, of course, the dress; she borrowed the necklace that Meagan wore at her own wedding, and wore a blue ring. So she was covered!

Lindsay and Becca

Lindsay and Becca may not look alike, but they were both beautiful that day.

After everyone was dressed, us girls headed to the park to take some pictures. That was fun. We laughed and smiled and just enjoyed each others company. The photographer, Gracie, was amazing and so much fun to work with!

When we were done with our pictures, we headed to the church. We sat upstairs and talked, relaxed, drank water, and used the bathroom. (I think I used the bathroom like eight times before the ceremony started, just to be on the safe side!) I ran downstairs at one point, and saw Thomas in his suit.

Thomas had never seen Becca's dress, and Becca had never seen Thomas' suit. I hadn't seen the suit either, and when I did, I was pretty much blown-away. He looked amazing. I got one last hug from my brother before heading back upstairs.

When it was close to time for the ceremony to start, Becca, Lindsay, Meagan, me, Courtney (my sister turned flower girl) and Becca's parents all gathered together to pray. It was a special time, and meant a lot to everyone there. Then it was time.

I quickly grabbed Becca in a huge hug and told her that I loved her. She smiled so big, and it was good. I think we just stood there for about 30 seconds just looking at each other. :) For me, it was letting her know that I love her and that I was glad she was marrying Thomas; and for her, I think it was her letting me know that she loves me and that nothing was going to change just because they got married. 
Pastor Bill, Michael, Thomas, Dad and Jamie (with Josh behind Thomas)
The guys looked great! As I started to walk up the aisle, I thought about what exactly was happening right now. Thomas was a grown man, getting married. But somehow, it didn't make me cry like I thought it would. Instead I smiled. When I reached the front, Thomas and I made quick eye contact, just enough of it to not make me cry, and then I went and sat on the piano bench.

Meagan, Lindsay and Courtney followed me and then it was time for Becca!

Thomas had asked me a few months before the wedding if I would play the piano when Becca walked up the aisle. I readily agreed. He gave me the song on a disc, and I figured it out by ear, and slowed it down a bit. It was "Meadowlarks" by Fleet Foxes, and absolutely beautiful. Perfect for a bride to walk up the aisle. 
Thomas as Becca walked in
 I couldn't see Becca, but from what I understand, when the doors opened and she saw Thomas, she started laughing. She was, without a doubt, the happiest bride I have ever seen. She hurried her way down the aisle to my brother.

Mr. David, Becca's dad, gave her away, and then Pastor Bill gave an amazing message. I tried to concentrate on everything he was saying, and did a fairly good job.

I was really proud of myself, I had shed minimal tears. Just as I was feeling pleased with myself, it was time for them to say their vows. Uh oh.
saying vows

They (the vows) were super meaningful and incredible. They actually borrowed them from Ethan's and Meagan's wedding. All I know is, as soon as Thomas started saying them to Becca, I lost it. Major tears. Good thing I had a handkerchief in my pocket. When I was finished with it, I passed it to Meagan. Then Becca said her vows. They were really good.
I absolutely love this picture
After that, they exchanged the rings, they prayed, and then the kiss:

the kiss!
I don't have a picture of it, but after their kiss, there was a huge hug. The sweetest thing ever. :) I really cried when they started hugging, well, cried and yelled at the same time. :)

Classic faces after the kiss! :)

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Mole!!!!!
 Then they were officially Thomas and Becca Mole!!
happy newlyweds :)
We all walked out to "Ragged Wood" by Fleet Foxes. It was such a fun song, and I may or may not have listened to it every day since then. :) Reliving the wedding has been easy, due to stop-motion videos, a video that a friend of ours made of the wedding, and the music that I have. :)
The original Normans: Scott, Lindsay Bay, Becca Mole, Ms. Michele and Mr. David
  We took pictures in the sanctuary immediately following the ceremony.

Becca hugging John
everyone getting in order
no one paying attention

The Bays, the Normans and the Moles :)

After we were done with the pictures of the family, the bridal party headed back to the little park to take pictures. I'll share some of them tomorrow and tell you all about the reception! =)