My Mom rocks. I love it when we walk in and smell deliciousness coming from her oven, which occurs every single time I step into her house these days. Our visits are few and far between, but they are oh, so very sweet. This trip, two weeks before the actual event, it was Thanksgiving dinner. The turkey was roasting, cornbread stuffing sans nasty turkey organs ready to brown into the oven, cranberries set in the refrigerator, sweet potatoes poised for caramelization, brussels sprouts waiting to bake, rolls rising, pies (yes, plural - for 6 people) resting on the counter, celery stuffed with processed cheese, potatoes boiling for mashing. She does it up right.
With all the preparation complete, that left us with only one thing to do - crack open the wine. About three glasses in, we began discussing our upcoming anniversary, which we always reminisce about over Thanksgiving. Seventeen years ago at the same table where we dined last weekend I said the prayer before Thanksgiving dinner. My hands were shaking. My voice cracked. No, I was not a boy encountering puberty. I was engaged. But there were only two people in the room who knew. Me, naturally, and Mr. Musky. At the end of my prayer, I announced:
"Dear God, please also bless Tony and me on our engagement. Amen."
Then all hell broke loose.
Dad started bawling. I started bawling. Cousin Diane started bawling. Her husband, Tom - big U.S. Military commando-stud - started bawling. Aunt Judy, Uncle Hank, Mom, even Dusty the dog started bawling.
OK - not really about the dog.
A starving Mr. Musky asked if we could sit down and eat. Grandma Kahling screeched about 50 times, "What the hell is going on?"
Grandma forgot to wear her hearing aid. Again.
When we finally sat down to eat, Mom distractedly asked Mr. Musky: "Waldo, would you please pass the butter?"
Waldo. Seriously. She really did call him Waldo. Needless to say, she was a little wound up at the news.
Fast forward seventeen years and two kids later, and there we are back in the same kitchen preparing the same meal. This time though, Mom mentioned that she still has a case of wine in her basement from our wedding. White Zinfindel. Which we all agree now - it tasted like rotten vinegar. But it didn't stop the 20, 30, 40 and 50 somethings at our reception from glug glug glugging it down like they were all wandering in the desert before dinner was served. Our wedding was a blast. Led Zeppelin droned on for over ten minutes while Mr. Musky and I shared our first dance as husband and wife. Scavenger college friends robbed Aunts and Uncles of their alcohol stashes while fortunes were amassed and lost at the nearby riverboat casinos. Babies were conceived thanks to the weekend getaway from reality (love you, Jack Liss!). I wore a 75 pound dress at my wedding. I had bruises on my shoulders throughout my honeymoon thanks to that fabulous dress and its adornment. They were worth it though. That dress makes every Disney princess gown look like child's play. So on the topic of the dress, Mom asks, "Don't you want to take your dress home with you? It's in the basement all boxed up."
"I say Kahley should try it on," announces Mr. Musky.
Silly man. He knows not what he says.
Kahley and I dash downstairs in search of the mysterious, hypnotically beautiful gown. But first, we stumble across a few other tools in my teenage arsenal. My prom dresses. I insist the child must try them on first. This is fun fun fun.
She slips on a dress that I wore to my junior prom at Fox High School. And to my junior prom at Rockridge High School. I have always been an overachiever. Why go to one prom when you can most certainly attend two? I loaned that dress to Ms. Melanie Portell to wear as an attendant in the Fox Senior Class of 1990 Homecoming Court, and she later gushed that it made her feel like a princess. Along the way one of the ruffles ripped, so I tore off the entire bottom half while in college, and viola! A shorter, sexy party dress to wear to Mr. Musky's Fraternity formal. Suffice to say that I got me some serious mileage out of that sucker.
So when he saw his thirteen-year-old daughter walking up Grandma's stairs in a dress that he last saw his svelte eighteen-year-old girlfriend wearing, Mr. Musky was extraordinarily unnerved and returned to the turkey basting. Giddy up! This wedding dress scavenger hunt was more entertaining than I ever anticipated!
Dress number two - my Senior Prom dress. I only attended one prom my Senior year...I didn't want to appear too ostentatious. Kahley shuddered. "Why did you wear a wedding dress to Prom?"
That was a very plausible, innocent question posed by my insightful daughter. See, my Senior prom dress was supposed to be a sleek, long, sexy hot pink-fuscia number with a big 'ole slit up the side. It rocked. That was the first year I actually knew I was attending prom come hell or high water, and I could go shopping weeks before the event to select the perfect dress. Which I did. When the dress arrived in the store a few weeks prior to prom - just in time to complete alterations - it didn't fit. Would not go over my hips and "double bubble gum" butt - as some of the Rockridge boys lovingly called it (you all know who you are). The lady in the store literally said, "Well, if you didn't have that big old basketball back there, it would fit."
I kid you not. Her exact words. She cried when I punched her in the face.
Not really. My Mom was there. And she raised me better than that. But she never could gain control of my thoughts. And they were not positive or complimentary at that moment. At all.
So with tears welling and a heart breaking, I scoured the dresses on the racks in the store for an alternate. It was one of the most disappointing dress shopping experiences of my life. In the end, I chose a horrid, sorry excuse for a dress that Frankenstein's Bride would have shunned. What was I thinking? White? In May? I have never glowed in white. I am too German and too pasty. My wedding dress wasn't even white - it was dubbed "champagne." Nonetheless, Kahley was a good sport and tried the dress on anyway while we all ooohed and aaahed. Not over the dress - just over her.
Since thirteen-year-olds are extremely sensitive about their pictures being posted wearing their Mom's old prom dresses (ick!), I had to provide a blood oath that I absolutely would not post pictures of her in my couture. Instead, I give you Junior Prom dress:
And Senior Prom Dress.
The story gets better. More to come over the weekend (insert Wedding March music) on Kahley trying on my Wedding Dress. It's good.