The Trip Story, Part 4

by mssinglemama on August 26, 2009

On the Friday after the Wednesday night when we finally got home, we took off again. This time Benjamin and Murphy were stuffed into the back seat and we were driving John’s car instead of Fiesta Dave. Even after hours of driving on our vacation, John never could get comfortable driving the stick.

The rehearsal would be on Saturday afternoon with a rehearsal dinner out at my mother’s house and then the wedding on Sunday. Up until now John’s exposure to my family has been limited, only because, aside from my mother, my family just isn’t around. When we do get together it can be quite overwhelming for anyone new to the mix. My stomach flipped on the way down just thinking about what John may or may not witness.

It was nearly dark when we pulled into our cabin, the Big Pine at Lake Hill Cabins. Tucked just one mile away from my mother’s house where wedding madness would be ensuing all weekend.


The cabin owner, Shelly is a long-time acquaintance of mine so she gave us a sweet deal. If you’re ever in Athens, Ohio mention you saw her cabin here on my blog and she’ll give you a discount too.

On Saturday, I reluctantly left Anna knee deep in cooking and party prep

woman cooking in kitchen

while we headed off to the rehearsal where Benjamin practiced his impromptu role as his cousin Josie’s flower basket holder. He absolutely loved the idea of “going to work.”

flower girl and boy

Later that afternoon we headed back to Mom’s for a rehearsal dinner that would have made Martha Stewart envious. My mother and sister are master chefs in their own right, and had food fit for royalty.

entree = dinner

And they have the shabby chic thing down pat.

shabby chic

And thanks to the Texans (Mom’s man Larry and his son, Micah)


there was enough brisket to feed an army.


But I was distracted by my handsome man, in his outfit that made him look he’d just stepped out of a J. Crew catalog.


On Sunday we were packing up, sad to leave the cabin but excited to get back to reality. After he popped outside with an armful of luggage John came bursting back through the door.

“Alaina!” he screamed.

“What? What?”

“The key broke, the key to my car just snapped in half.”

The wedding started in one hour and our cabin was twenty minutes away. I tried not to hyperventilate and reached for the phone. Who could we call? We tried my mother’s house but no one answered. We tried Shelly but she was away from her home phone and her cell wasn’t picking up. I managed to reach Eliot, who could only say, “Just don’t be late for the ceremony!”

Breaking the key, being so close to finally home and now completely stuck had not only snapped his key, but also John and I’s patience. We were both snapping, at each other, even at Benjamin who at this point could tell that he needed to keep playing with his toys and ignore the adult chaos above him.

Eventually we reached Larry who zipped over to the cabin. John jumped in the truck, took Larry back to mom’s and then came back to pick us up. While he was there I put Benjamin’s tuxedo on him and he looked up at me and said, “Mommy, I am a prince. And you are my princess.” As I buttoned his vest and secured his bow tie I saw his eyes on me with such intensity and knew this would be one of those moments he remembers for the rest of his life. Then I looked at him, kissed his little cheek and whispered, “Yes, you are, my little prince – always.

Then John Bear pulled up.


Somehow we made it on time

galbreath chapel

but it was right before we walked into the ceremony that I noticed John’s vacant stare, he had reached his limit. We were here but how would we get home after the reception? Until we figured it out we sat back and watched my littlest brother get married to my beautiful sister-in-law…




I just love Katie. And would you look at this?


At the reception, you couldn’t tell but John and I were still tense as hell. See? Just look at me… I secretly want to kill a baby bunny, even though I’m standing next to my brother Ezra’s awesome super model girlfriend Monica.


And just look at John. He’s ready to snap.


In the end my brother lent me my old Focus, the car I’ve been letting him drive while I use my Fiesta. We drove it home and finally made it back around 1:00 am on Sunday night. A few days after I picked up his car, with the fixed key and things had settled down a bit I melted down. It was too much. The residual stress of the weekend and the trip and now I was feeling some kind of tension between us.

“I just think that maybe we are spending too much time together. Maybe,” I said to him over the phone in a hushed voice even though Benjamin was upstairs, “we should spend less time together and that would make things easier. Maybe there is too much pressure on us.” I had used these lines on men in my past and they’d been very effective in pushing them away, forcing them into a corner where their only option was to fight back, claw their way out and break my heart. But John wasn’t playing.

“Woah. Wait a minute,” he said, “that doesn’t make any sense. To me spending less time together would be running away from this. We’re going to be fine. We just have to work through these things.”

“You’re right, you’re right. I’m just trying to run. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, babe, everything is going to be fine. I’m not going anywhere.”

The next day, a Sunday, John came over and we all three spent the entire day together from start to finish. Our first full day together, it was absolutely splendid. And in the daily moments of chaos between juggling a child and a dog and everything else we just looked at each other and solved the problem, not with stress in our voices of faces but with laughter and smiles.

Compared to the last two weeks of our lives, this was cake.

Now for the rest of whatever life has in store for us, I can only imagine but I think we’re ready for whatever it brings.

The wedding album is now complete. I labeled the pictures… start with this one and read the story in the caption. Something crazy happened to Eliot and Katie en route from the wedding to the reception in their Just Married car.


P.S. One of you said in my last post that these long trip posts seem manipulative. I can assure you, they are not… it just takes me forever to write them. This one, for example, took me five hours to put together. Five hours. It just takes a long time, really and between everything else – I do have to work still and then there’s the 3.5 year old thing. That’s all. Just don’t want any of you to think I am taking advantage of you. Thank you.

Related posts:

  1. The Trip Story: Part 3
  2. The Trip Story: Part I
  3. The Trip Story: Part 2
  4. Isabelle’s Story, Part II
  5. Isabelle’s Story

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