For months, Jared and I had subtly prepared Beren for my brother's wedding. The long drive to Florida where they live, his ring bearer role, the white button down shirt, brown (his least favorite color) shoes, dress pants, and so on.
Beren, the only boy for miles in our family, was selected as ring bearer. The only girl of walking age was the lovely 4 year old niece of my brother's fiancee. She was a perfect fit for the flower girl role - effervescent and cute, inside and out. To her family's amusement, she'd been practicing her bit by spontaneously putting her hand on her hip and strutting.
Beren, who I'm sometimes told should be a child model (my personal hell on earth - dragging a kid who likes to sleep late, be outside/dirty, and hates photographs to a photo shoot), had no such resume nor inclination.
During the rehearsal, the flower girl took Beren by the hand, put her hand on her hip, and strut down the "aisle". It was something. Shortly, Beren returned to my side and told me, "that was the worst time of my life."
Later, we attended the rehearsal dinner at a barbecue place just off the beach. Beren ate heartily and his internal light began to shine. Jared and I commented, "It's like he had a couple drinks."
He told my brother he had bigger muscles. My brother replied that he knew someone who had bigger muscles - his friend and boss, a quietly serious but not unfriendly seeming fellow my brother's age. Beren and my brother marched over. "I have bigger muscles than you," Beren told him.
From that moment, Beren responded positively to all requests for high fives, especially from his beloved and soon-to-be-aunt who got him giggling over the "slap me high, slap me low, you're too slow" game. Beren did donuts around the inside of the restaurant and charmed the bridesmaids.
On the wedding day, we arrived 15 minutes late for photos which were scheduled prior to the wedding. I was sweating as we sat in traffic and I answered a call from my brother. "Where are you?" "We'll be there in 5." After ten minutes passed, I ignored a call from my parents cell (sorry, Mom!).
Once there, Beren refused to participate in photographs, at first. We had a second chance with the flower girl's help. Again, Beren returned to my side, "Momma, that was terrible."
There was another hour or so to wait during which Beren ate the bridal party's lunch leftovers. Jared and I nibbled, too. Lunch had long worn off for all of us. We wandered the grounds of the wedding - an incredible series of outdoor gardens and large ponds.
My brother found me and asked, "Do you want Beren to carry the rings, or do you want a groomsman to?" "Ummm..., how about the groomsman. Is that ok?" "Yeah, apparently that's what they do at most weddings. In case the kids runs off," he replied.
After all, the wedding planners and the grandparents all had been repeating, "Whatever the kids are up to, that's what they'll do."
By the time, the bridal party lined up to make an entrance, Beren was done. My brother and the groomsmen entered first. Beren and I were sandwiched between the bridesmaids and my brother's fiancee and her father. The flower girl stubbornly tried to hold Beren's hand. "I want to be first," Beren exclaimed. "Stay with me, Beren," my brother's fiancee said. "Yes, be by the beautiful bride," I added. "No! I want to be first."
Once the bridesmaids cleared the stone pathway and arching palms, Beren ran to Jared. I followed with the empty box of "rings".
The ceremony shone with all the love and and a touch of humor that my brother and fiancee have for each other. What joy to seem them on this day, especially since the thunderstorm passed 1/2 hour before their vows.
Once we were fed an outstanding meal (this was not typical wedding food...), we proceeded to the dance floor and as a family we cut a rug solidly until 10:30pm. The cookie dessert, glow sticks and glow glasses were all a big help.
The following day on our long drive home, Beren asked me, "Momma, did we give what we were supposed to give Uncle Adam?" "Yes, Beren, we did good." Then, at bedtime, "Momma, did Uncle Adam and Kristin get their rings?" "Yes, Beren. Yes, they did."