The Best Laid Plans

We are in the home stretch—just three weeks until Rose’s wedding day. My list of things to do has been growing shorter lately, but we’ve had a couple of setbacks and a few woes. I’m trying very hard to not hyperventilate.

In early May I started working on the gardens and the yard in the hopes that they would look beautiful by Rose’s wedding day. Over Memorial Day weekend in record-breaking heat, I spread 10 yards of new mulch and sprinkled grass seed in spots worn by the dogs during the winter. By the end of June, everything was shaping up and looking fantastic. Over the July Fourth week, my son-in-law (Kate’s husband) agreed to wash our deck and put on a new coat of stain. Working in 100-degree temps (another heat wave), he did a great job but he made the decision to not use tarps on the flowers and grass. I didn’t want to be a bitch mother-in-law, so I let it go after twice mentioning it to him. My guess is that when he comes to the wedding, he’ll be wishing he had used the tarps. All of my gorgeous peony bushes are covered in a brown-colored chemical burn. And a large area of the grass is completely dead. It will come back next spring, but it won’t be green for the wedding. I could easily become a fanatic and replace the dead sod (grass seed won’t have time to grow) and put in new bushes, but I’m not going there. The way I see it, this can go one of three ways. It will be another record-breaking heat wave on the big day and no one will go out on the deck so no one will see the burnt bushes and dead grass. Or it will be torrential rains and everyone will stay inside. Or the ugly sight will stand out and my son-in-law will never choose to not use tarps again.

I started to do some “touch up” painting to cover some nicks and dents and scuff marks that come from just living in a house. The folks at the local home improvement store did a perfect match of the color, but we couldn’t get the paint finish right. Every sample I tried had too much of a shine. I’m beginning to wonder if I have paint on my walls or if it’s primer! I really don’t want to have to paint the whole main floor, so I’m determined to keep working at it until we can find a good enough match. This is taking more time than I planned.

In the “hindsight is perfect” department, I should have predicted Brianna would have a meltdown or two as we neared the big day. She is no longer cooperating about going away to treatment. She is choosing to not follow simple house rules (clean up after herself, no overnight guests, home at curfew), so we’ve had to re-establish boundaries (again!) and offer up consequences. Instead of Brianna coming in at all hours of the night (sometimes with guests in tow), we’ve been locking the dead bolt at curfew. The first couple of nights she was pretty upset and I have no idea where she slept, if she slept at all. One would think that after being locked out once she would change her behavior. Unfortunately, she hasn’t slept in her bed all week. At this point I am saying a lot of prayers that Brianna doesn’t choose to throw a tantrum in front of one hundred wedding guests.

Constantly being on guard for what Brianna might do next is extremely exhausting—mentally and physically, and not easy on relationships. I’ve had to be kind to myself and not work so hard on my “to do” list, so I’m behind schedule with many tasks. And I’ve been careful to pay extra attention to my husband and remind him how grateful I am to have him in my life. At this point I just want to get as much done as I can for the wedding, do what I can to give Rose a special day, and then worry about our next step with Brianna. But I’m fully aware of how quickly the best laid plans can change.

Rose has been holding up well, despite working full-time and unexpectedly having to take two summer courses at her college. (She learned at the end of spring term that she needed two more classes to be admitted into the final year of her nursing program.) She and her fiancé finally applied for the marriage license and registered for bridal gifts. It took some forceful persuading on my part, but I finally got the ever-spontaneous Rose to the store to look at wedding dresses. She found one she likes and it’s in alterations now. It will be ready in time! And I finally found a dress. Thank God!

The RSVPs are coming in and I’m discovering that Rose did not follow “the plan.” Instead of a “normal” wedding, Rose is having three events. This required three different versions of the wedding invitations and a clear and concise list of which version goes to each guest. Another hindsight moment, I am regretting not being more involved in the assembling and mailing of the invites. Rose has had to make more than one phone call to apologize for not inviting someone to the second or third event—including her dad! Ugh!

This week Rose suffered a tragic loss of a friend—an unexpected death that could have been prevented. She has never lost anyone close, so this was a tough moment to overcome, especially given the cause. And she and her fiancé have had a few disagreements, normal in the days before a wedding. Stress can be nasty and we learn so much about ourselves and others in those times. I can only pray it will make them stronger as a couple.

Emily had another sport-related injury, so I spent an afternoon with her at the doctor’s office. I could have said something to her about never communicating with me unless she wants something, but I didn’t. It would have fallen on deaf ears. She ended up with a cortisone shot and some swallowed pride. She was polite and appreciative, but she needed my help. I don’t know when that will change. Something else I need to think about after the big day.

We had unexpected company from out of town, so I’m re-cleaning the guest room.

My husband offered a bed to another out-of-town wedding guest, but he forgot that we already promised that bed to someone else. There is no more room at the Inn!

Today is my birthday. I’d like to take the day off and not do a thing, but I wouldn’t enjoy it. No matter how hard I try, I’ll still hear my “to do” list screaming at me from the other room. Next weekend we will celebrate my granddaughter’s second birthday. It will be a fun weekend, but not much will get crossed of that dreaded list.

I do have faith that everything that needs to get done, will get done. And in the final few days before the big event, I know the troops will rally and I’ll have extra help and it will all come together. It always does. So the real trick will be to keep my breathing level, keep the hair on my head, and get some sleep. One day at a time. For the next 21 days.

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