When we arrived back in Seattle after our adventure in Canada last June, Scott’s saintly sister picked us up from the airport and brought us back to her house to be showered with love for several days.
Seriously, visiting her family is like taking a warm bath. (But we keep our clothes on. It’s not that kind of family.) Everyone is so welcoming and kind and all six of her kids take great delight in playing with my little ones.
We just drove away
We all drove up to Scott’s other sister-in-Washington’s house for more good company and then Scott and I left. Just like that! We left all three of our small children behind, along with a freezer full of my frozen milk for Daniel. We hopped in our car and drove away.
I didn’t cry. But I almost cried.
Scott almost jumped for joy. He was thrilled that his sister was going to take good care of our brood while he and I had a romantic weekend away.
He had told me we needed to drive through Salem, Oregon to take care of some paperwork for his future job, and I knew we were going to his friend’s wedding in Eugene the following day. I was so preoccupied with our big move and the planned (and unplanned!) family adventures of the summer ahead that I hadn’t noticed the tell-tale signs of a major surprise on the horizon.
My first inkling was when we “went out to lunch” Anne-style. Scott found an enormous Mexican supermarket and they squeezed us huge cups of vegetable juice to go with our fresh fruit, ice cold horchata, guacamole, and warm corn tortillas. We had a parking lot picnic under a shade tree. Mmmm.
We drove through a gorgeous state park and I was just wishing we weren’t in such a rush to get to Salem when… Scott parked the car! “Let’s just see the waterfall” he said, and I hurried happily across the parking lot to the base of a giant waterfall. With a sly smile he suggested we hike to the top. It took me a full minute to realize this was all part of The Plan. What?! He surprised me with a challenging hike? He is truly the man of my dreams.
After the hike, Scott surprised me with a hotel in Portland and a night out on the town seeing a local performance of Cats and eating a fancy dinner (one of his favorite things to do). It was all surreal and fabulous… except the unitards.
Neither of us was at all familiar with Cats before the performers started to take the stage. We watched in wonder as they danced and sang and we both agreed at intermission that we still didn’t feel that we were at all familiar with Cats.
Was there a plot? Some of the songs were catchy and the production itself was well carried out… we just didn’t get it.
Fortunately, strange experiences often turn into some of the best memories. Not a week goes by when one of us doesn’t burst into a song from the performance and cause the other to crack up.
The end of romance
Unfortunately, despite pumping around the clock to try to stay on the same schedule as my baby, by the following morning I had a full blown case of mastitis. For those of you unacquainted with that particular kind of agony, consider yourselves fortunate. It is a breast infection that affects your whole body with fever, aches, and exhaustion.
We drove to Salem, signed the necessary paperwork, drove to our lovely bed & breakfast in Eugene and I caught a quick nap before heading to the wedding. I felt awful but I was still determined to go.
The wedding was to be held at a barn in the middle of a beautiful, remote countryside.
I had planned my pumping around the timing of the ceremony, but the wedding was a casual one and the bride was running late. Very late. Forty-five minutes after the ceremony was supposed to start, there was no sign of the bride’s car and I really really needed to pump so I hustled out to the part of the field where our car was parked.
I had a view of the drive coming into the barn and I pumped and watched for the bride’s car. There is no discreet way on hot day to pump milk in a car, so I was really hoping nobody happened to walk by and witness my awkwardness. I was pretty focused on hurrying and keeping an eye out for the bride. (And, let’s not forget, dealing with a high fever and much pain.)
I was just finishing up when I saw the bride already walking towards where the ceremony was to be held. What?! How had I missed her car pull up?
I hurried to pull myself together and jumped out of the car. The wedding music was starting to play. I did a quick calculation as to whether I’d be able to make it to the turn before the bride. Negatory.
I noticed a back way that involved jumping over a ditch and scrambling down a hill, but it would keep me from crossing paths with the bride. I took it without thinking, and leaped and scurried (all discreetly, naturally) my way to the second row next to Scott, sliding into my chair just as the bride took her first steps down the aisle. Success!
There was a moment of sheer terror later when a woman caught me in the drink line and asked if I was “the one pumping milk in the parking lot earlier”. Egads! Had I been spotted? Had she seen me fanning myself with the car door and fumbling the bottles and bags as I searched the horizon for the bride? Had I totally exposed myself to a random stranger at a wedding? She noticed the panic on my face and assured me she had just been sitting on the other side of Scott during the ceremony and he had mentioned where I was. Phew.
A happy ending
Some Tylenol at the beginning of the reception broke my fever and it ended up being a pretty good night after all. I was happy to be reunited with my baby the next day and my recovery was swift after that.
Fun surprises, plenty of talking time with my favorite person in the world, and a beautiful wedding mad it a great weekend despite the agony. Now if I could just figure out why I keep getting those darn infections… 😦
photo by my cousin, Adrian Vanderhoof