We drove for nine and a half hours last weekend to go to my friend LJ’s wedding in Johnstown, PA. Then we drove nine and half hours back.

It wasn’t really nine and a half hours—that was what Mapquest promised—it was more like twelve with food stops and gas stops and run-around-till-boo’s-so-tired-he-might-pass-out stops. There were tears, there were tantrums, there was a lot of transforming our hands into crazed singing puppets and one instance of me sticking a boob in boo’s mouth as we hurtled down the freeway at 80 miles an hour. Did I mention it poured rain almost the whole way down?

LJ is one of my favorite people and seeing her get married was well worth the pilgrimage. We broke up the first half of the trip. We spent a night on the road in a Quality Inn located on a massive dirt lot outside of Scranton where they’re in the process of putting up a Walmart. When we got there at around 9pm, Harlan was delirious from driving. He went in to get a room and boo woke up hysterical, and didn’t calm down until I’d nursed him and rocked him and let him run around the room like crazy baby on crack for half an hour.

Johnstown was an adventure for boo: another hotel room, his first wedding ceremony (Harlan had to take him outside to the church playground since he was chattering through the whole ceremony: “mamadaddydaddymamamamamama…car”), his first wedding reception (I chased him around all night as he alternately pushed his stroller into wedding guests’ shins and pushed booster seats around the floor), a whirlwind of new faces and fancy clothes. By the trip back, he was a trooper. He had fallen into the zone and we’d learned that he was okay as long as we stopped every couple of hours to let him run around in the grass.

In the peace of Aidan’s slumber at around 9:00 Sunday night when we were about two hours from home, Harlan asked me, as always, what my favorite part of the weekend was.

I loved seeing LJ walk down the aisle, stunning in her mother’s ivory gown with lace across the chest, buttons down her back and both a train and a bustle. I cried and trembled. She met my eyes, took deep breaths and continued her dignified walk.

I loved the traditional Slovak bridal dance, the Redovy. where everyone dumps a buck in a bridesmaid’s apron for a chance to spin the bride around the floor.

I admit I got a kick out of Aidan’s incessant chattering during the ceremony. Even though we felt horrible during the ceremony, it was so sweet the way he babbled and showed his toys, all proud, to the people sitting behind us. LJ said she loved hearing his sweet little voice.

I loved the way Aidan immediately commandeered the hotel room, lining up his cars along the bathroom doorway, pulling the luggage cart and portable crib around, making it his own.

Harlan loved the walk we took while we were waiting for the day-after brunch to begin, in a residential neighborhood where the trees were all shades of orange, yellow and red and most houses had a swingset. I loved when Aidan figured out what a great sound dry leaves make when you kick them.

Harlan loved that I put on this sexy little lace nightie that I hadn’t worn since sometime around our honeymoon.

I loved the moment during the car ride home when Aidan was finally settling down at about 9pm after hours of squirming. I was next to him in the back seat. In his half-waking state, he reached out his hand toward me, found my hand, intertwined his fingers in mine, and finally fell asleep.

LJ and Gene's first dance

LJ and Gene's first dance

The Bridal Dance

The Bridal Dance

Road trip!

Road trip!

A walk in the burbs

A walk in the burbs

Rest stop

Rest stop

Mama love

Mama love

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