Dances With Madelyn

This past weekend was my sister’s wedding. Both Alison and I were honored to be in the wedding party as Maid[tron] of Honor and Groomsmen respectively, but the real honor was Madelyn’s as she got to walk down the aisle as the cutest Flower Girl around. Though we had been looking forward to this event for many months, I know Alison and I were also a little bit nervous about how Madelyn would do during the weekend’s festivities. There’s rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, getting ready, photos, ceremony, reception — it’s a lot for a 14-month old to take in, let alone how much her parents would have to take in while taking care of her. Luckily, Madelyn had her own entourage (read: baby wranglers), Mimi and Poppa (Alison’s parents), on the scene to offer all their help, and no doubt we were going to need it. Let’s not forget, Alison was staying overnight with the bridesmaids on Saturday, so although Madelyn’s Mimi and Poppa were there to help during the events, the homefront was now my responsibility for two days.

Everything started on Saturday, the day of the rehearsal and dinner. Though my job as Groomsmen required very little, on this day I did have a few very important responsibilities as Husband-of-the-Maid[tron]-of-Honor and Father-of-the-Flower-Girl. I had to ensure Madelyn got a good morning nap, show up on time (read: early) to the rehearsal with Madelyn and everything we would need for her (and us) in tow, cooperate with the coordinator during the rehearsal while helping Madelyn’s entourage take care of her and watching Alison run around doing her duties as Maid[tron] of Honor, take Madelyn home for a quick nap before getting her (and me) ready for the rehearsal *dinner* where I would still need to show up on time (early) with her and everything we would need, including the ” target=”_new”>tribute video I made for my sister and her now husband. Breathe, Bryan, breathe.

On the surface, this day didn’t need to be stressful, and I can honestly say it really wasn’t. Alison, being the super mom and savvy wedding professional that she is, laid everything out for me on the homefront and made sure I was prepped for success, as any good manager will do. I managed to succeed in all of my duties, except Madelyn didn’t quite cooperate on the napping front. A little bit here and a little bit there, but not the solid naps I was hoping for. So of course, she was an absolute mess at the rehearsal, crying and screaming her way down the aisle until we shoved the bottle in her mouth during round two so her cousin Abby could carry her down the aisle.

But after a change of scenery, she was a total trooper at the rehearsal dinner, even with the food coming out late, lots of unfamiliar faces, and one tired little toddler. She made it through the whole night and finally expired around 9:30pm when she just couldn’t be “on” anymore and started her “put-me-to-bed-right-now-daddy-or-I’m-seriously-going-to-lose-it-even-more-than-I’m-losing-it-right-now” cry. So I took her home, put her to bed, and readied myself for the next day, which would be similar to this day but on a much grander scale. More to bring with me, more time away from naps, more pressure to perform.

Thankfully, Madelyn is a total rock star. I was somehow able to bring everything we needed for myself and for Madelyn, show up early, get ready with the guys, help Alison get Madelyn ready, take pictures, hang out with everybody, walk down the aisle, greet everyone, take care of Madelyn, and have a ton of fun all at the same time, or at least in sequence.

In all my 14 months of being a father, I have to say, I have never enjoyed being Madelyn’s dad as much I did from the time the reception started to the time she was completely conked out in her stroller as the band played their last few numbers. It was so amazing to witness her taking it all in. I literally got to experience the wedding through her eyes as I focused so much of my time and energy making sure she had a fun time. At the dinner table she sat with me, eating off of my plate and gobbling up the sliced fruit I prepared for her earlier that day (thanks to Mommy’s preparation list). On the dance floor she danced with me, both in my arms and on the dance floor.

Aside from my sister, the beautiful bride, I’m pretty sure Madelyn was the next most watched girl in the room, as people were fascinated by her dancing. I’m thinking of patenting her go to dance move — the slight knee-bending bounce while sticking the arms just a little bit outward, every so often just taking a tumble and then getting back up to do it again. It’s “The Madelyn,” and it’s taking over for the Macarena and the Cupid Shuffle.

Between dancing with my daughter and the incredible band, I literally have never had so much fun at a wedding. I would say, to date, it was my most rewarding night as a father. And it was a pretty rewarding night for me as a husband too — those times where Mimi and Poppa or Grandma and Grandpa would watch Madelyn for a few precious moments so Alison and I could share some wedding party time alone together. Is there anything that makes you feel the love more than a freaking wedding?!?

Looking back on it, I really had such a great weekend because I got to enjoy playing all the different roles of my life — a dad, a husband, a son, a brother, a groomsman, a family member, a friend … and a wedding guest. After hearing the truly heartfelt and touching vows from my sister and her husband, I can honestly say I’m so, so happy for them that they each found the one they love to spend the rest of their life with. I found my own “one” seven years ago and could never have imagined a weekend like the one we just shared together, with our daughter, and so many people who love us. It’s always nice to get a reminder of how lucky I am and what a great life my wife and I have built together.

Congratulations Alison and Michael, and thanks for an amazing party!

  1. Mom/Grandma
    10/20/2012 11:45 PM

    You are amazing, Bryan! It was certainly a fun, memorable evening, and I will perform “The Madelyn” at every wedding I attend in the future. Thanks for everything last weekend!! I love you!