Eyes Wide Open

Tara’s hands…shaking after the surprise

Have to be at the Inn of the Seventh Ray at 11:30am – it’s a restaurant near Rich and Tara’s house. I’m struggling a bit this morning, but I snap myself out of it and enjoy a sunny drive along the Pacific Coast Highway (in traffic, of course). Rich’s Mom, Suzy, greets me when I come in. She called me earlier this week and left a message to make sure I was coming. “Hi Lindsay, it’s Suzy, Rich’s Mom. I was calling to confirm that you’re coming to Sarah’s….Sarah…TARA’s surprise birthday party. Oh my goodness. Tara’s surprise bridal shower. I’m calling because I need to have enough party favors to include you, Lindsay, we don’t want to forget you! The kind of presents we’re doing are little honeymoon doo-dads that she could use in hot weather, like I got her a bracelet, and earrings, and a little beach cover-up. If you could find a pair of thong sandals I’m sure she would love that, or whatever…underwear,…you know. I hope you’re coming because she would be very sad if you didn’t! …And I said Sarah because that’s my other daughter-in-law’s name if you remembered. John is now going to have to marry someone named Mara or Cara, or something like that. Alright cutie, hope to see you Saturday morning, I’ll wait to hear from you.”

Andddd that was the short version. What a trip. When Rich told me a wedding shower, I thought it was for both of them, so Mike and I already bought them ping pong paddles (a gift for us all). Wedding shower, bridal shower, I don’t know if there’s even a difference. How do people know this stuff? After asking around, it seems that some couples do have a wedding shower together, but a lot of times it’s just the bride. I’m learning. I’m at Target when Suzy calls, so I pick up a pair of sandals to throw in the gift bag.

It’s a small group of ladies – Rich’s Aunt and his friend, and Tara’s photographer (Betsy). Shortly after, Tara’s Aunt Olenka arrives with her four daughters who are the cutest things ever. And they keep me entertained, so I’m glad they’re here. I feel nervous for Tara to get here, because from the story Suzy is telling, Tara is not happy that she has to come here right now. Whatever story they’ve come up with must not be very convincing.

Tara, Uncle Paul, and her cutie-patootie cousins

When she arrives, I can’t see her because she starts backing up – she thinks it’s a mistake, a surprise meant for someone else. When she finally realizes what’s happening, she’s crying. Yup, Tara’s crying. I’m laughing. It takes her a while to make her way over to the table. Suzy is adorning her with as many bridal accessories as possible. Tara seems to be in a daze. It’s fun watching her backtrack this morning and realize how weird Rich was acting. I love that she is wearing shorts and a t-shirt right now. And she definitely didn’t shower (she never does). “Rich was telling me I should shower and get dressed before we went to Ikea, and I was like, no, what’s the point? I’ll shower when we get back.” We’re all dressed nice and Tara has her gym clothes on, and somehow, she still looks adorable.

Lunch is nice and I love that I’m sitting in the sun, until I realize it’s too much sun between yesterday and today, and combined with my hangover I need to be in the shade asap. I talk to Olenka for a while and the youngest of her cousins, Olivia, towards the end. She’s one of the flower girls in the wedding. Are you nervous to walk down the aisle? She nods with big, wide eyes. Yea, I was just in a wedding, and I was so nervous, and it was HORRIBLE. Tara overhears this. “Do you want to walk down with your sister (the other flower girl)? You can if you want.” “No, I want to walk by myself. I want everyone to look at me.” This girl is awesome.  She gives me an enthusiastic “Bye!” when I leave. Yes. I’m going to have a friend at the wedding.

Venice Beach

Sunday morning I have a field hockey game. It’s a mix today – some older girls and some younger. I’m starting to learn names. Well, of the girls who are good, and who I like. There are two Erin’s, and a girl Amanda. I like playing with them. There’s a couple younger ones who actually impress me today. I see a little more umph in their performance. It’s not excitement, not a desire to win, but maybe just a little competitiveness. I’ll take it. There’s a couple girls who I really want to ask, ‘Why are you here? Seriously, do you even like field hockey? What is the point of playing if you don’t care?’ Obviously I don’t. If I was their coach, I might. I probably would. I would. Our coach actually speaks to us at halftime and makes good points. I don’t even know his name because this is the first time I’ve really heard him coach us. We adjust and make changes in the second half (again, those who actually care). We still lose. Ughhh I hate losing.

Mike has off today, so I convince him to go to the beach with me when I get back from hockey. I can only get him to go if we don’t stay too long, so I promise only an hour. An hour is enough. I got burnt from an hour the last time I laid out. It was glorious. I convince Mike to come to the beach with me at least one day a week (he’s quite pale).


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