Therapy


I know I've been M.I.A. over the past few days.

I was off on an adventure!

One of those therapeutic adventures that automatically qualify for one of the 'best weekend of my life' awards.

I went to LA.

Louisiana. Not Los Angeles.

I saw a girl I'd never met get married to a guy I'd never met and spent the entire time laughing and smiling and having the time of my life with more people I'd never met.

And I loved them all!!

For a few years I've had an online presence at a site where I've come to be great friends with several girls and a couple of guys. We've shared our joys and our heartaches and our accomplishments and our fears with each other for years and in that process have become better friends online than many friends I have in real life.

For a few years I've loved each and ever single one of these people because they are my people. They get me. They love me. They support me. They're just another form of family that I am so blessed to have.

Only I'd never met them. I'd never hugged their necks or kissed their cheeks or heard their voices in most cases.

But this weekend, I met two girls who have been in that group. And I hugged their necks and cherished their smiles and did my best to memorize their faces and laughter.

Because there was a lot of laughter.

And I met more girls from that same site that I had never met before. We all knew each other's pen names from having seen it here or there, but none of us had read or kept up with each other.

In one weekend they went from a mere blip on my radar to automatic admission in my "Close of the Close" group.

It was an amazing weekend all the way through!!

So sit back and relax, you know how long-winded my stories can be!

How about we start where we left off last week. Let's see, Tuesday was the boobie-sandwich post. (I'm totally not doing that, by the way....though I only garnered 2 comments on that post, I'm going with the majority vote!!)
Before Tuesday's post was a therapeutic conversation with Mystery Man. Wow....that seems so long ago now. I guess when you're used to only seeing someone every week or two and you have a week where you get to see him the majority of the days in one week it throws your time perception off.
So...speaking of Mystery Man...
::grins::
He came to town Thursday so he could see me before we left.
Here's where your jaws will drop.
I.cooked.supper.
Take a moment....compose yourself.
Big, right?
I cooked supper.
AND I fed it to him!!
Monumental, I tell ya!
So we spent the evening together and I got a quick fix before I'd leave for my trip the following morning. So sweet of him to come see me.
{insert warm fuzzy feelings here}
Leave me alone, I'm a girl. I'm allowed to be all silly and girly once-in-a-while. ::wink::
On Friday morning, I got up and packed all of Ty's stuff and finish packing up mine and take Ty to school where I explain to him that I won't see him till Sunday.
"Why?"
'Because Miss Jess is getting married and I'm going to see her!'
"Married?"
'Yes, sir!'
"What's married?"
'Well....when a boy and a girl really, really love each other they go to a church and they tell each other and God and everyone how much they love each other and God marries them and they can live together and be together forever!'
(leave me alone, I wasn't prepared to answer it! haha!)
"I think you need to get married, Mama"
'Oh really?'

"Yes, you can marry {Mystery Man} and he can live with us and he can sleep on one pillow and you can sleep on the other, but you have to share."
{{insert long pause here where I'm trying to figure out where to go with this conversation}}
I totally didn't see that coming when I brought up that he'd be spending the weekend with Nana & Papaw....crazy kids!

From the school I dropped Ty's stuff off at my parents house and headed down Arkansas State Highway 8 on my way to Houma, Lousiana.
It was an easy and beautiful trip but my GPS deceived me into thinking I'd make it there an hour before I actually did.
But the timing worked out for the best anyway.
I pulled into Jess's with a grin on my face and walked in the door to a half a dozen stranger's faces only to see Jess run down the hall to me and we threw our arms around each other and hugged and everything in the world was right from that moment on.
All the girls were in the process of getting ready to go to the rehearsal, so I brought my stuff in and changed while going through introductions with girls I would soon come to love and realize were so amazing and wonderful.
I just knew that there was no way I'd remember their names. No way. I'm terrible with names.
But these girls are completely unforgettable!!
We headed to the rehearsal at a different church than where the wedding would take place. There was a wedding going on that night at the cathedral Jess would be getting married at, so the rehearsal was scheduled at a different location.
Not all the groomsmen got the memo though, they showed up at the wedding at the other cathedral instead!
Miss Alesi (the groom's little girl) took her flower girl duties quite seriously and made her Ring Bearer escort her up and down and up and down and up and down the aisle while she perfected it.

Cutest.thing.ever.
No, scratch that. Cutest thing ever was what she did after the ceremony. I'll get to that later.
So we go through the rehearsal and then head to the rehearsal dinner where Jess makes us all cry with her gift to her parents and especially her gift to Alesi.
I never even felt my tears well in my eyes, I just had tears streaming down my face with absolutely no warning at all.
Very, very touching.
After the rehearsal dinner we went across the road to a bar for just a little bit before going back to Jess's for lots and lots of girl talk before bed.
The next day was the big day!
Somehow Jess rolled herself out of bed at 5:45. I thought I was only blinking my eyes, but they didn't open again until right at 7.
My bad!
So I jumped up and threw on my jeans and a shirt and scarf and curled my hair and fixed my makeup, thinking I'd come back later to do it better for the wedding.
Later never came.
But that's beside the point.
We rolled out of the house and down the road to the beauty shop for the girls to lay down a small fortune on getting their hairs did and their faces painted. I'm so spoiled to small-town prices that I almost choked when I heard the price of an updo! Holy wow! I'm going into hair styling!
Nah, nevermind....I'm not that patient.
So, we're on our way to the beauty shop with our beautiful bride behind the wheel!!

We get to the beauty shop and pull out a delicious breakfast feast of Chick-Fil-A yummies.
And coffee.
The coffee was very crucial to me.
I love coffee.
And I needed coffee.
So, a million-and-one pictures into the hair styling and makeup applying, Miss Jess plants her happy little soon-to-be-married butt in the chair and great things begin to happen.

Except here.

Because here is where she's processing "OMG, thephotographerhadaflatandwon'tbeabletotakepicturesofmegettingreadyorputtingmydresson!"
But here is where Super Ash made her debut.

Because Jess said "Ashley, will you take pictures for me?"
And Ashley said "Psht! You have to ask?!"
So we hauled it back to Jess's house and I resisted the urge to run in the door shedding clothes because not only did I have pictures to take of my leading lady.....I didn't want to actually live this dream I had where I was walking around before Jess's wedding with no pants on and no clue where my dress was.
So I threw my dress on and grabbed my camera and dashed off to battle evil videographers while trying to capture how absolutely STUNNING my beautiful Jess was on this oh-so-AMAZING day!

I love her face in this picture and the look on it, it's like she's calmly thinking "This is real. This is it. It's finally happening."
And I love this picture. I love how her mom is looking at her as she works with her hair and veil.

We jumped into the cars and dashed off to the church only ten minutes before go-time!
Needless to say, we were booking it!!
I looked down at my speedometer to see we were going 65 and moments after commenting on our speed we witnessed a crash just as the limos in front of my vehicle passed them. Three cars were involved and the van, which got the worst hit of them all, came into our lane in front of us.
It was one of those moments where everything slows down.
I automatically hit my brakes while trying not to lock them up or get rear-ended myself. But all I could think was 'This thing's either going to hit us head-on or it's going to hit my side of the car, but either way we're hit and we're going to miss the wedding!'
But Grace intervened as He always does and the van was able to correct back into its own lane.
Back to the wedding story.
Where were we?
Oh, that's right......arriving at the church.

{{insert bridal march here}}

This wedding easily qualifies as one of the most beautiful weddings, EVAH!!
Jess was radiant and glowing and the cathedral was amazing and literally everything added to the beauty and the joy of the day.
One of my favorite touches for the day was something completely unplanned.
This is how I got to watch the ceremony.

You may think this means nothing to you.....but if I zoom out just a bit further some of you might get it.....

Because seeing this wedding between the smiles and bodies of these two people added a whole other level of emotion and sentiment and joy to the occasion for me.
Because Mackenzie and Jason (above) have a special story.
Because Mack and I traveled very similar roads only a short time apart from each other.
Because Mack and Jason give me hope and inspired me to never settle for less than everything I ever wanted.
And because through their shoulders I got to watch Jess and Joey commit to forever. Jess has inspired me because of how wholly she accepted and loved a child that was not, biologically, hers. She gave me hope that I will find a man so perfect for me that he would love my child as much as Jess loves her little girl.
So for those two inspirations to be pieced together like that....it was monumental and a very powerful moment for me.
Moments as beautiful as that are rare, I will always cherish that one.
And before I knew it....our Miss was a Mrs.

And a beautiful one, at that!
This is where the cutest.thing.ever moment with Alesi came into play.
As Jess and Joey were walking, arm-in-arm, down the aisle and everyone is looking at and watching them we all hear the rapid clicking of little dress shoes on the tile floors as Alesi runs full blast to catch up and throws her arms around Jess and Joey.
It was all I could do not to cry as Joey picked her up and the three of them walked out of the cathedral as a family.

Finally.

Officially.
We followed Mackenzie and Jason from the wedding to the reception and resisted the urge to run red lights like some people before us did.
*ahem*
Sorry, excuse me. I had a tickle in my throat.
{{wink}}
We got to the reception where Jess and Joey shared their first dance and we all sat down and began snapping picture after picture after picture!





Everyone danced and had a blast!
And when it was all said and done, my feet were killing me, my dress had driven me absolutely batty (don't ask!) and my face and abs hurt so bad from all the laughing and smiling.
Best.weekend.ever.
What a wonderful way to start a marriage and what a wonderful weekend to meet all these wonderful and amazing women that I love with all of my heart!
But the goodness of the weekend didn't end there.

After finally coming home and emptying my bags and just crashing into my couch for a while my doorbell rang.

And I opened the door and he smiled.

The perfect ending to a wonderful weekend.
Ashley Wife & Mom

Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.