June 11, 2005

Wedding Cake

My son wants to know what the plastic box contains. It is in his room on the dresser where I have stashed it in the hopes of a near-future move. We lift the lid and I show him the colored paper. The stack of card stock is a jumbled rainbow of hues. Inside the lid is pasted a stylized directive: Please place completed scrapbook pages here.
 
Bug reads it out loud slowly. “What does that mean?”
 
“The box was from our wedding,” I explain. “Our guests drew pictures for us so we could remember them.”
 
From the bottom, Bug fishes one of the blank pages left from that day. A goldenrod square is pasted onto a larger lavender piece. A tiny stamp in the center of the smaller frame reads, “Your photo will be here.”
 
“How?” Bug asks.
 
“Like this.” The scrapbooks are all in his room. Weddings, pregnancy, first tooth, first steps. Tee and I hug in faded sepia on the front of one. I pull it down and nestle with my son on his bed. “We made two books because we had so many creative wedding guests. One is for family and one is for friends. This is your family too, you know.”
 
We flip past all the announcements and shower invitations. In a save-the-date , a silhouette of Tee and me leaps against a Lake Michigan sunset. A handmade flower-petal paper sports its indigo raffia bow. The booklet from the wedding day slips around in a plastic sheath that protects the lyrics to James Taylor’s “How Sweet it Is” alongside the cowboy-hat story of our first meeting.
 
Someone had the bright idea to use one of the tabletop disposable cameras to capture a few shots of the scrapbooking table. A violet satin cloth is littered with stamps, stickers, pens. Everything is so very bright. Sunburnt guests brandish markers and grins. The daisies my friend planted months in advance pop from their hand-painted pots.
 
I point out cousins my son knows now as older. He has me read their wishes to us.
 
“Was I there?” He asks.
 
“You were the reason we were all there, but no. You weren’t born yet.”
 
He turns another page. “Nelson!” he cries. “He was there!”
 
“You know Nelson?”
 
“Of course,” Bug says. “He lives at Daddy’s house.”
 
Nelson. A stuffed plush banana slug from a trip to an Olympic Peninsula lodge was a key player in Tee’s and my courtship. Nelson was present at the third and final proposal. Sometime during the wedding reception, Tee snuck the slug out of his jacket pocket and propped him onto the cake table. Nelson’s big-eyed welcome is now a sunny flourish against our melting, blue sky confection.
 
Bug slips down from the bed and goes back over to the box of blanks. He pulls the lavender-and-gold card stock from the top and settles down at his desk.
 
“Are you going to make one?”
 
“Mmm-hmm,” he murmurs. He is already in the flow. He outlines the shape of a purple butterfly with his marker. A red flower. I let him draw for a few minutes as I turn back through the album. A few cards at the back sing out their happy wishes. The rooftop group shot with all of us jumping is a cascade of smiles. Grandparents, siblings, all so much younger. They glisten and wilt and whirl and bounce.
 
I try to feel sad but I just can’t tap sorrow. It was a gorgeous day. Tee and I were giddy. I couldn’t stop giggling as I walked down that makeshift aisle my mother rolled out on the grass from a bolt of rainbow upholstery fabric. The sunflowers arching behind fiancé and friend opened their delight to me. Happiness still pulses there, beating in a subdued major key.
 
“When you are done, baby, do you want me to find a picture of you to put on the page?”
 
He nods but does not turn, still bent to the task of making his garden come to life. “Yep. And then put it in the book.”
 
“Okay. We can make room for you in there.”
 

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1 thought on “June 11, 2005”

  1. Love the scrapbook idea. Will have to remember that for other occasions. Is pretty neat to see and hear the thoughts of little ones as they see events that affected them, in a way, but they were not a part of at the time. Is fun to watch it unfold.

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