Sunday, August 9, 2009


Last weekend I helped out a friend's wedding. We've known each other since 1997, when we studied overseas in the Middle East. We both developed a passion for things Middle Eastern, leading us both to related studies. I settled down sooner rather than later and started my family, while she continued her studies in Africa and elsewhere.

We both ended up in the Washington, D.C. area and have been able to see each other periodically. While here, she fell in love with a Samoan gentleman. I was excited to be a part of the wedding festivities, as a gopher or simply the grease in the wheels of a big event (a role I enjoy immensely.) Friends and family spent the days leading up to the event running around in preparation. We decorated the hall of the church on Friday evening, where I got to meet many of her friends.

The bride and I have some physical characteristics in common. We are both tall, with long dark hair. I thought the similarities stopped there, but not so. According to her mother, we both walk with the same gait and mannerisms. Someone even said our voices sound similar. Our commonalities turned out to be disconcerting; not for me, but for everyone else.

I lost track of how many times I was mistaken for the bride. People would see me out of the corner of their eye, turn and ask a question, then freeze, startled. A woman came up to me from behind and patted me on the back. As she asked how I was doing, I turned and smiled, already amused. She stopped midsentence and apologized. Friends mistook me. Her brothers mistook me. Her mother did, twice.

Even the groom. Not once. FOUR times. One of those times was on the actual wedding day, when she was in her white gown and I was in bright yellow. He was so embarrassed, but I was flattered.

After all, she is a great woman. She is beautiful. She carries her height proudly. She is accomplished, optimistic, and happy. She waited patiently to marry her husband and is now a step-mom to an energetic seven year old boy with extra challenges. For the complications that dealing with an ex-spouse entail, I admire her. She is awesome.

I'll gladly be mistaken for her, any day.

Monday, August 3, 2009


My three boys are noisy, boisterous, messy types. I love them and they love me, but man, they are a handful. They haven't seemed to notice the attention they draw when we go out in public. Granted, I try to keep our public appearances to a minimum.

But they do need to eat. I usually dread visits to the grocery store or Costco-type places. The noise seems to echo and there is always a large audience for their shenanigans. I have become very efficient at getting in and getting out. They have learned to never ask for something because I won't buy it for them. I am a woman on a mission, and that mission is to get out.

Despite my efforts, there are times when we are stationary for a moment. This gives people time to pause and make comments to me. Usually they are funny or sympathetic. Every once in a while I get a critical remark that I simply do not acknowledge. But the boys are oblivious. Or so I thought.

Recently we were in a store and I was doing my utmost to keep the gaggle in line while shopping. I had ::cringe:: paused in my deliberations as a man approached us. He smiled and said, "Boy, you've got your hands full!" I gave my usual ha-ha-aren't-you-clever laugh and turned back to my shopping. Then, my observant eight year old asked,

"Mom, why do people always say that?"

I guess they listen more than I thought they did. If only that would work for their chores...