It was the wedding yesterday (separate post to follow), and after a bit of a hit and miss effort, we went but didn’t stay.
Gone are the days of Uncles, Aunts and Grandparents from both sides getting together for a right royal knees up, of little babies from the latest generation toddling into the waiting arms of doting parents.
With the modern family consisting of divorcees (several times around), single parents for whatever reason, and whiney kids, well, let’s say Maggie was better behaved than some.
Apart from my Mum, sister and her current gentleman friend, the bride, groom, bridesmaids (OK, I didn’t know which great niece was which at first), a nephew I haven’t seen since my Dad died and a vaguely familiar face from my brother-in-law’s funeral in 2010 who I believe is a friend of my eldest niece, I didn’t know anyone.
I saw my great great nephew, our fifth generation, for the first time. He’ll be four on Christmas Day and was running screaming around all the time, so we weren’t introduced.
I did however get my finger sucked by a lovely little girl of 9 months who was nothing to do with the family. She also gave me one of the biggest smiles ever which was enough to melt my heart.
Having got up early and leaving here before 7am, we arrived well in time for the midday ceremony. One of the venue staff was waiting to show us to a shady spot knowing we had the dog and Hubby is walking with sticks as I’d called beforehand.
However, we knew our place at the wedding breakfast had been passed to someone else because we didn’t know exactly what was happening until the last minute, which was perfectly understandable as everything had already been paid for.
My Mum had been deposited in the seating area for the ceremony and was alone.
She looked lost, bewildered and forlorn, so Hubby and I looked after her for the time we were there.
Her dementia is worsening, and by all accounts my sister is getting no support from either social care or her doctor, which is obviously taking a toll on her. I found our conversation strained and accusatory, so left her with her beau who, when I suggested she go back to Social Services to push for assistance and advice, was also a little hostile in my direction.
Mum didn’t know who Hubby was and didn’t recognise me either at first.
She did however remember my nephew (he’s a lovely young man and his girlfriend is equally nice), so we all closed ranks and sat with her to give her some familiarity.
Afterwards, everyone moved into the garden for canopes and drinks whilst the happy couple mingled and socialised, sort of, before the sit down do at 2.30.
Not knowing anyone, being over the hill agewise and neither smokers, e-inhalers or drinkers, we didn’t fit. And knew it. Someone nearly put a hole in my frock with their cigarette, and the smog under the trees was nothing to do with the weather.
We found a bench for Mum and made sure she had something to eat and drink whilst the nibble trays were passed around. Apart from water and a request for orange juice, there was nothing really for tee totallers like us. With nowhere to sit, I could see how much pain Hubby was in having to stand around. Maggie was now in the car, not in disgrace, but to keep her lungs clear and out of the way of people who may (or may not) try to give her titbits which would undoubtedly upset her stomach.
We left after the photographs were taken in the grounds and before the breakfast started, asking my nephew if he would mind looking after Nan as my sister was ‘otherwise engaged’.
To be honest, I got the impression Sis didn’t want to be there or have anything to do with events, let alone my Mum. My niece and her new husband had arranged and paid for everything themselves anyway.
It was lovely to see my nephew, I hugged him so tight, he could scarcely breathe. He said ‘Don’t ever change Aunty Di,’ and that, with the little girl I mentioned earlier, made the day for me as I came away with mixed feelings.
We got home just before 6pm, hungry and shattered, so in posh frock and togs, we treated ourselves to a chinese. Maggie, bless her had slept most of the way.