Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A wedding story

As I've already told you, I spent some time last month assisting my mother in cleaning out my old bedroom.

Nostalgia is a funny thing. I spent several hours sorting through a mountain of junk. Things that ten, or even five, years ago I wouldn't have dreamed of ever parting with. But when all was said and done I did bid farewell to most of it. Some things went to thrift shops, but a large amount of my previously loved possessions were carted off to the dump. What a difference ten years can make.

There was a small mountain left for me to take home and distribute into the proper places in our apartment.

One of those things was a teddy bear that I'd had since I was born (I think).

I had a lot of toys growing up, but none were more treasured than my stuffed animals. I had A LOT of stuffed animals and they all had names and they were all important to me.

This one teddy bear has remained so because of a certain journey it took with my four year old self.

The summer of my fourth year my Aunt Pam got married. I was her flower girl and my brother was her ring bearer.

If you know me and how much I love weddings you'll know that I was over the moon with excitement.

One weekend, about a month before the wedding, Josh and I went to visit our dad. I have no recollection of this weekend, or the events that took place, but my mother and grandmother tell me that I took the teddy bear with me. And when I came home I announced that the teddy's name was Ashley bear and I would not, under any circumstances, be in the wedding without her.

Having since been a bride myself I can only imagine what my beloved aunt was thinking upon this new revelation from the youngest member of her wedding party.

From what I have since been told she washed her hands of the situation and told my mother and grandmother to deal with it. She didn't care how they dealt with it, as long as she didn't have to.

So, my grandmother got to sewing and viola! Ashley bear became Ashley, the wedding bear. She had a dress identical to mine (even down to the slip) and a hair bow to top off the ensemble.

The big day came and Ashley bear sauntered down the aisle with me. And with my brother because once I saw all those eyes looking up the aisle at me all the excitement went away to be replaced with terror. No way in hell was I walking down that aisle alone. So down we went, Ashley bear under one elbow, my brother's arm under the other and my little fist clutching to my flower basket for dear life.

Incidentally I was too paralyzed with fear to drop a single petal. That is, until the end of the ceremony when Josh and I were supposed to walk back up the aisle and I realized my basket was still full. So I dumped the entire contents right there at my feet, took my brother's arm and back up the aisle we went. My head was held high on this second trip. I'd done my job!

So you see how Ashley bear has always had a special place in my heart.

And can you believe that my aunt and uncle named their first child Ashley; after my Ashley bear?

Ok, I'm only kidding. My Uncle Todd's first name is Ashley and she was named after him. My bear's name was purely coincidental.

There's a little more to the wedding story though.

20 years after my first wedding?

I got married myself.

That first born child? She was my maid of honor.

My niece, who was also four, was my flower girl.

She didn't carry a bear. But my nephew did.

Neither of them freaked out like I did. They made their way proudly down the aisle. I think they thought the whole thing was pretty fun.

So for now Ashley bear is living in a box to keep her from getting dirty. One day maybe she'll have a nice shelf in another little girl's room to live on.