The wedding dress store is housed in four older homes in a beautiful part of St. Paul. We had a dressing room and an assistant to ourselves. The assistant pulled a curtain across half the room while she and Stephanie (Katie's maid of honor) helped Katie into each dress. When they were set, they pulled back the curtain to reveal the loveliness.
I cried every single time.
The sixth dress was THE one. Everyone in the room--Katie's prospective mother- and sister-in-law, Stephanie, me, the assistant, and Katie--knew we'd found it. And wonder of wonders, it was within my budget and available in plenty of time.
In the evening, we were invited to Craig's aunt and uncle's house, a truly gorgeous home on Crystal Lake in Minneapolis. Their yard is so beautifully maintained it looks like a park, and their house is stunning. Not enormous exactly, but spacious and gracious and comfortable. We had wine and rustled up some simple food. We talked and laughed and cried.
Dianne, the aunt, recently lost her mother. When we talked about her mother's death, Dianne told a lovely story about Katie and Craig. When they heard the news, the kids showed up at Dianne's and started getting ready for the activities that were sure to follow. They went to the grocery store and liquor store and Target. They got ice and toilet paper, two things you always need when a crowd gathers. They ran errands and answered phones.
"I feel bad that I've never written them a thank you note, but how do you thank someone for that?" Dianne sobbed.
Later, I pulled Katie aside and told her how proud that story made me, how much I love her. She hugged me and smiled, and we went back to the group. Later, as we were clearing the table, Katie stepped close and put her arms around me.
"I didn't think anything about the things we did that day. You show up. You do what you can. You help. That's just what we do. That's who you raised me to be, Mom. It's what you taught me and showed me all my life."
All in all, it was as good as day as any one could ever hope to have.