Monday, July 14, 2014

The Red and White Wedding

You know, I try not to post too much about my family.  Partly because of the Internet creephat factor, and partly because my family is the biggest single manifestation of Unmerited Grace ever.  They're awesome, they light up my life, and I didn't do a thing to deserve them.   And bragging about that usually feels like spitting in the eye of everyone who is less fortunate than I am (which, given how many wonderful, prosperous, ludicrously talented people I have in my tree, is probably 99% of the planet.)

But as I've said before, this blog is not just a part of my ubiquitous self-promotional engine -  it's also where I put the thoughts that I want the world to know I had, if/when I get hit by a bus.

So here's a notion for the ages: watching superheroes get married is super fun.

More specifically: my sister's wedding was super fun.

By which I mean: these people are super fun.
(as Josh Lemmon's mad camera skills can attest.)
And like, I totally could gush and squeal here about all the fabulous particulars.  A Great Dane running down the aisle in his tuxedo collar, making a panting ring-bearing beeline for the bride.  Rolling fondant in the bathroom to decorate the styrofoam bases for "Despicable Me" minion cake-pops.  Kung-fu lions coming out to dance the Cupid Shuffle.  Ridiculous pictures pouring out of the photo booth all night long.  Signable quilt squares, courtesy of the moms.  Our dad, officiating in all his magisterial splendor.  Life-size James-Bond-style movie posters of the bridal party.

I was "The Dewey Decimator", if you were wondering.
(Meanwhile, Ariana Zhang is and continues to be "The Phenomenal Photographer".)
And of course they didn't need all the fancy flourishes.  Of course we would've had a great time even if we were just hanging out in a field with blankets and porta-potties.  And if "P.S. we're awesome" was the deepest thought I had, I probably wouldn't be writing this here, because that's what Facebook is for.

P.S. we're awesome
(and so is Laurel Houston)

But here is an idea that I hope will resonate beyond the people on our Christmas card list.  Like... you know, in a lot of ways it sucks to grow up as the precocious worrywart.  The toddler terror I felt when watching Sesame Street's "Wet Paint" segment, knowing that paint is toxic and those singing muppets might accidentally swallow some and die, has never gone away.  I still routinely peek around doors with caution, fully prepared to find somebody sprawled out on the bathroom floor.  I still think constantly about what I'm going to do when – not if – something horrible happens to somebody I love.  And right at this exact moment, the pre-book-launch intensity is hitting such a peak that it's really hard not to feel like this is The Biggest Deal Ever, and any failure would be both devastating and permanent.

So I think part of the reason why being with the entire Thompson Army feels so good – aside from the fact that they are just fun people to be with – is that, like... you know, when you're in your daily routine, it's easy to obsess about individual people and events - to think about what-all might go wrong today, tomorrow, and next year.  (Believe me: you have time to think about these things when you're huddled up with your sister and two enormous dogs in the downstairs bathroom while a tornado blows through.)

Here is one such dog, waiting with white cuffs and collar for his close-up.
But when I'm with my whole clan, it's almost like I can see past all that constant near-sighted what-if-ing, and glimpse a future that's "too good to fail".  In other words, I can believe that any individual thing might happen to any individual one of us, but ultimately – eventually – we-the-collective will still be okay.  I can believe that *I* will be okay.   That regardless of anything I might do, or that might happen to me, it will be all right, because my posse - my culture - will continue, regardless.  That is a hell of a relief, let me tell you.

So were my first efforts at fondant-conjuration. Disaster averted!
And it was a relief, too, to see so many new-to-me faces at the wedding this weekend.  Our family wasn't the only one that turned out in full force for the event: the happy couple had at LEAST sixty people from their martial arts school there - and not as some nice B-list afterthought, either.  They had their own set of wedding photos, a toast from the Master Himself - hell, they were the basis for the whole wedding theme, from the hundreds of red paper cranes to the huge lion costumes draped over the tables.

Dave the Minion was hanging out with the other lion, I think.
Anyway, I'm not personally a member of Team White Leopard, but boy: if what they have is anything like what I have with my writers' workshop, then I feel downright euphoric about this whole collective-mojo hypothesis.  Because then it really isn't all about winning the genealogical lottery.  It's about the people you surround yourself with, regardless of whether you met them when you were in college, in diapers, or in the horse stance.

Or whether you cloned them to create a chaos-horde of giggling, sentient Twinkies.
And even though it might be hard to pull all your people together more than once in a blue moon, their gathering - however infrequent! - is a great reminder that your world is really much bigger than the little ruts of your everyday life... that those huge 3-AM worries you grapple with are probably a lot more handle-able than they seem, because anything that really, massively matters in your life is - almost by definition - something that you won't have to deal with alone.

TL;DR: I'm an anxious pile of wet kleenex, but I know some terrific people, and they make me a special kind of happy.   Thanks for a great time, y'all.  And good job, A² - WAY TO WED.

By executing this contract, the aforementioned parties affirm their commitment to love and to honor, to have and to hold, to sit and to stay, for richer and for even richer, in sickness and in health, for as long as they both shall live.


  1. Yep. That says it quite well.

  2. Awww. Looks like a fun wedding. Can't wait till your book drops.

  3. This made me tear up -- seriously. I totally get it; I feel the same way. This was a really lovely reminder. And yes, your clan is super cool. Congrats to your sister and brother-in-law!