Why We Do It

My house guests sleep peacefully as I wake at the crack of six and am filled with excited energy. Two days till the wedding. By eight I’ve got the dogs fed and walked, the living room dusted and the kitchen tidied. I feel the steady calm that comes when I clean.

It’s a wonderful feeling I get when I can quietly clean my house. The structure infuses me with waves of calm as appreciation for the tender ministrations. I am usually filled with joy when I clean. I know it sounds a little weird, but I love to take care of this house. This old century farm house that needs so much care. We have found each other and out of love and respect we take care of each other. Brent says I’ll wash the pattern right off the floor, but it’s therapy and way cheaper than shopping.

I am envious of my house guests as they sleep on into the morning, but I’m happy to steal this moment to write and relax. Jenn and Billy are my best friends visiting from afar and I am so grateful we have more than just one day together. I’ve realized the wedding is about more than one day. It’s about family and friends coming together to build a foundation for the future. When I hear couples who have been married for over twenty years speak of the best man at their wedding or the maid of honor with pride I know what they’re talking about.

Our wedding party is still reeling from all the work. I thank them with my whole heart. Without our friends and family there is no way we could pull this together in typical Brent and Amy fashion: cheap.

Yesterday we set up the tent and move twenty picnic tables to the beach. It’s sounds fairly simple, but let me tell you it was a bit of a struggle. We made up for the lack of tractor power with man power as we pounded in twenty-four, three feet tall steel tent pegs with sledge hammers. There’s no better work out than the sledge hammer, but there’s not better way to hurt yourself either. The sledge can be oddly daunting until you figure it out. It’s all in the swing and let the hammer do the work.

There was seven of us taking turns with four sledgehammers. You can only swing that thing so many times before you need a break. I was standing over a peg huffing when Billy came over and offered to take a few swings. Gratefully I handed over the sledge and stood back to watch.

Billy is one of those people who was never exposed to tools – power tools, hammers, screw guns or the dreaded circular saw. He doesn’t really have much of an interest in learning for long term used, but he does light up once he figures it out. Last time he was visiting we were building the picnic tables and Billy learned to use the chop saw. He is so proud.

With a gentle swing Billy brought the sledge down onto the steel peg. With a ring and a giggle of delight he pulled back and took a harder hit – he missed. I hate to admit, but we were all watching out of the corner of our eye. Actually, I was standing beside watching in earnest everyone else had a soft smile as they watched from a distance.

I offered the advice of “letting the hammer do the work” and “keep your eye on the peg”, but Billy was going to swing that sledge his way. Much like a princess. It took about ten minutes, but Billy did sink that peg and he stood staring at his new nemesis with pride. He handed the sledge back to me and smiled. I am so proud.

We got the tent erected with a few attempts and as we all sat at a picnic table under the tent eating slightly charred hot dogs watching the sunset, covered in sweat and sand and dirt, I began to realize that this is what is was all about. Working hard together and bringing memories that will last a lifetime.

I can hear the stories decades from now: “Remember when we set that tent up for your wedding and I used the sledge?”

I wonder what today holds in store for Jenn?

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