Last week, I braved a cross-country flight with the girls to go to my baby brother's wedding in Phoenix.
Well, I didn't just go, per say.
Ella was in the wedding.
She was their flower girl.
It was a lovely wedding. Lots of planning and time and effort went into it, and it couldn't have been more beautiful. And my 2 year old was a piece of the puzzle.
I got on the plane to Arizona sweating. I lost sleep over it, people.
Toddlers aren't known for being cooperative under pressure. They can be gun-shy. (Ask any parent who tries to get them to say "Hi, Grandma! I love you!" on Mother's Day.) And you put them in a big, white, pouffy dress, and they are either going to roll in dirt or tear it off the second you relax.
Plus a three-hour time change? Staying in a strange time-share for five days? In a dry-dry-dry heat in June in Arizona?
Heaven help me.
Luckily, Ella rose to the occasion. I may have pumped her full of snacks and made every single person in that church ooh and ahh over her gorgeous little dress, but she owned it and looked adorable walking down the aisle, holding my dad's hand.
She was a hit.
Until 9 p.m., when the dancing and fun really got going, and Ella had a tantrum because she couldn't join my brother in removing his new wife's garter.
So, we left.
Thank God my old college roommate has relocated to Phoenix and came to the wedding. I'd never been able to schlep a tantrum-ing toddler, pouffy dress, diaper bag, and baby - in heels! - out of the country club, back to the condo, and into their beds without her.
It was a whole different kind of wedding experience.
We're a week and a half out, and I'm still tired.
And I went to bed by 10:30 p.m. on the wedding night.
Though there was the flight back to Georgia, where both my children screamed for about 30 minutes, and on the second connection, Ella threw a knock-down, drag-out tantrum for at least an hour, making me that mom.
It was so bad that I am basically a shadow of the woman I used to be.
The flower girl killed me, you see.
Well, that and spending an hour in the bride's room, surrounded by adorable, perky, beautiful 21-year-old bridesmaids, who made me feel like a fat, saggy, frumpy, old toad.
I adore my brother and my new sister-in-law. And being there for their wedding was exactly I needed to do.
But I am also darn glad he's the baby of the family, and we're all married now.
Because I don't want to do that again any time soon.
Be back later this week when I am no longer traumatized by the stares of those other patrons on the ill-fated plane we took back home.
Never again, I tell you. Never again.