As promised, part deux of the wedding/Vegas saga. I’m not quite as angry as I was yesterday about the two people faking cancer, but still disappointed in people in general. So to lighten my mood, it’s time to reminisce and continue the story of a very, very good weekend. But yes, I still want them to be hit by a bus and/or kicked in the crotch by karma. That will never change. I’m kinda bitchy that way. Surprise!
So there we were – someplace I never pictured myself being – at a wedding chapel in Las Vegas. Lots of hugs, then as more people showed up, more hugs. I was amazed that when all was said and done, we had probably 40 or 50 people show up. And it was fabulous. It was both beautiful and casual. We kept with tradition and had my dad walk me down the aisle and give me away, but it was relaxed and stress-free. All we cared about was that a lot of people who loved us had showed up, and that we were making things official. The ceremony was perfect – just enough traditional talk of love and vows to get people teary-eyed, and just Vegasy enough to have some laughs as well. I wasn’t concerned with pretty pictures or getting my vows right or how my hair looked – all I was concerned with for that time was how damn happy we were.
Once we said the words and did the smooching, we headed outside into the entirely too bright sunshine. More picture taking, more hugs. After the milling about and mass confusion that only occurs when large families gather was done, we had our plan for the rest of the day. We kidnapped my parents and Kris and went back to Fremont Street. Rudy and I zipped up to the room to change (that’s all, honest!) and met back downstairs. Next up? Ziplining! Yay! So we meandered down to the end of the street to buy our tickets and then head upstairs a few levels to the launch platform. My loving husband was starting to get a little uneasy though. And when I say a little uneasy, I mean sweaty palms and telling me how much I was going to owe him if he lived. This was all before we had even bought the tickets.
Tickets were finally purchased, and we headed up the elevator a few stories to get to the launch platform. I knew it was over when he stepped out onto the scaffolding, got his harness on and then looked down as the scaffolding swayed in the wind a bit. Yup. Done. He apologized profusely and bolted. *sigh* And I, being the loving, concerned wife, did what any good woman would do and continued on my way across the scaffolding to get hooked on to the line. I’ll admit, it was a little scary up there, but in a good get-the-adrenaline-pumping way. And on the bright side, I met a great couple (you go 4 at a time) who were going at the same time. They were a hoot – he was dying to do the zipline, and she was terrified. But she still went. And yes, I pointed that out to Rudy repeatedly for a few days. Because that’s how I roll. Needless to say, it was a blast. I’ve ziplined in the jungle in Honduras, but this was totally different. There was so much to look at as you were flying down the wire – people below you, the canopy above you, the buildings flying by – that it seemed very surreal. And now I can’t wait until they build the bigger, better zipline down Fremont later this year. I’ll be there. Ziplining solo.
After my brief flight, I found my parents, Kris, and my earthbound husband. More mockery ensued, then we proceeded to meander around Fremont Street for a while and then head back to the hotel for some lunch. Or the lunch may have been before the ziplining…it’s a blur I tell you! But as usual, all good things must end and we had to get my parents back to their hotel to pack and check out. Unfortunately, they had to be at the airport by about 10:00pm for a late flight home, and we still had a party to get to.
Luckily, Rudy’s aunt who was hosting the reception/party lived not too terribly far from the airport, so we headed there in the afternoon for what was a rockin’ reception. I am still touched by everything that his family did for us. There was food everywhere, bottles of champagne, new champagne glasses for Rudy and I to toast with, cupcakes, a wedding cake and last but not least, the most welcoming group of folks I’ve ever met. I thought my parents might be a little overwhelmed at the sheer volume of Rudy’s family, but they were welcomed and pulled in to the fold as if they’d part of the family for years. I loved seeing some of my favorite cousins chatting up my folks, and my folks chatting right back and having a ball. Toasts were made, more hugs were given, and it was a perfect night. I love that 6 months later, my parents still ask about the Vegas clan every time we talk.
After a really lovely day, the time had come to get my parents to the airport. Boooooooooo! I’m sure they were looking forward to getting on the plane and sleeping on the long flight home, especially considering that they’d pretty much been running for 2 days straight. But they didn’t let it show as we got to security and they gave me hugs that seemed to be both unending and entirely too short. There were more tears and more hugs, then I had to let them go. I am still, to this day, astounded that they went through all of that effort, time and money to spend less than 24 hours in Vegas for us. But I really shouldn’t be surprised – that is who they are. An amazingly supportive, incredible and loving couple. I couldn’t ask for better parents.
Party over, parents heading home, 10:30 on a Saturday night in Vegas. What to do, what to do. Oh, I know! Head back to the hotel and meet up with friends for a few adult beverages and people watching! As we sat in the indoor/outdoor bar at the Golden Nugget, we realized what all the noise from Fremont Street was – Skid Row and Warrant in concert to celebrate our marriage. Orrrrr just to try to make some money with the vague remnants of their 80’s bands that were still alive. Either way, it made for some fabulous people watching as we sat and chatted (ok, screamed back and forth) with our friends. It made for a great end to a truly great weekend.
We may have gambled a bit more after that, we may have gone back upstairs. I have no idea, and really – the details and order of events don’t matter. All I know is that the ‘one last party’ weekend had turned into something amazing and beautiful and joyous. It’s what every wedding weekend should be – low stress, full of love and laughter, and simply happy. That’s all. And when it comes down to it, we accomplished the actual goal of the weekend – I got 3 days where I completely forgot I had cancer. And it was perfect.
I think that what infuriates me so much about people who pretend to have cancer for various reasons is that anyone who has ever been given a cancer diagnosis honestly just wishes they had never heard those words – that they could just forget for one day. It shakes you to your soul. Your own body is doing its best to kill you, your mind goes places that are truly frightening, and you feel more alone than you ever dreamed you could. It is an awful, awful thing – and for someone to pretend…it boggles the mind. If they only understood that a cancer diagnosis, no matter what stage, is horrifying and all-consuming. At least for a little while. It’s been 6 months for me, and I still have days where it’s all I think about. Every time I start to forget about it, I remember I need to make my next 3-month follow up appointment with my oncologist. Or I get random pains that make my mind race and wonder if it’s back. I know that someday it will fade and not be so front and center – probably in about 4 and a half years (but who’s counting) when I get my official ‘cancer-free’ from the doctor. *fingers crossed* But for now…all I can do is shake my head and wish that people who pretend to have cancer could walk in a real cancer patient’s shoes for one day.