Thursday, October 1, 2009

More MacGregor Madness

So the sickness of Jackson, Rob, and Noelle has topped our posts this week, but it was definitely not the most exciting part of our weekend. But before I explain all I said would be explained later, I will say that Jackson is doing a bit better today. He slept from 7:30 to 4:30 last night, and those nine hours helped us all. Noelle and I both returned to work and Jackson spent his day with Grandma Stockman, and he only had one moment of sickness today that necessitated changes of clothes for everyone.

But we're tired of discussing fevers and vomit and diarrhea and mucus and Glenn Beck - it's time for good news.

Last weekend, I married my brother.

And my sister-in-law.

If you don't know, I am an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church. (Want to be one too?) Although it is an internet religion that allows anyone to become a minister with a few point-click combos and it has egregious grammatical errors on their home page, it is something I take very seriously. I always wanted to be a minister, but I worried about being an appropriate ambassador for any organized religion. Now I am probably one of the best ambassadors of this disorganized religion. I have married eight couples as of today, with number nine happening in a few weekends. I've married some of my best friends, my sister, and family of friends on beaches, in beer halls, at pizza parlors, in gazebos, in gardens, in apartment building common rooms, and under the California sun. Most of the weddings have been elaborately planned, but one was a secret ceremony a week before a large Catholic ceremony, and one was a surprise for everyone except us and the bride and groom. All of them have been very special to me though, because I had the honor of officially uniting two people who love each other so much.

And this weekend, I got to do the same for two of my favorite people on the planet - my big brother Chris and his amazing bride, Melissa. They have been together for quite a few years now, and Melissa and her daughter Chelsea have been considered family right from the start. When Chris proposed earlier this year, my cell phone vibrated with the text simply asking, "Will you marry me?" How could I possibly turn down the opportunity to make these two people so happy and the great honor of making Melissa and Chelsea officially MacGregors?

So, family has been in town. My mom's brother Uncle Stephen and his wife Auntie Ro have been visiting for the past few weeks, although I had only seen them once where we were all healthy. My sister, her husband Stephen, and their sons have traveled from California to be here for the big day. And we all went down to two beautiful beach houses rented for the occasion.
Auntie Ro sings English lullabies to Jackson

That meant my sister got to meet Jackson, and we got to meet Stephen's and her son Neil. That also meant that we had the first gathering of the MacGregor/Morris family cousins, aka the third generation of American MacGregors.
Colin ('00), Neil ('08), William ('07), Jackson ('09), Chelsea ('90)

And that also meant that I had to write a sermon that would truly capture how much I love both my brother and his bride. That challenge would be daunting enough without the craziness of the past few weeks, but I knew that once I was at the beach, all of the ideas and words I had been planning would come flowing out. In other words, those words were still not on paper when I got there. And once those words were written, we would have to find a printer on Galveston before the ceremony to make sure they were actually on paper.

Cue the vomit. Jackson's sickness this weekend had us being told that we would have to go to the hospital three hours before the wedding, right when I finished the last words of my speech. Noelle and I had to travel to UTMB, about forty-five minutes away. Back up ministers were selected, apologies were made, and we sped off. Noelle insisted I drive separately so I could get back in time for the ceremony, but leaving my son and wife at a (sub-par) hospital did not make me feel like father of the year.

However, I had to be Father Rob to my brother then, so I ran through a Candlewood Suites hotel to print up the ceremony, stole Express Mail stickers to affix the pages into my "holy journal", and sped back to the west side of Galveston to perform the ceremony. My sister and dad copied and pasted the pages, and then it was time to process out to the beach.

It was hard to focus when my mind was on Jackson and Noelle alone in the hospital, but I was easily swept up in the beautiful ceremony. Watching the family descend from the beach house, leading the procession out to the circle of torches on the beach, sharing my words with the couple and their friends and family, watching them proclaim such sincere, powerful love for each other - those memories I will cherish forever, especially as I had the best view of the moments. I couldn't be happier for Chris - Melissa is amazing, and hearing his vows made me so thankful that he had discovered such a powerful true love.

The family ready to become official

My view of the vows

Me reading my sermon

And then there's my cousins. Colin, aka Nephew 2000, is always living and loving the life, and I'll always remember my brother's best man having his camera out and ready to go during the ceremony. We tried to keep him serious and reverential, but when you get pictures like this, who can fault him?
Melissa hearing Chris's vows that had everyone crying

And Chelsea, my first niece, has always been a high schooler I wish was in my class. She's bright, funny, with a thirst for knowledge and life. We never fail to talk literature whenever we see each other, and hearing her call my brother dad makes me so proud for him to have such a wonderful daughter. Jackson's newest cousin will be looking out for him for life, and we look forward to making her babysit in the future, being as she'll be a great role model and she's family, so it should be free. She's working at a day care now, and I wouldn't be surprised if she pursues education as a career, so you know she must be awesome.
After the ceremony as the sun set

Anyway, after the ceremony and the requisite silly pictures,
We were told to pose like rock stars. Colin wins.
From left - Stephen, Neil, Penny, and
William Morris;
Frances and Peter MacGregor;
Melissa, Colin, Chelsea, and Chris MacGregor;
me; Uncle Stephen Smith
Not pictured: Noelle and Jackson MacGregor; Auntie Ro Smith

we went back to the beach house for the reception. This is when I began to hear of Noelle's very different adventure back on the east side of Galveston (and Texas City). I was definitely more focused on what was going on there at that point, as food was eaten and cake was cut and garters were thrown, but I knew my brother was in good hands after I married him to Melissa. Seeing the entire array of photos posted here allows me to know they were having the best night of their lives, which is at it should be.

Noelle got a sick fussy Jackson back to the beach house, and she got to see all the pictures of the ceremony she had to miss. It's weird seeing the pictures of family gathered without her and Jackson being included, but we know there will be more occasions to get everyone together again.

It's tough now, knowing that one of my best days as a little brother coincided with one of Noelle's worst days as a mom. I never want her to have to go through another day like that alone. However, I don't have to worry about my duties as a brother keeping me from my duties as a dad again; I've made personally sure both my brother and my sister are set for life with the happiness true love brings. Jackson is a lucky boy to have such a loving family, especially as it continues to grow.

Jackson bonding with William and Neil on SundayDon't worry, Jackson - you'll get bigger too. Your cousins can't wait.
Uncle Stephen and Auntie Ro play with the effects of the wedding photo boothPenny and Stephen use the photo booth effects to create the yin-yang symbol

License signed - marriage official. Thanks, ULC!

The happy couple - we love you!

1 comment:

Kirsty fae Perth said...

Printed out some of these photos A4 size for Granny, especially like the one with the cousins together. Well done Rob for making the day so special considering how Noelle and Jackson were feeling and how you obviously were torn emotionally with where you had to be.