Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Poly on Tour - The Ottawa Days

I apologize for the delay in posting as my iphone app ate my postings but told me that I'd published. On the plus side, I can include photos in the repost. 

Day 3 -  We began with a scenic tour of South Eastern Ontario on route to Ottawa.  We stopped in Brighton at Dougalls by the Bay which is a lovely and quite large restaurant at dockside.  The owner is a much abused Maple Leafs fan and we commiserated briefly on being a martyr amongst the heathen.  Lunch was terrific and we met DC's Dad and Step-mom.

 Brighton through to Belleville is the area of Ontario that DC spent most of her youth although she also lived in Kingston for a few years.  We got to see all of the historic life of DC locations and then proceeded to Ottawa.

After checking into our hotel, we wandered up the street to Don Cherry's Grill and met D's Dad and brother (the groom).  Hockey culture is very strong in D's family with the father and two of four children being goalies at various league levels.  J was also a goalie and I grew up with the NHL Hockey schedule being the first consideration on any family plans.  So Don Cherry's was a priority tourist event.  Dinner was good and no one threw anything at me in my Leafs jersey although the boys lost their game that night.  

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Day 4 - is a blur of errands, tux fittings, instructions and scheduling changes every five minutes, mad texting to keep things arranged and try to contact other poly folks, friends and some of my family in the area.  In the end, all things gave in to the needs of the bride and groom who struggled to keep the bride's mother from coming unglued apparently.  Monogamy in action brought up many memories for us and a the feeling one gets when your kid comes home from school with issues - been there done that and OH SO glad not to be doing it again today.   Rehearsal  was interesting.  The facility where the wedding and the reception were held was a ski resort called Camp Fortune in Gatineau Park.  The fall leaves and forest just about made me cry with homesickness.  The vegetation in Ontario is so different from the rainforest of BC.  I became an instant tree hugger of my favourite white or silver birch trees.    D was Best Man and although unimpressed with having to be in a "monkey suit" (tuxedo) all the next day enjoyed the interaction with his kid brother who he'd not seen in 5 or 6 years.  I was conscripted to stand in for their sister and read a passage as part of the ceremony.  The bride's aunt had a similar role and we had opportunity to chat a bit between things.  A very lovely and funny lady who reminded me of a friend of my parents.  Rehearsal dinner was very casual in the brides' suite at the Ramada in Gatineau.  Wow.  If you can stay there do so.  Amazing two storey suite with King bed downstairs and a double in the loft.  Two baths and a big screen tv in the sitting area.  Just gorgeous.  Apparently there was a fire alarm pulled during that night and they had to evacuate.  The bride returned to find a strange man asleep in her loft bed - groggy hotel guest who wandered back into the wrong suite.  Not sure who was more mortified.

Day 5 - The wedding.  Best man was shuttled to the groomsmen's dressing location and we picked up the videographer and a groomsman on the way and picking up more videotape.  Then to the bride's hotel for more pictures with the videographer after searching two stores for an extension cord.  Waited for more pictures there and then sped to the resort for the wedding arriving with 4 minutes for myself, DC and J to change clothes.  J. had been conscripted to fill in as an usher and enjoyed chatting up the ladies as he seated them.  I was seated on the bride's side with the aunt.  DC sat with the groom's dad.  The wedding was a very successful blend of tradition and non-tradition.  The bridal party entered to instrumental medley of old Irish tunes provided by her uncles and brother on keyboard, violin and guitar.  Her gown was modeled after the one worn by the groom's mother (recently passed away).  She carried a bouquet which included a two-sided locket with a photo of her grandmother and mother-in-law in their wedding gowns.  Her mother walked her up the aisle and "gave" her to the groom.  The brides attendants included a maid of honour, two bridesmaids and one bridesman and a flower girl.  The grooms attendants included a Bestman, a groomsman and two groomsmaids.  The Minister performed a tradional handfasting ceremony without the jumping of the broom, there were vows that did not include "obey" and the readings were about friendships built and respect for each other.

It is very natural to watch such proceedings and ponder other ones you have experienced.  D and DC related the fiasco that was their wedding.  J and I were both able to contribute equally complicated twists to our individual nuptials.  Several key family members on both sides had been tweaked to the fact that D and DC are no longer a couple and that D, J and I are a triad.  It came up in conversation a few times while we were in Ottawa and the comments were all positive.  We were however, very aware of being observed closely during the reception and in particular during the dance.  I love to dance and so does J.  I was up and dancing a fair bit, dragging D up several times and D's Dad who is quite flight of foot and very charming.  It was a fun evening.

I watched D and DC interact and some of the old crappy communication formats were easy for them to slip into but otherwise all went well.  I wondered if this might rekindle their marriage which would make for some interesting adjustments at home.  D went out of his way to make sure both J and I felt included.  He didn't need to do that and with the onslaught of family history and communication styles - I'm surprised and touched that he was able to do that.  Being home with your parents at any age causes you to instantly be a teenager.  You are always their baby no matter how tall you grow after all.  I was a bit worried that the romance of it all would lead to a reconciliation for the moment and gone at light of day scenario which would be hurtful and a bit uncomfortable for the rest of the trip.  However it seems that it has solidified a friendship and honouring of shared history.

 I was also able to experience a shared history as well when the wedding photos were taken at the William Lyon Mackenzie King Estate which is within Gatineau Park as is Meech Lake.  Both places have significance to Canadians.  Mackenzie King being a former Prime Minister and Meech Lake being the location of the signing of the Meech Lake Accord which amended our constitution not so long ago.  Mackenzie King was also my Great-Grandmother's nephew.  Very cool to be sitting on his back porch pondering my participation in the political and legal processes of our nation.

Being around family sets off a lot of emotions for people and I had a hard time being an observer only of all that was going on as I became the preferred communication hub as schedules changed and old family issues arose.  Mediation and event organizing being key skill sets, it was a natural response for me but I was concerned that I was stepping on DC's toes.  I waffled between wanting to step away and wanting to help.  I find sometimes with these men of mine that I tweak at the history they have with other people.  It makes me sad that I missed that stage of their life but is that a form of jealousy?

Being poly is so complicated at times.  I had to really look inside my heart and be true to the purpose of this leg of the trip which was the wedding and what the bride and groom wanted.  I decided that I was sniffing for tinder and more worried that it would be a bad turn of events rather than a hot and steamy reconciliation. Not jealousy so much as maybe enabling co-dependancy. Standing back and watching people you love work out difficult moments and being cool with not interfering in any way is not compersion exactly.  Maybe we need another word - antipersion?    I dunno.

 I was also thinking about how unfair it is that this kind of ceremony and affirmation of love is not legally available to those of us who have more than one love to celebrate.  I let my mind wander to logistics of a ceremony involving J, D and I.  It made me very sad on the one hand and sort of glad on the other because marriage is scary business.  Funny how a piece of paper changes things so much in so many ways and not at all in others.
D looked verrrrrrrrrra sexy in his tux and I think we should purchase one for each of my menfolk  just so I can take them off....ssssllllooowwwwllllyyyy. Bwahahahahaha.  I love my men.

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