When did he grow up?

Not my son.  (though he is growing at an alarming rate these days ~ those pants I bought him for fall/winter may not get us through until shorts season)

I'm talking about my oldest 'practice child.'

It seems inconceivable to me that 25 years ago, this young man was a two year old, and I was his 'regular babysitter.'
I mean, I remember days praying to keep he and his brother alive chasing two preschoolers around.  Pushing them on swings, fixing meals of chicken nuggets or peanut butter and jelly, running madly down the long, STEEP, CURVED driveway after two daredevils on a Big Wheel.
Oh the stories I could tell on Nick and Aaron.

Don't worry boys, many of those secrets are safe with me. 
(Though I'll be expecting payment to keep them that way.  ;)  )

Anyway, these guys were my training ground.  I had the distinct pleasure of spending about six years being very involved in their lives pre-college, and then even hanging out with them as a youth volunteer when I came back post-college.  Oh how I've loved them!   From applying hundreds of band-aids for various injuries to driving them to sports practices while their folks were out of town to playing punch bug to getting CREAMED on x-box games by them.   Even when Nick showed up to be a junior groomsman for my wedding with white, and I do mean WHITE, bleached out spiky hair.  They were 'my guys.'

But when their college years came both boys moved to the coast as they always said they would.  Since that time they rarely come inland and I've seen them just once or twice.

And so imagine my surprise when late this summer I get a wedding invitation in the mail.  Nicholas?  Getting married?  When I saw that the wedding was taking place on the beach I figured that she must be one special girl.  And of course, of course we responded that we'd come...

What a beautiful day it was!  Upper 70s, not a cloud in the Carolina blue sky, gentle ocean breeze blowing.  Combine the weather with the fact that there were only chairs for family ~ which meant our kids could plop in the sand and quietly play ~ and it was perfect.

exploring while waiting for the ceremony to begin

these two cousins remind me a lot of Nick and Aaron as boys

perhaps the most thrilled to see the ocean again

getting some serious snuggle time from my niece

the wedding party

so simple, so elegant, and two kids so very much in love
Ky intently watching ~ she's now lobbying for Ian and I to get married again.  on the beach.  so she can be there to see.

my boy making sand angles ~ at least he was quiet!

mom and her grandbabies ~ missing one

my sister's beautiful family

I'm pretty sure that all three of our kids were incredulous that we actually saw the ocean and weren't getting in the water, but the promise of a party with cake was enough to get them back to the car without too many complaints.  And a party it was...
that's the mischievous grin I remember

groom's daddy bustin' a move with some of the kids

perfect way for the groom to show his muscles

and I can so hear the words, "Oh yeah, if you can do it then so can I!" ringing from yesteryear...
and just to end with the upper hand in "look what I can do"
Oh how I've missed their family!  And how thankful I was after all these years to have been included in such a special day. I said as much to Nick before he and Liz headed out.  He just flashed that grin and said, "You played a big role, of course you are here!"  Quickly followed by, "And after surviving Aaron and I you decided to have two boys the same age distance?  I thought you knew better..."  Then he winked, hugged me and was off to dance with his beautiful wife. 


Di said...

Sounds like a perfect day! Nothing like a wedding and a party to keep you amused! And on the beach too - sounds perfect!

Rachelle said...

Weddings on the beach are so beautiful. Looks like a great day.

Angela said...

Sure did look like fun, and what great pictures! As for renewing your vows on the beach with your kids there to see...that Ky, she sure has some great ideas for your family, doesn't she?

Traci said...

Beautiful day, beautiful bride, beautiful friends!

Saundra said...

What a happy day. To see our Nick so blissfully happy and to meet his "perfect - deemed by Nick himself" bride. It was a blessing to be part of that wonderful wedding. I love all of you Fulbrights....each one of you are precious to me.

It is a day that we will always remember and my marvelous grandchildren will continue to talk about.

Glenda said...

How sweet. You will always have a special place in your heart for them. Just wait until they have kids! It still amazes me when I see kids that I taught when I was a teenager, and they are parents now. Waay too weird. I'm sending my kids to talk to yours about wedding behavior. You all have been to your fair share this year. Beautiful pictures.

Nancy said...

Isn't it wild when kids you babysat grow up? What a beautiful wedding! Great photos of all the kids! Love them all esp the one of your mom & her grandkids! And I think Kylie's idea is great! Maybe 15 year anniversary vow renewal?

The Ferrill's said...

Too fun, Kristi! I know you were a big blessing in those boys' life! And I know you are blessed to get to still be a part, even in their adulthood!

Annie said...

That was a beautiful post Kristi! Looks like a beautiful wedding!

Our Journey to China said...

How awesome to share your family with your 'extended family'! God is good to bring everyone together, what a blessing and fun time!