I rallied just in time to see my dear friend Natalie wed her fiance Dany in a lovely ceremony that I only understood about half of - probably not because I was still delirious but instead because I don't speak Arabic. Emmaline, tired out from a morning at the Philadelphia Zoo that had been strategically planned to make her so exhausted that she would take a stellar nap but instead somehow conspired to prevent her from having any real nap at all, slept heavily on my chest while they exchanged rings.
She awoke just in time to be a miserable fuss throughout the drinks and dinner portion of the evening, ensuring that we did not (in fact) get to catch up satisfyingly with any of our friends from England or California or other sundry locations around the globe. But then she somehow rallied enough to receive kisses from half the female population of Lebanon, crash the first dance while wearing a very wet diaper, and then stagger drunkenly around the dance floor holding onto an enormous stuffed Pluto she had stolen from the church nursery upstairs.
Despite her periods of being inconsolable, she was generally adored by all. She was, after all, wearing a frilly dress and matching hat.
Not this frilly dress. An even better one. But of course we were running late after the failed nap and never got a picture.
Natalie, who is one of those people who tries to do good and make a difference, is the reason that Emmaline exists. I know she has more good deeds to her credit than this one, mainly in parts of the world that most of us cannot find on a map, but I am especially indebted to her for inviting me round for tea on Walton Street just often enough to meet my future husband, fall blissfully in love, and take long walks (the three of us) around the Worcester Lake after formal dinners, our black academic gowns fluttering quietly in the breeze.
So, thank you Natalie.
And because you are always doing new and wonderful things, we thought it was apt if we could (this weekend) do a bit of the same for Miss Em. Like swimming. Swimming seems a reasonable place to start, especially with such fetching swim togs.
But then, Miss Natalie's legacy is a lot to live up to. We'll just have to keep working at it.