Yeah, that was kind of a lie. I'm sorry. I didn't realize just how much fun I would have! I knew that there would be parties every night, but I didn't know that there were also parties every day. Pool parties. With food, alcohol, and new friends. If you could see me now, you'd be commenting on my fabulous tan.
So, Monday night, the beautiful bride Cicely had her birthday party at her house - a birthday party that may have had more attendees than my wedding. And my wedding was not sparsely attended. Somehow, most everyone leaves, and what remains is about 20 20-somethings who... decide to go skinny dipping. With wine. While Quinto and Ashley and I LAUGH with our clothes on. And bring them more alcohol. In plastic cups. Because glass + pool = bad. As we may have found out the next night. But I don't talk about things like spending all night cleaning a pool.
Early Tuesday morning, about 15 of us gather at my cousin (the groom) Ara's house to watch Brazil and Ghana face off. Water, caffeine, and bagels are served, and by the time that Ghana loses, we're all over our hangovers. And the pool party starts. (Wasn't it smart of us to have the World Cup party at the same place as the pool party?) But Ash and I decide to be productive: The bride needs lingerie.
We did not buy this bra, but we did massively hit Victoria's. I've never spent so much money on lingerie in so little time. It was a blast.
So, pool party, then back to the bride's for a Mexican Fiesta. With "mucho tequila." And about 200 million relatives up from Mexico who want to make us drink the tequila. To which we obviously do not object.
And. The bride wore pink shoes. I'm going to say that she did it for me, and we're not going to question it.
Wednesday, the Bachelor party starts. Now, all you boys out there, please, for the love of god, do not let your Cornell and Yale educated best man organize the bachelor party. He will create an entire day - a morning of sporting competitions and an evening of drinking games. And he will divide the wedding party (and various invited others) into two teams - which will be balanced neither in name nor ability.
And did I mention that there were t-shirts?
The Best Manimals:
Which team do you think won?
And. That night is a rehearsal, a rehearsal dinner, and all that that would entail. Including breaking my camera, so let's not talk about it. Or the fact that I don't have pictures of the wedding until my sister or Ashley send me some! This is getting long, so I'm trying to hurry through. But some highlights:
I went through the buffet with the stunning Amy Grant. She said that I was pretty (!!) and that my sisters and I, who had read the prayers of the faithful during the wedding mass, had done a fabulous job. And many other things. I could tell you what she took from the buffet, and many more of her comments, but, um, I'm not sure if you all care. And I promise I'm not a stalker.
So, many Spicy Bloody Marias later, I'm back in St. Louis. I'm a little disoriented because I haven't been picked up and thrown into a swimming pool today, I haven't made new life-long friends (Seriously, the group of people brought together was so friendly, fun, attractive, and happy that I wish that I could hang out with them all the time.), and I kind of don't know what to do with myself.
Now, for the serious part. And I have to do this very matter-of-factly or I can't do it at all. My cousin Ara is the oldest of 4 children, the others being Michael, Marcia, and Christa. In 1994, just after his 7th birthday, Michael was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Niemann-Pick Type C. Shortly thereafter, Marcia, then 6, and Christa, then 3, were also diagnosed with the disorder. If you don't click on that link, I'll tell you shortly, NP-C is a cholesterol processing disease that first manifests in early childhood. It is 100% fatal. And in 1994 very little was known about it.
My family is never one to sit around and take things lightly. We're hot-tempered Italians, and get things done. Very soon, the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation was formed, using the name and fame of my cousin's grandfather, the former coach of Notre Dame Football, Ara Parseghian. And the foundation has been extremely successful. As of 2005, we had raised $22 million, of which 95% has been sent directly to research, in more than 50 laboratories around the world.
Even though we have been raising amazing amounts of money, funding worthwhile research that has not only found the gene that causes NP-C, and has made many, many advances into cholesterol processing (something that affects most people in some way), and countless other diseases, including Alzheimer's, the research has not been quick enough to help my family. Michael died March 22, 1997, Christa died October 23, 2001, and Marcia died August 6, 2005.
Obviously all of my cousins were on my mind this week. If you have some time, or are at all interested, look around at the articles that I've linked to, especially the APMRF website, and see pictures and read stories about my amazing cousins, and how much they loved their lives and their families.