Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yes, There Was Dancing

It is one of those most-beautiful-mornings-imaginable. Mr. Moon and I are on the porch, it's cool and clear and light is shining and puddling on the leaves, the trees, the flowers.
We slept, both of us, as well as people can sleep and let me tell you something- we're at the age when the first thing we ask each other in the morning is "how did you sleep?" so, well, that says a lot.
I think it's what happens when your youngest daughter graduates from nursing school and it was the perfect, perfect evening.

Above you see Jessie in her robes. She is showing her wings. That was before the ceremony when everyone was gathering outside before the Big Event.

Here she is with May and Hank, her oldest siblings. Everyone was so proud of her. The tears had already begun. Oh hell, with us? The tears never stop long enough to tell when they begin.
We are fine with that.

Jessie and her Granny. Granny loves that girl. They share a birthday. Which is tomorrow.

Jessie and her Mama and Papa. I could eat that girl alive. It's a wonder I haven't. Isn't her Papa handsome? Yes. Yes he is.

A goofy picture. I don't remember what was said to produce this look from me but may I point out that it is no wonder that Owen makes such funny faces?

Jessie walking in. We were in a long row at the back of the auditorium. My brother White, Mother, May, Hank, me, Mr. Moon, Lily, Jason and Owen. Owen was back and forth the whole time and spent a great deal of time outside with Jason. He didn't find the thrilling speeches to be as entertaining as the rest of us did and was stunningly unimpressed with the awe-striking costumes of the faculty and graduates.

So yes, there were speeches, of course, and then there were a few awards. Highest GPA, another one for...oh, something. And then both of the head clinical instructors from the two hospitals gave out awards for the outstanding student who had worked under them. First came the lady from the smaller hospital where Jessie did not do her clinical, and then the lady who from the hospital where she did.
And she was talking about the award and what it represented and the student they were awarding it to and all that this student embodied and we were all back there thinking, "Sounds like Jessie," but you know- you hear everything through the ears of people who love someone and then she announced the name of this student and of course, it was Jessie Moon.
That was the first surprise of the evening.

Here she is, getting that award.
That's MY girl, y'all. You hear me?

Last came the part where each student walked across the stage to get her pin and as each one walked, the name was announced and a small, short thing the graduate had written thanking those who had helped her and what his or her plans were for the future were read out loud by an instructor.
Of course, Jessie's little speech was the longest and best. It ended with saying that dancing, laughing and crying are the best medicine of all.

Here she is, getting her pin.

When it was all over, everyone gathered in the lobby or outside and the graduates could ask whomever they wanted to put their pins on. Jessie asked her beloved teacher, Miss Nana Cuchens, who, not coincidentally AT ALL, was one of my most beloved teachers and probably the one who pinned me too.

Owen's job after the ceremony was to wait for Jessie outside the auditorium and hand her flowers. He took this job very seriously and I wish I had a picture but I don't but I do have a picture of him on her hip, where he perched and refused to get off of for quite some time. This one was taken with the clinical instructor who gave Jessie her award.

Here's another picture of Jessie and me with an instructor who was also an instructor of mine. Sally Karioth.

And here's a picture of Lily and Jason and Owen when he DID finally get off of Aunt Jessie's hip:

There's Jessie in the background.

And then on to Liz of the West's house where the party was to be.

Now you know, Liz of the West was with me when I had Jessie. In the room. Twenty-two years ago tomorrow. Liz has literally known Jessie for all of her life and Jessie has rented a room from her for the past three years. And Liz has been, as have so many of my friends, a formative and beautiful part of Jessie's life. May lived with Liz too. Everyone should live with Liz. As I may have said before, Liz is the most say-YES-to-life woman I've ever known. And why I have no picture of her here is beyond me.

Anyway, the house was beautiful, lights and candles and the champagne out and cooling. Her famous, fabulous table set up with flowers and wine glasses.

We all gathered, knowing that what Jessie DIDN'T know was that Vergil was on his way, Melissa off to the airport to pick him up. This was the best-kept secret I've ever personally been involved with. If Jessie hadn't been in such a haze of graduation disbelief, she would have figured it out. But while we all waited, we ate pizza, we had beer and wine and Owen entertained us all. He cast his affections upon his Auntie May whom he still, I think, believes in his little man-baby heart, he will one day marry.

Here they are. He's in a hammock with his feet on her lap, adoring her with his eyes. Who wouldn't be in love with Auntie May?

Then she showed him how to stick a bottle cap on his head. Oh boy! And Bop got into the act.

But of course, all of this was merely prelude to that moment, that MOMENT, when Melissa came in and hugged Jessie and said something like, "Oh Jessie. Have you met my friend Fred?" or something like that. I sort of missed it. And Jessie turned around and there he was.

Sorry. We have to do it again.

"How can you be here?" she cried. "Am I making this up?"

And before you know it, they were dancing

And everyone was crying and Lily said, "That was the most romantic thing I've ever seen," and then we all made our plans to drift off into the night and leave them be but not before I'd pulled Mr. Moon up and made him dance with me, too, and the girls sat together on the couch and Vergil took their picture,

Lily, May, Melissa and Jessie.

And that. That was the most perfect evening I can imagine and since I started writing this, the phone has rung fifty times and grocery lists have been made and plans laid out and people caught up with and I've even talked to Lis in the Bahamas. She likes the Bahamas. She thinks I would too. I think she's right.

And now I need to go shopping and then come back and make food for the party at Melissa's tonight and and Mr. Moon is going to grill chicken and oh, I don't know. I've had too much coffee, too much brain jumping around from last night to today and then to tomorrow and back to last night and well, isn't that the way it is?

I've even talked to Freddy who is filming a commercial this weekend and wanted to know if I had time and WOULDN'T YOU KNOW THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN A PAYING JOB? but let the record stand- I only work for love.

And so far, that has been an outstanding policy.

Because honestly, my heart is bursting, even if my bank account isn't.

And last night I told Jessie to look around and see how loved she is.
"I know. I know. I can't believe it," she said.
And then I reminded her of the line in Abbey Road: And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

No mystery there.

All right. Two more parties. Tonight and tomorrow. There will be cake. Mr. Moon made me a fresh coconut cake for my thirtieth birthday- the day we got engaged. He wants to make Jessie one for her birthday tomorrow. He insists on picking out his own coconut.

Time to fly.

Thank-you for choosing Air Bless Our Hearts. We are aware that you could have chosen another airline. We appreciate your business. The flight attendant will be around shortly to take your drink orders. There will be a meal served and you may choose the vegetarian or chicken option. The eggs are fresh. The pickles home made. Our joy is genuine.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. Happy Birthday Jessie and congratulations on nursing school graduation!!

    I love your family Mrs Moon. You all are absolutely delightful.

  2. I don't think I've ever read any better story!

    Congratulations and Happy Birthday to beautiful, shining Jessie, with SO much love!!!

  3. Congratulations AND Happy Birthday to Jessie! I'd be busting with pride if I were you. I'm so glad you posted more, because reading this made me smile and feel all happy inside. I can't imagine a better night for everyone. Thank you, Air Bless Our Hearts, for being a choice for me.

  4. Congratulations, Jessie and happy birthday.

    Oh, ms moon, how can your heart stand it! mine is about to burst.

    thank you for sharing this magical moment in time. ohhh.

  5. What an amazing day!

    Congratulations Jessie and Moon family!

  6. I love the tale and photos of the frabjous day. It is amazing how much I feel like I know you and your family.....your incredible blogs transport me into your doings.

    While I am here I must confess that I quoted you in my current post.....I do hope you won't mind.....don't was a good thing.

  7. Oh Mary...and they lived happily ever after...I wish that for that girl of yours and Vergil. I feel as though I had two movie stars at my house that night. Oh, yeah, I did. Congratulations to you and Glen and Jessie and the whole gang. I am sure no one could have done it without any one of you. I love you all so much.

  8. How totally great for Jessie to get the award and Her beau to show up. Great photos! Life is filled with happiness if we just open our hearts.

  9. It is all so wonderful, I just don't know what else to say except...look at the loving home you have created. You. We can't change what we grew up with but we sure can choose to make our own loving homes.

  10. Congrats and happy birthday to Jesse! So much happiness for you all today and it's beautiful. Thanks for sharing it. I'll choose Air Bless Our Hearts every time. :)

  11. Wow. You all have had quite the doins! And another double bday hootinanny tomorrow!

    I love the pictures in this post and so proud of Ms Jessie! And an award to boot... I'll bet that was a thrill! Getting Vergel here was brilliant crowning achievement...Good on all ya'll.

    As always, come borrow anything you think we may have that you are short of.
    xoxo ps Will bring melon

  12. Aw, Ms. Moon, you have such a beautiful and wonderful family. You give me such, such hope for the future, for the world, for the now, for being a mama. Congratulations and all kinds of blessing.

  13. That was the best damn flight I've ever been on. And congratulations to your beautiful Jesse. May her life be filled with love and success and peace and more love.

  14. For my drink order, I'll have some of that love juice y'all seem to have been drinkin' =o). Such a happy graduation story. Even brought tears to my eyes. Much love to you all. x0 N2

  15. Holy crap! I don't know where to begin. But how did those babies grow up? And how proud can you be? And I love the "I get paid in love..." part. Cuz you are a bajillionaire when it comes to love. Yay Moons!

  16. I am so happy I was there to witness the surprise and be part of this Moon Family love-fest! Tears welled up again looking at these pictures. I love that girl with all my heart and am so grateful for all the light and joy she has brought into my life. Thank you for sharing!

  17. For some reason, the song O,Happy Day is going through my head now. What a beautiful day for a beautiful family...filled with all the love and beauty there could possibly be.

    I have to admit: it made this old broad cry a little.

  18. Big congratulations and a very happy Birthday to Jessie.

    How wonderful that Vergil surprised her... love the dancing picture, what a beautiful couple.

    You look lovely too Mary.

    Love the Abbey Road line.

    Air Bless Our Hearts sounds great! xx

  19. Oh, thank you thank you for sharing all these pictures and feelings! Congratulations to Jessie, and to you and your whole family. Beautiful!

  20. Thank you for sharing the photos with us. Your black dress is lovely. You looked so pretty.

    Way to go on the special award, Jessie!



  21. Congratulations Jessie!
    She and Vergil make such a good looking-couple!


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