Thursday, November 13, 2014

What Will Be

If I were given to melancholy, this would be the perfect time for it!

No one likes change.  Don't kid yourself.  It doesn't matter what they say -  NO ONE likes change.  

I see the benefits of change.  I understand the necessity of change.  I even have sermons encouraging the listeners to embrace change!  But none of that means I have to LIKE it!

And here I sit, living through a season of the journey where the word transition might as well be tattooed across my forehead.  (Now wouldn't that be lovely!)

It feels like my tidy little basket has been picked up and shaken.  No, wait.  Shak-en is past tense and would mistakenly indicate that the shaking has concluded.

Not Even!

Sleep continues to be a "hit or miss" proposition during all this "life-style altering."  So 5 AM found me wandering into Kristin's room after letting Bella and Gracie have a run around the back yard. 

It's long been a habit for Frank and me to stand at our children's doors and pray for them if we couldn't sleep.  We call everyone by name - even after they've moved out.

Kristin's bed and chest and night stand have been gone since the week after the wedding. 

(She and Cody are making a valiant effort to combine all her years of household collecting with his one-bedroom apartment.  Not an easy task, I assure you.  This girl could have used a storage container-sized hope chest!)

But her clothes closet and jewelry and pictures have all stayed exactly the same.  Until, yesterday. 

Apparently, she came by after teaching (while we were at the office) and emptied her closet.  My breath caught when I opened the door. 

She had called to say she was going by the house to pick up her clothes.  But I didn't register that she meant all her clothes. 

Stepping into the closet, I picked up a bag and found her veil.  Carefully smoothing it out and placing it over a lone velvet hanger that remained, somehow gave me comfort.  The crystal-edged tulle swayed slightly.  The single item hanging on what had been a completely full rod.

She's always been the organizer in our clan, so the chaos of boxes and stacks of.......stacks of.......stuff looks completely out of place behind her bedroom door.  Standing there looking around the room, I was hit with an unexpected wave of the transition tsunami. 

Kristin's wedding - our last daughter to marry - has firmly closed the door on what was

It's my job to take a deep breath, steady myself, and open the door on what will be.  Standing around missing the "what was" too much, can be dangerous.

As I sit here in my prayer chair (with Gracie squeezed in beside me and Bella warming my feet) the sun is rising on a brand new day.  There are opportunities for joy on the horizon.......if I watch for them.

Meagan and Nathan want to save for a home of their own.  So during Thanksgiving, they will be moving in with us for a while.  Noah will bring his own sunshine with him!

And next summer, Noah will become a BIG BROTHER!  Yes, grand baby number four is on the way!  We are all thrilled!

Because Meagan is allergic to Bella, our loyal lab has to be relocated.  But Cody and Kristin have decided she can live with them.  So we know she'll get lots of attention and love.

Joy and John continue to amaze us as they work with the youth and music and young families of our church.  All the while, raising two adorable children that make my heart turn upside down with their smiles and hugs and precocious comments.

Yes,  it's pretty much a tidal wave........all this change.  And controlling it is out of the question.  But determining my perspective on it?  Well, that's completely my call.

Tears have to be swiped away a bit more often these days.  I may be doing a lot of deep, ragged sighing.  And you can see some pronounced circles under my eyes from time spent sorting things out in the middle of the night.

But as I study the soft hues of dawn, I rehearse what I know to be truth - change is for the good.  Only I can choose the healthy path of "Moving Forward" as opposed to sitting dejectedly by the road called "What Was." 

So I'll arm myself with some encouraging scriptures of hope (and a box of tissues.)  I'll reach for the door marked FUTURE!  And I'll walk through to what WILL BE.

Join me?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Great Wedding Slip

Two Weeks!

Yes, it was two weeks ago (yesterday, actually) that our first born daughter became Mrs. Cody McGhee.

"So why have you not written before now?!" Some may be asking.

To those who have checked this site for wedding news I want to say, "Thank you for your patience!"

Writing is a rather emotional thing for me.  I've mentioned before that it's like sitting down in my living room with a cup of tea and pouring out my heart for the encouragement of a friend; for the purpose of laughter; for........evaluation.

The only hold back is, all this vulnerability is posted on the internet for consumption by any and all who stop by!

So, it took me a couple of weeks to get my emotional equilibrium back to normal after all the excitement of the wedding.  Again, thanks for your patience.

Wedding Story One:

Six weeks before the wedding, John (Joy's husband/Kristin's "brother") created a booklet that became a marvelous help for each wedding participator.  It was a complete and accurate guide to all things wedding-esque!   Dates, vendors, tasks to be completed, people to help, things to be rented, etc, etc.

At three weeks out, John and Kristin re-vamped the booklet and put every last detail they could imagine that anyone involved in any capacity could possibly need.  It literally read like a well-written stage play.

The final draft was 36 pages long!  We Were READY!

The wonderful morning dawned clear and cool.  Bridesmaids began arriving at our house around 8 AM.  We had planned a lovely breakfast they could enjoy while getting hair and make-up done in a leisurely fashion.

So much giggling.  So many pictures.  So many emotions.

I consulted the booklet at 11 AM and started the work of helping everyone wrap up what they were doing.   Departure time was 12 sharp; putting us at the church no later than 12:30.  Pictures would begin at 1:15.

Kristin loves pictures and has always planned to have enough taken that her heart would be warmed by the album for the next fifty years at least.  But she has also hated the thought of causing her guests to wait a long time between the ceremony and the cake reception.

Solution?  Take wedding party pictures BEFORE the ceremony! Yes, unorthodox.  I know.  But wait before you pass judgment.

She and Cody planned a private meeting time with no one else around (except the photographer, of course.)  They were able to spend a few precious moments alone.  Talking, drinking in the beauty of the day.  They prayed together.
  • The all important "walk down the aisle" was saved until the appropriate time in the ceremony.
  • The initial gush of tears was experienced and make-up was repaired.  
  • Pictures that normally take forever were completed.  
  • And we made it back to the church well before guests began arriving.  
  • Even a snack had been carefully scheduled in.
Ah, the Dreamer's Perfect World!

(Your jaw just clenched, right?  You see it coming....)

By 11:30, the make-up artist was finished, girls streamed out of the house and began loading in cars.  Frank and I had carefully wrapped the wedding gown in a sheet and placed it meticulously in our car.

No wrinkles or spots would be tolerated on THIS day!

Kristin's wedding gown was the style one would expect for a girl who has waited her turn so patiently.  A huge ball gown type dress with a rather long train and sparkles designed specifically for the purpose of accenting her tiny waist.  The sweetheart neckline featured pleating that perfected the look.

In order for the dress to fit properly, it required a rather massive under slip.  She opted to borrow the one from Joy's wedding and save that money.  We had steamed the huge crinoline and had it hanging beside Kristin's gown in the spare bedroom along with her veil and shoes. 
There was a momentary flurry of loud communicating while we made certain we had every last item needed for the church.  "Whew!  I almost forgot my shoes!  Can you imagine what a mess that would have been?!"  Kristin giggled.

We all laughed; relieved that disaster had been averted.  The church where they married requires a solid twenty minute drive from our house.  That would have thrown us completely off the booklet's time-table.

As Frank opened the door for Kristin to step into the car, she stopped for a hug and allowed a few tears.

This was her last time to leave home as Kristin Hawley.  She would next stand on the driveway as a visitor, named Mrs. McGhee.  Did I mention - so many emotions?

We arrived at the church within ten minutes of the what the booklet had instructed and began getting wedding clothes on everyone.  Cody and his men were gathered in another room nearby.  The excitement was palpable!

Smiles.  Squeals.  Clamoring.  Babies.  Photographers.  Beautiful Ladies.  Handsome Men.  Right on schedule, until.........

"Alright, Kristin.  Let's get you into your dress!"  I had a tissue on standby.  I knew that seeing her in the dress and veil with hair beautifully coiffed and make-up perfectly crafted would push me over the edge.

"Ummmm," Joy spotted the trouble first.  "Where's the slip?"

"What?  It must still be in the car.  Find Dad!"  I sounded calm but my stomach sank to my feet.  I already knew the truth.  The slip was still hanging in the spare bedroom.  My one hope was that Frank would have enough calm to carry us all!

It took several minutes to locate Frank in the big church.  When I saw him walking down the long hallway toward me, my tears sprang to the surface.  "We left her slip!"

His shoulders sank.  But he regrouped,  gave me a quick reassuring hug, stepped into the ready room with Kristin and announced with great authority, "Everything will be fine.  I'll be right back with the slip!"

And that, my friend, is the role of the Daddy on wedding day!   Rock of Gibraltar - whether he feels like it or not!

The decision was made that the rest of the wedding party would go on to the location downtown chosen weeks before as the most perfect location for pictures.  We would bring Kristin as soon as Dad returned.

"So what did Kristin do?" you ask.  "I'll bet the water-works really started then!"

Kristin said good-bye to everyone and took a deep breath.  She wrapped herself in the sheet we'd used to cover her gown and...........she started cleaning!

Yep, the bride cleaned up the ready room behind her bridesmaids.  That's what Kristin has always done when worried or overwhelmed or needing to think.

I just fell in beside her and helped tidy up.  I found some instrumental hymns to bathe the room in peaceful music.  And then we sat together quietly; waiting for the slip.

Now, obviously Dad made it back - after breaking only a few speeding limits. And we got Kristin dressed.  And pictures were made.  And we got back on track with the clearly delineated wedding schedule.  And a lovely time was had by all.

But I will never forget the blessing of Frank being so calm; his strong hug telling me everything would be okay.

And a lump still forms in my throat as I think of those few minutes Kristin and I had sitting together, all alone.  Talking in quiet tones about nothing in particular.  Slipping comfortably into the role of mother and child one final time before the child walked away to become a wife.

It was a disastrous slip-up in the day from a scheduling perspective.

But for me, the "great wedding slip" ending up becoming a memory I'll treasure always.